You are viewing the chat in desktop mode. Click here to switch to mobile view.
Offseason Review Chat: Milwaukee Brewers (3/10/23)
powered byJotCast
Steve Adams
'Morning everyone! Let's get going
Brandon Cutlet
Does it feel like the Brewers didn't add enough trustworthy bullpen help? Or do you think they are waiting for final cuts?
Steve Adams
I'm pretty surprised they didn't do more to address the bullpen. They subtracted Boxberger, Suter, Rogers and Gott. Their additions -- Javy Guerra, Bryse Wilson and Joel Payamps -- are pretty underwhelming.

They did make a forward-looking addition with Matt Bush at last year's deadline, but this is a big bet on Peter Strzelecki. I'm sure they were hoping Ashby could pitch some meaningful innings but he's sidelined to begin the year.
With Will Smith, Michael Fulmer, etc. out there pretty cheap late in the offseason, it feels like a missed opportunity
As I noted in the full review, too, it's an incredibly inflexible group. Housers, Payamps, Wilson, Guerra and Bush are all out of options (not that Bush would be a candidate to be optioned anyway, really).

They have three relievers with options: Devin Williams, Strzelecki and Hoby Milner. They're obviously not optioning Williams unless something goes catastrophically wrong.
There's just not a lot of room for them to maneuver. I suspect Guerra and/or Wilson will be on short leashes because of this.
How does the Hiura/Voit situation play out as the RH backup at 1st/DH?
Steve Adams
I think Voit would really have to outplay Hiura to win the spot, just because of all the time they've invested in Hiura and the remaining club control he has (three years).

That said, Hiura is out of minor league options, and if he can't show some semblance of finding a consistent swing and improving his contact, I don't see how he can have a long leash this season. He's just never found any consistency since his rookie season, and there's little to no defensive value. It's going to be hard to keep him on the roster if he's striking out at a 35-40% clip for the umpteenth time.

I know he managed a reasonably productive 80 games in '22 despite a disastrous 41.7% strikeout rate, but that's not sustainable.
Are the Brewers going to be able to make a serviceable major league catcher out of William Contreras?  His bat is more than adequate but I wonder about his defense.  What are your thoughts about his long term future behind the plate?
Steve Adams
"more than adequate" undersells the bat -- Contreras has elite potential relative to other catchers throughout the league.

The glove is the question, but Milwaukee has had success improving catcher defense -- most notably Omar Narvaez  in recent years. I believe in their ability to do it, and it's possible that before too long, the automated strike zone will come into play and kind of limit some of the framing concerns.

Contreras doesn't need to get to good -- or even average, honestly -- to be playable back there. And if he ultimately proves just unplayable behind the dish, there could be enough bat for him to be a 1B/LF/DH.
Why did Renfroe have to go?
What was the reason for trading Hunter Renfroe?  Great defensive corner outfielder, affordable $6.5 million salary, a ton of power, and Brewers could use a RH bat.. I know he doesn't get on base as much as most like but 30 HR & 80 RBI players are nice to have. Seems nobody appreciates him.
Steve Adams
If he were earning $6.5MM, they'd have kept him. He's making $11.9MM this season, and the Brewers presumably just felt there wasn't much surplus value there. His defense isn't as strong as it was earlier in his career, and the OBP limits his upside at the plate.

Looking at the free-agent market for corner outfielders, something like $11-13MM is close to market value for Renfroe's skill set. Mitch Haniger got a $14MM AAV and isn't wildly different, for instance.

There's maybe around $1-2MM of surplus value in Renfroe if he repeats his 2022 season, and there's obvious downside that he takes a step back whether with the glove, power or OBP.
For a payroll-conscious club like the Brewers, moving that near-market-value asset for three pitchers who are close to MLB ready and being able to reallocate the $12MM elsewhere on the payroll was important.
Do you think the Brewers are headed for a complete rebuild? Their farm system is slowly getting better, especially at the upper levels... maybe a retooling?
Steve Adams
I don't think we'll ever see them completely tear down -- or if we do, it'll be in very accelerated fashion because the returns they can get for some of their guys would be huge.

I do think we're nearing the end of this core's run. Burnes, Woodruff, Adames and Lauer have two years of club control remaining. Williams has three.

The Brewers can't/won't extend them all. If they're out of it this summer, I can see them doing some kind of mini-sale to get a bunch of controllable MLB pieces, kind of rebuilding the big league roster on the fly.
They have a good bit of talent on the rise with Sal Frelick, Garrett Mitchell, Joey Wiemer and Brice Turang all on the cusp of the Majors, plus Jackson Chourio on a freakishly fast track to MLB
Peralta and Ashby are still controlled long-term via affordable extensions
I think there's so much controllable talent near the MLB level that you're looking more at a "retooling," if anything, and if they DO trade some combination of Burnes, Woodruff, Adames, Williams eventually, they ought to be able to get some immediate rotation help to add to that and keep the club competitive.

