As most of us have learned by now the Brewers are by no means a rich team but they have a very crafty front office that is great at making under-the-radar moves to help them win. We’ve seen this many times where a random player has a career season in Milwaukee. This year I think the Brewers have made their biggest under-the-radar move yet. While most people have looked at the offseason and mostly focused on getting William Contreras which don’t get me wrong is a great move and will help us out a lot I think the Brewers’ best move to date was trading for Jessie Winker.
The Milwaukee Brewers Trade for Jesse Winker
On December 2nd the Brewers sent Kolten Wong and some cash to the Mariners for Abraham Toro and Jessie Winker.
Winker’s time in Seattle was not pretty. After Winker’s first all-star season of his career, he regressed a lot with the Mariners for a number of reasons such as injuries and other clubhouse issues. In fact, Winker wasn’t even with the team during the playoffs.
Why Did Jesse Winker Struggle in 2022?
The first thing to look at when trying to figure out what went wrong for Winker in 2022 is T Mobile Park. T Mobile Park ranks 28th in park factor for runs making it one of the hardest stadiums to hit in. Playing half your games at T Mobile Park rather than Cincinnati which ranks 2nd friendliest for park factor runs is going to affect your production. When looking at his home/away splits you can certainly see this had an effect. In away games Winker had a .382 slugging percentage, a .736 OPS, and 10 home runs this is light years better than his home splits where he had just a .294 slugging percentage, a 625 OPS, and 4 home runs.
Along with that Winker clearly missed the National League last season. In 17 interleague games against the NL last season, Winker had a .842 OPS along with an impressive slash line of .307/.358/.484. Winker’s 2021 numbers back this up as well in his interleague games against the AL he posted just a .678 OPS and a far less impressive .232/.339/.339 slashing line. The factors of playing in the AL at a non-hitter-friendly ballpark along with multiple injuries pretty much ruined Winker’s season.
Will 2023 Be Better?
The good news is Winker appears to be heading into 2023 with good health and considering the Brewers will most likely be asking him to be the DH his injury risks are pretty low. That along with Winker moving back to the National League and a much more hitter-friendly ballpark alone will improve Winker’s productivity. When Winker was with the Reds he has deemed a Brewers killer and in a decent sample size, Winker posted some pretty crazy numbers at American Family Field including a 1.032 OPS and a .344/.440/.591 slash line. Winker also happens to have very high numbers against the Cardinals’ pitching staff who he will be seeing a lot of playing in the NL Central.
Another important thing to think about here is that Winker is entering a contract year. He is set to enter free agency for the first time this season. Considering this is his 3rd team in 3 years I’d imagine Winker is looking to find some stability and earn his first big deal. While that is just an assumption I’d say it’s a safe one to make. All evidence points towards this being a big bounce-back year for Winker. Even if Winker doesn’t reach the 2021 all-star level we once saw him at like I’m predicting it’s unlikely that in his age 28 season, he magically became a bad hitter. So the floor for Winker is just being an average DH.
So while this not be the big blockbuster trade everyone always prays for I would say this is a very nice move for the Brewers and if the Brewers do take the NL Central by surprise you can expect Winker to be a big part of it.
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Now, this is epic.