Most teams in contention for a Playoffs berth are considered buyers at the deadline. However, according to Bob Nightengale, the Milwaukee Brewers are going to be looking to buy while also selling off some of their most noteworthy players. As I detailed here, this includes four-time All-Star Josh Hader. Apparently, it also includes Kolten Wong and Omar Narvaez. Nightengale spoke to several rival general managers who stated that the Brewers are set to move on from the two regular starters.
Why Would the Brewers Trade Kolten Wong?
In another piece that I wrote earlier this week, I detailed how Kolten Wong is struggling both offensively and defensively this season. I concluded that this may lead the Brewers to decline Wong’s player option for the 2023 season. However, Nightengale apparently believes that it means Milwaukee will try to move him before the trade deadline.
The notion does make some sense. Wong is a two-time Gold Glove winner at second base and is a great clubhouse presence. Even if the Brewers do not plan to keep Wong after the season, they may try to trade him at the deadline for some prospects. Of course, Wong will not fetch as massive a return as a player of Josh Hader’s caliber, but it would be better than nothing.
What Are the Brewers’ Options if They Trade Kolten Wong?
In the case that Wong is traded, the Brewers have few options at second base. Luis Urias could slide into the role every day while Milwaukee pursues an upgrade at third. Other options to at least appear at second base are Keston Hiura and Jace Peterson. The Brewers do have Brice Turang at Triple-A Nashville, but he has not played second base since 2019.
Another roadblock for Turang is the fact that he is not on the Brewers’ 40-man roster. Of course, if the Brewers trade off Wong for prospects, that will open up a spot. Currently, Mark Mathias is playing second base for Nashville and he IS on the 40-man roster. Pablo Reyes is as well.
2022 Stats of Possible In-House Replacements at Second Base
- Luis Urias: .223/.315/.391, 10 home runs, 29 RBI
- Jace Peterson: .252/.325/.447, eight home runs, 30 RBI
- Keston Hiura: MLB- .238/.354/.451, eight home runs, 17 RBI; AAA- .421/.522/.895, three home runs, 10 RBI
- Mark Mathias: MLB- .125/.118/.313, one home run, four RBI; AAA- .306/.406/.486, six home runs, 24 RBI
- Pablo Reyes: MLB- .286/.333/.286, no home runs, no RBI; AAA- .251/.335/.437, eight home runs, 31 RBI
- Brice Turang: .283/.344/.369, four home runs, 37 RBI
Most Likely Replacement for 2022: In my opinion, it’s Luis Urias. He is fine defensively at second base and has decent power in his bat. He also has been hitting much better in July (.250/.340/.450 for the month thus far).
Why Would the Brewers Trade Omar Narvaez?
This is a good question because I am not quite sure of the answer. One possibility is that the Brewers think Victor Caratini or Pedro Severino can catch every day. The problem is that Severino is ineligible to play in the postseason due to his failed PED test during Spring Training.
Of course, there is a possibility that Milwaukee believes it can get some quality prospects for Narvaez. After all, he was an All-Star last season, though admittedly he has not hit very well this year. His batting line this year of .244/.339/.369 is well below his career averages of .264/.350/.396. Narvaez will be a free agent after this season and the Brewers may try to get something for him at the deadline.
What Are the Brewers’ Options if They Trade Omar Narvaez?
So, what could any possible solution be for the rest of the regular season AND the Playoffs? While we can speculate, it is interesting to note that Mario Feliciano, the Brewers’ top catching prospect, is currently with the Big League club as a part of their taxi squad:
Mario Feliciano is receiving a catching crash course during his six-game stint on the Brewers’ taxi squad. Here he talks a little about his season to date at Class AAA Nashville (with help from @cbriz): pic.twitter.com/Uy8hA9YRsI
— Todd Rosiak (@Todd_Rosiak) July 15, 2022
Along with Narvaez, Severino, Caratini, and Feliciano, the Brewers have Alex Jackson on their 40-man roster. Barring acquiring another catcher via trade, it is not likely that Milwaukee calls up a catcher from Double-A to take the back up role. Therefore, I believe the Brewers’ catching situation could unfold in three different ways:
- Keep Caratini and Severino through the regular season along with Mario Feliciano
- Keep Caratini and Severino through the regular season with Alex Jackson (currently on IL) so that Feliciano gets regular at-bats in the minors
- Cut Severino and keep Caratini and Feliciano as the team’s two catchers. The benefits of this move is that any Narvaez trade and the release of Severino would open TWO spots on the 40-man roster. Of course, that is if the return for Narvaez is a prospect and not a Major League player.
2022 Stats of In-House Solutions at Catcher
- Victor Caratini: .248/.370/.455, seven home runs, 18 RBI
- Pedro Severino: .286/.375/.572, no home runs, one RBI
- Alex Jackson: AAA- .221/.330/.407, two home runs, 17 RBI; MLB- .250/.250.250, no home runs, no RBI
- Mario Feliciano: AAA- .303/.355/.389, two home runs, 24 RBI
Most Likely Solution: To me, cutting Severino makes the most sense anyway. There is no reason to have three catchers on the Major League roster right now. If Narvaez is traded, the Caratini/Feliciano combination would make the most sense. That being said, it also would be sensible to keep Severino through the season while Feliciano gets regular at-bats in the minors. In any case, without Narvaez on the team, I would expect Feliciano to be on the postseason roster as the backup catcher.
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