It's a good spot for a small/mid-range payroll club to be in. Not dissimilar to the Rays, which perhaps isn't surprising given that their GM, Matt Arnold, previously worked for ... the Rays.
Joey Jojo Jr. Shabadoo
Unlike what the media have been saying, I love what the BrewCrew did about not giving in on CB's +$700k arb request. 1) it's the GM's responsibility to base a player's stats on like-comps within the industry, so just giving in just raises the figures and comps for future Brewers and similar players for the other 29 teams. 2) CB will be getting 200MM anyways and is out of Milwaukee's price range to create goodwill and it’s too late on signing him to an extension 3) speaking on goodwill, it's not Matt Arnold's job to create it. The player is just going to leave in 2025 so they shouldn't need to cater to his demands as his 2024 arb figure as we just learned what his floor will be +/- 7MM. 4) this negative attention on the Brewers will not impact Milwaukee’s ability to sign future high-end FA’s as they don’t swim in the deep end of the pool anyways. 5) this is not Matt Arnold’s burner.
Steve Adams
Fans always marvel at how teams can go to hearings over such small sums -- especially for star players. Every time, I try to explain that it's not really the team "being cheap" regarding that specific player. It's a compounding issue that spans throughout the league. If you give in and just pay Burnes that extra $700K, that becomes a future reference point for every agent battling against a team on a pitcher with 4+ years of service. If every team did this, arbitration prices would skyrocket and rival free-agent prices. It looks silly and stupid in micro instances, but the macro effect would be mammot.
There's a reason the $4.35MM Arb1 salary that Dontrelle Willis got back in 2006 (!!!) stood as the standard for 15+ years even as open-market prices soared.
I can't believe it's been nearly eight years since I wrote this, but back in 2015 I talked to then-Giants GM Bobby Evans, then-Braves GM John Coppolella, then-Angels AGM Matt Klentak and a few other execs who preferred not to be named about the teams' perspective on arbitration:

If you're a Brewers fan who's angry about the Burnes thing, I'd recommend you read that after the chat. It might not make you feel any better about going to trial over $700K, but it'll probably give you some insight into why they did it.
Where does Owen Miller, tyler naquin, toro, vanmeter fit into the roster? Do you see them in the starting 26 to start the season?
Steve Adams
Miller should be in that RHH 1B conversation right alongside Voit and Hiura. He has minor league  options remaining, though, which might work against him over Hiura. Toro's in the mix for a bench spot, too, but he also has an option. I can see both opening in AAA, but even if they do, I think they'll be oft called-upon pieces this season.

VanMeter's not on the 40, hasn't hit much in the past and has a minor injury for now (some tendinitis in his leg). I don't think there's an easy path for him to make the roster.

Naquin has a real chance to win a spot now that Taylor's out at least a month. He can see the larger side of a platoon in RF with Brian Anderson if they go that route... Naquin in RF vs. RHP, Anderson in RF vs LHP (and also at 3B vs RHP)

I expect Anderson to be in the lineup more often than not either way.
burnes or woodruff.  if you can only keep 1
Steve Adams
For the Brewers? Are we including likely/expected contracts here? Are we talking fantasy?

In a vacuum, with no context, I'd take Burnes over Woodruff long-term. But he'll be the more expensive of the two, as he's two years younger and just has a better track record, so if you're taking contract expectations into account, it might be easier to retain Woodruff.
(Not that he'll be cheap either -- both are nine-figure pitchers on the open market, in all likelihood)
Are the brewers a serious contender to challenge the cardinals?
Steve Adams
I believe they are. The NL Central's a two-horse race for me, with Milwaukee and St. Louis at the top, Chicago kind of in its  own middle ground, and then the Pirates and Reds bringing up the back end.

Milwaukee's rotation is just so good when it's at full strength, and I'm bullish on some of the outfield talent they have on the rise.
What other teams are you doing?
Steve Adams
We'll do offseason reviews and team-specific chats for all 30 teams.
Mitchell has to keep his strikeout s down, but looks like a lock for CF. Any of the other youngsters going to get serious consideration (Frelick, Weimer, Turang) to make the team right out of ST? How’s the rule 5 pitcher doing so far?
Steve Adams
Turang absolutely has a chance to break camp as the primary second baseman -- particularly if Taylor's absence pushes Brian Anderson into the outfield more regularly, as that gives Luis Urias more time at third base and makes Turang's path to 2B even easier.

I think Frelick and Wiemer probably open in the minors, but they're going young in the outfield, so I wouldn't expressly rule out either making the roster. They both reached Triple-A last year -- Frelick at 22 and Wiemer at 23 --  and both destroyed AAA pitching.
Johnny Rotten
Chorio MLB ETA?  Also, I've heard early comps to Acuna with his batting style, is that a reasonable expectation?
Steve Adams
It's kind of up to him in terms of how he plays. He reached Double-A as an 18-year-old last year, which is insane. A player on a traditional trajectory, you'd figure he gets a whole year of AA in '23 -- maybe a second-half bump to AAA -- then opens '24 in AAA and is perhaps up later in 2024 or by 2025.

But Chourio was pushed aggressively last year and handled it well. I'm never going to outwardly predict that it's likely someone reaches the Majors as a teenager or even as a 20-year-old, but we saw Juan Soto skyrocket at a similar trajectory five years ago.

I'm NOT comparing the two and don't think Chourio is the "next" Soto or anything like that. I'm just saying there's a non-zero chance (albeit a very long shot one) that he's up as soon as this season, provided he keeps on raking. I think later in 2024 and certainly by 2025 is far, far, far likelier though.
What becomes of Keston Hiura?
Steve Adams
I think he'll be designated for assignment early in the year. He's had so many chances to cut back on the K's, improve the contact profile, etc., and it just hasn't happened. I don't think he's going to get to the point where he makes enough contact to consistently produce. Hope I'm wrong, because I never like to be the guy who says "Yeah, I just don't think this guy can do it," but that's my honest opinion at this point.
is there any chance we could dangle Hiura to get a final bullpen piece?
Steve Adams
I'm not sure Hiura has enough trade value to net the Brewers a quality reliever.
Load More Messages