There is no way around it, the 2022 season didn’t go the way the Brewers wanted it to. There is still time left this year, but the team is nowhere near where expectations were set after a 95-67 year in 2021. After trading away Josh Hader the Brewers confirmed they were retooling.
Let’s put the 2021 and 2022 seasons in the past. This team isn’t the same as last year anymore, and they certainly haven’t looked like they can replicate last year either. Onto 2023, where there will be greener pastures and a better roster. If the Brewers lock in this offseason they can put together a fearsome roster.
Solidify the Rotation: SP, Michael Wacha
If there is one thing in baseball you can never have enough of, it sure is pitching. The Brewers already boast an impressive rotation when healthy. Burnes, Woodruff, Peralta, Lauer, and Houser are a formidable bunch. However, with the way the MLB has been trending, it is much more common to carry 6 starting pitchers at the MLB level.
Enter, Starting Pitcher Michael Wacha. Wacha has been beat up this year with injuries and hasn’t been able to put together a full season. In 77.1 innings pitched, he has an ERA of 2.44 as well as a WHIP of 1.04. In the short time he has played this season, Wacha has been unstoppable and he certainly looks like his old self again.
The 31-year old signed a one year deal with the Red Sox for 2022 and is set to become a free agent this offseason. Signing him could certainly solidify the rotation for the Brewers and provide another versatile arm.
A Potential Gap in the Brewers Infield: INF, Jose Iglesias
Kolten Wong currently has a club option worth $10 million for one more year. He would become an unrestricted free agent in 2024, if the Brewers chose to pick up his option. It seems wise to avoid shelling out that much money for limited production.
The Brewers best option is to decline Wong’s club option and look for a cheaper replacement. The soon to be 33-year old utility infielder is capable of doing everything a team needs, and he is swinging an excellent bat this year. Iglesias is batting .314 with 117 hits and 46 RBI’s. He is having arguably his best season, but his WAR sits at 1.7 currently in part because the Rockies are not a very good team offensively. Iglesias has driven in runs this year, and he could drive in more with more baserunners.
Now, Iglesias isn’t perfect, and he struggles to get on base via the walk. But, he offers very solid defense and above average hitting to a team that wants to score more runs. Along with that, he also shouldn’t cost more than $7 million for a one year fill in deal.
Replacing Cutch? Brewers Build Offense: OF/DH, Joc Pederson or OF/DH, Mitch Haniger
Obviously, nothing is confirmed yet and Andrew McCutchen hasn’t stated what his intentions are after the season. However, he is 35, going to be 36 very soon, and he signed in hopes of making the World Series. McCutchen is having a solid year and this could be a good time for him to walk away on top, which he very well may do.
Since McCutchen is a question mark, assume he won’t come back to the Brewers. The Brew crew will need to replace an offensive threat with another serious bat, which is why they should take a look at two specific players.
Joc Pederson is three years removed from a 36 home run, 74 RBI season with the Dodgers. Pederson is about as cut and dry as it gets, he will strike out and ground out at an above average rate, but he can drive in runs when it counts. He has been dealing with multiple nagging injuries over the last two years and has missed significant time. This year he is back to health and already on track to surpass all his offensive totals from 2021.
Pederson will be a free agent and his value shouldn’t be more than $12 million a year. He should settle around $8 million when it’s all said and done. Pederson could help reduce the impact of McCutchen potentially leaving.
Mitch Haniger is another option to replace McCutchen, if he chooses to leave the Brewers. This season, Haniger has only played 20 games thus far due to injuries. Last season, Haniger batted .253 with 39 homers and 100 RBI’s. He has the ability to completely shift an offense and he put up those numbers on a solid team, but certainly nothing too special.
Due to his injuries and lack of playing time thus far, it is hard to judge what his anticipated value should be. Haniger could certainly be a candidate to lock up a long term deal. If he hits the market, the Brewers certainly need to pounce and take this opportunity.
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