Who Should the Brewers Target in Free Agency? Part I
Who Should the Brewers Target in Free Agency? Part I - Commentary
The baseball season is officially
over and as of Tuesday free agency
has begun. The question now is:
who will the Brewers go after in free
The Brewers are an interesting
team when it comes to free agency
this year. They already have $80
million tied up in current contracts,
but they could be only a couple of
solid players away from competing
for a playoff spot.
If the Brewers look to improve
through free agency, they should
addres first base.
The list of players below shows
free agents that make sense for the
Brewers to try and sign for a possible
playoff push next season.
Corey Hart: The best option for
the Brewers would be to retain Hart.
He wants to stay and is willing to take
a discounted contract. Hart missed
the 2013 season dealing with knee
injuries, but looks healthy and ready
for 2014. While he is not a sure thing,
even if Hart returns to be even 80
percent of the player he was before
injuries you can mark him down for
20 home runs and 70 runs batted
in. Hart would provide protection
for Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez
in the heart of the Brewers battingorder. If the Brewers want to go in a
different direction there are plenty of
other options at first base.
James Loney: After a career
resurgence with the Tampa Bay Rays,
Loney is a free agent once again. In
2013, Loney posted a .299 batting
average, with 164 hits and 75 RBI’s.
It’s hard to believe that Loney can
replicate those numbers again, but he
is only 29, and will come at a cheaper
price than many other first base
options. Loney will also be seeking
a one-year deal, leaving little risk
if the Brewers do decide to pursue
him. While he may not fit the typical
Brewers format of offense, hitting
home runs and stealing bases, Loney
will bring his solid defense and ability
to get on base wherever he ends up.
Justin Morneau: The former
Twin’s first basemen and 2006 MVP
would be a great signing by the
Brewers. Morneau has never been
the same since concussions in the
2010 and 2011 seasons that derailed
his career. He isn’t the hitter he was
in 2006, but he still provides plenty
of pop and advanced fielding for the
team that signs him. In comparison to
Hart, Morneau is a better fielder and is
far better at getting on base than Hart.
In terms of salary, Morneau would
command a very similar contract to
Hart, which would be a one to two
year deal with salary being around
six to eight million for the year.
Mike Morse: Another cheaper,
riskier, option for the Brewers to fill
their need at first base would be
Morse. Morse started off 2013 hot
for the Seattle Mariners, hitting eight
home runs in the first month of the
season, but finished with only 13 on
the year, while only driving in 27 runs.
Morse was traded to the Baltimore
Orioles at the end of the season, but
the O’s don’t appear to be interested
in retaining him. While his offensive
numbers will be a wild card, Morse is
only two years removed from hitting
.303 with 31 home runs and 95 RBI’s.
In my opinion, Morse is worth a flier.
Mark Reynolds: Definitely the
most unpredictable of the five options
listed, Reynolds is a player that could
either push the Brewers over the edge
and into the playoffs, or back to fourth
place in the National League Central
Division. Two things are certain about
Reynolds: he hits home runs and he
strikes out a lot. He led the league
in strikeouts from 2008 to 2011. You
may ask what’s the upside to signing
Reynolds? Well, he has 30 homerun
potential every year. That certainly
would be helpful in the middle of
the Brewers lineup. Reynolds will
also be relatively inexpensive to sign,
and would probably only need a one
year contract. Reynolds could also
fill in at third base in a pinch, giving
the Brewers more flexibility. While
it’s unlikely, Reynolds seems like a possible fit in Milwaukee.
Check back in next week’s issue for a preview of some of the relief or
starting pitchers the Brewers could
target to bolster their pitching staff for
the 2014 season.