5 Players the Brewers Should Target Via Trade

by JoeYancey

If the Milwaukee Brewers are serious about contending, something needs to change, and change quickly. They split the series against their division rival, St. Louis Cardinals, but then dropped three out of four games to the San Diego Padres. A team the Cardinals swept prior to San Diego heading to Milwaukee.

The Brewers’ farm system ranks 25th out of 32 Major League teams. While they may not have a ton of trade bait, they do offer two prospects in the top 100, Sal Frelick and Joey Wiemer, both outfielders with big bats, Joey touted as an up-and-coming power hitter. If the Brewers are not going to bring up at least one of these guys to see what they have at the Major League level, then dealing one or both may be the only play to contend for the big prize. Major League teams will be looking for real value, and these are Milwaukee’s best bargaining chips.

Milwaukee’s average position player age is 29.6, ranking them 24th in the league. Aging starters like Lorenzo Cain, Jace Peterson and Andrew McCutchen provide a strong veteran presence, but also inconsistent at bats and major holes in the lineup. The three veterans have combined to go 87 for 423 to hit .206 on the season. Adding in the former MVP, Christian Yelich’s continued struggles, and it is clear the problem is the bats. It has been the bats for a while. If Milwaukee does not address this issue at the trade deadline, they will have a tough time making the playoffs, let alone winning The World Series.

By contrast, the St. Louis Cardinals’ average position player age is 29.3. In 2023 the Cardinals will shed Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina, putting them in the top 10 youngest teams, with the majority being starters. The impact of an aging Pujols is felt less with the team’s depth, a low salary and Albert being used sparingly, instead of daily. Unlike Milwaukee, who is leaning on poor-performing veterans every day. The problem goes beyond 2022.

The bigger issue, at what point do the Brewers cut bait, and consider a rebuild? Milwaukee has arguably the best pitching staff in baseball. Looking at the contracts, you can see the window is closing. The Brewers need to pair some hitting with this potent pitching staff, otherwise it is wasteful, and the better business decision is to deal some arms before it is too late.

PitcherAgeAnnual PayFree Agent2021 ERA2022 ERA
Corbin Burnes27$6.5 Million20252.432.50
Brandon Woodruff29$6.8 Million20252.564.74
Freddy Peralta26$3.1 Million20272.814.42
Adrian Houser29$2.4 Million20253.223.51
Eric Lauer27$2.4 Million20253.192.38
Josh Hader28$11 Million20241.230.00

The Brewers pitching staff needs to be near perfect to beat teams, especially the likes of the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets. Speaking of the Mets, they did not rest solely on Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer. The Mets have the best team batting average in the league, which has them eight games atop their division. This is how you win. Pitching and hitting must compliment each other.

It is anyone’s guess what it would take to bring one of these guys to Milwaukee, but here is my list of top 5 fits for the Milwaukee Brewers to pursue. If the Brewers are eyeing more than a division win or wildcard appearance, something will need to change on offense. With the trade deadline two months away, can the Brewers wait that long?

1) Eric Hosmer – Not a young guy, but he would be a nice rental for the rest of the season. He has pennant race experience and a propensity for the big moment. Anything to boost this offense would help. Hosmer alone is not enough to take the league’s 25th offensive team to Championship contention, but it is a start. San Diego will listen to offers if it lands a young player with upside.

2) Trey Mancini – The 30-year-old Mancini has rebounded from a subpar 2021 with a solid 2022, looking more like his 2020 self. Trey’s WAR is 1.5 and though the power has dipped some the plate discipline and contact have improved. This is what’s lacking in the Milwaukee lineup.

3) Xander Bogaerts – This is a game changer. An expensive add if kept. Even more costly if Milwaukee deals one of their young players and Xander bolts next year. Again, the offense is so bad, it will require some risk to bolster this futile lineup. Bogaerts is instant offense, but it is the most risky of all. His contract has a 2022 opt out clause.

4) J.D. Martinez – Shooting for the stars, but if you need massive movement, this helps. The Brewers have a batter chance at signing Martinez than Bogaerts. Martinez is five years older than Xander, and his best days of defense (which were never good) are behind him. The National League adopting the DH is the only reason this is possible. With that said, his ability to make contact and get on base would be huge for the Brew Crew lineup.

5) Andrew Benintendi – A player accustomed to making things work in a not-so-great lineup here. His American League ranks currently are: At Bats: 22nd, Hits: 4th, BA: 7th, Triples: 5th, OBP: 9th. Andrew is doing all of this for a last place Kansas City Royals team that is going nowhere. Imagine what he could do for a contending team.

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