Will Sammon broke the news of the Brewers' second big move of trade deadline season.
— Will Sammon (@WillSammon) July 31, 2023
Andy Martino, a Mets beat reporter, was first on the return.
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) July 31, 2023
We've already dug into Mark Canha as a target for this team, because he makes sense in myriad ways. Canha is a better athlete than true defensive presence, and he lacks the power of which one dreams when drawing up an ideal corner outfielder, but he's always had very good on-base skills, and he fits nicely into the Brewers' roster puzzle.
In Justin Jarvis, the Brewers disgorged some of their pitching depth at the upper levels, but they're in good position to deal from that area of strength. Jarvis was 19th in our latest ranking of Brewers prospects, which is about the caliber of prospect one should expect to surrender for a valuable role player on an expiring deal.
Canha keeps the team sounding the same notes they played by acquiring Carlos Santana late last week. They clearly preferred to shore up and secure the lineup's OBP, rather than chase power upside. Canha (as all favored Brewers acquisitions must) has reverse platoon splits for his career, but he's a consistently average-plus hitter against lefties, too. He'll take over some designated hitter duties, and probably some time in right field, where he could be placed in a rough platoon with Sal Frelick.
This figures to be the last move to improve the Brewers' lineup. Their position players, then, look like this:
- Catchers: William Contreras, Victor Caratini
- Infielders: Carlos Santana, Brice Turang, Willy Adames, Andruw Monasterio, Owen Miller, Abraham Toro
- Outfielders: Christian Yelich, Joey Wiemer, Sal Frelick, Tyrone Taylor, Mark Canha, Blake Perkins
That's more hitters than the roster will hold. Someone will soon be headed out to Nashville, even before accounting for players who might soon return from injury. Nonetheless, this now seems like a higher-floor, more consistently dangerous offense, and that's a good thing.
The Mets are paying nearly all of Canha's remaining salary for the year, leaving the Brewers some flexibility for additions to the pitching staff if the opportunity arises. Presumably, that was how they got Matt Arnold to surrender Jarvis.
One key to this addition is Canha's ability to put the ball in play, and to work the count. Though it represents a small improvement over the last month or so, the Brewers still have the sixth-highest strikeout rate in MLB, at 24.6 percent as a team. That begets a certain dysfunction, and bringing in Canha (who is striking out less than 18 percent of the time, for the second year in a row) addresses that deficiency. He manages to get the ball in play while still walking over 10 percent of the time, though, making him a good fit for the league's third-leading walk drawers--and perhaps the organization with the most systematically patient approach.
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