Key Team Needs
The Brewers' infamously anemic offense didn't do much to inspire new confidence, even during a triumphant weekend to open the second half. They scored just eight total runs, against a team who couldn't even line up three respectable starting pitchers coming out of the All-Star break. Harvey's Wallbangers they ain't, and that's not going to change, but Milwaukee badly needs a bat.
Finding the position at which to make an upgrade got a bit easier, although in an unhappy way, when Brian Anderson went on the injured list this weekend with a strain in his lower back. Rowdy Tellez also looks to be sidelined for a while, after breaking his finger shagging flies on Saturday. That makes it easy to picture adding a hitter at either infield corner, in right field, or at designated hitter, and at the moment, none of Brice Turange, Andruw Monasterio, and Owen Miller are foreclosing the possibility of doing better at second base.
All things considered, Turang's and Miller's gloves make it worth leaving the middle infield alone, but the Brewers will be listening even on players who would slot in there.
No contender is ever fully satisfied with its pitching staff, of course, and with uncertainty still hanging over Brandon Woodruff's recovery from the injury that shelved him in April, the Brewers could look into help in their starting rotation. Given the sheer number of guys they already have to fill out the rotation and their depth, however, it feels much more likely that they pursue an extra relief arm, unless a starter controllable beyond 2024 unexpectedly hits the market.
Thanks to the ever-expanding playoff field and format, it's still hard to tell exactly who will be buying and selling, and how aggressively they might do so. There's little question about a fistful of teams, however, because they've collapsed so thoroughly as to be virtually eliminated long ago. That group includes the Oakland Athletics, the Kansas City Royals, the Detroit Tigers, the Chicago White Sox, the Washington Nationals, the Colorado Rockies, and the St. Louis Cardinals. It's possible that the Chicago Cubs, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New York Mets, the Boston Red Sox, the San Diego Padres, the Seattle Mariners, and the Los Angeles Angels could join and double those ranks, though.
A Fast Survey of Targets
In the coming days, we'll have lots of breakdowns of specific trade candidates and rumors, and we'll break down the positional possibilities. Right off the bat, though, here are a half-dozen hitters from the teams above who make superficially solid matches with the Brewers' needs.
- Jeimer Candelario, the third baseman of whom the Nationals made a reclamation project this winter, has had a solid year at the plate and in the field. He's still young, though he'll hit free agency at the end of the season, and the bruised thumb that sidelined him this weekend doesn't seem terribly serious.
- Eloy Jimenez is under contract with the White Sox through the end of next season, and then they hold two club options on him. That could make it hard to trade for him, but the power upside in his right-handed bat is hard to overlook.
- Mets outfielder Mark Canha also has an affordable club option, for 2024. The Mets need a shakeup, though, and Canha's approach (on-base skills aplenty, but limited power) could be a nice counterbalance in the middle of the Brewers' lineup.
- While the complexities of any intradivisional deal might thwart this one, Paul Goldschmidt is an excellent potential fit for the first base void that has so hampered the team.
- After a stout 2022, A's first baseman and outfielder Seth Brown has had a nightmarish 2023. Buying him now would feel eerily similar to snapping up Tellez a few years ago, though.
- Teoscar Hernandez hasn't been the star slugger he was last year with the Blue Jays, but the Mariners' unfriendly home park might be part of the problem. Either way, he'd be another interesting middle-of-the-order target.
Again, there's much more to come on these topics, including updates on the prospect names you might hear most and the more creative possibilities out there. For now, jump into the comments and let us know what you want to see the Brewers emphasize and prioritize as they gear up for an NL Central title run.