The Milwaukee Brewers are still reeling from their odd strategy at the 2022 MLB trade deadline. They ended up trading away their star closer Josh Hader and failed to add anything to a lineup that could have used some extra firepower.
As a result, the Brewers have lost control of their postseason hopes. The St. Louis Cardinals have taken over the top seed in the National League Central, and the Brewers are a game out of the final NL wild card spot. Milwaukee is going to have to make some changes to their roster if they intend on going on a run over the final few weeks of the season to lock up a playoff spot.
Despite their lackadaisical work at the deadline, the Brewers still have a very strong roster, and it should help them make one final push for a playoff spot. Here are two moves Milwaukee could make now that the deadline is well in the rearview mirror to help them earn a playoff spot this season.
2 moves the Milwaukee Brewers need to make
2. Send Aaron Ashby to the bullpen
Aaron Ashby has had a fairly interesting second season in the majors. He spent the early part of the season splitting time between the bullpen and the starting rotation, before taking a full time spot in the rotation due to injuries to starters Freddy Peralta and Adrian Houser. With Houser nearing a return from the injured list, it may be time for him to make a move back to the bullpen.
Ashby’s record on the season (2-10) indicates a pitcher who has struggled mightily. That hasn’t really been the case, though. Ashby has a decent 4.24 ERA with 108 strikeouts, so for the most part, he seems to have been pretty unlucky. It’s clear right off the bat that Ashby’s return to the bullpen would be a demotion of sorts, because the pen needs him pretty badly.
Trading away their closer in Hader was a move that some believe needed to happen, but regardless of your stance on the situation, it’s clear the Brewers bullpen is in a worse spot as a result of him being moved. Devin Williams is a lights out reliever who should effortlessly be able to fill in at closer, but there isn’t a lot of help in front of him.
Taylor Rodgers, who was picked up from the San Diego Padres as part of the return for Hader, has a 9.64 ERA in his first five outings for Milwaukee. Another reliever picked up at the trade deadline, Matt Bush, has a 5.68 ERA in seven games for the Brewers so far. Jason Alexander, who has filled in from time to time in the bullpen, has a 5.18 ERA.
Simply put, Milwaukee needs another reliable bullpen arm, and that’s what Ashby could be. He’s proven to be competent out of the bullpen before, and he can be used in multiple different situations. The Brewers bullpen desperately needs another arm, and Ashby could prove to be the perfect fit.
1. Keep Victor Caratini in the lineup
Victor Caratini and Omar Narvaez have been a platoon behind the plate at catcher for most of the season in Milwaukee. But with Narvaez on the injured list, Caratini has taken on a larger role, and it’s one the Brewers should let him keep for the rest of the season.
Caratini’s numbers on the season are not fantastic, but they are better than what Narvaez has put up for most of the season. Caratini is hitting just .223 on the season with eight home runs and 24 RBIs. But he’s largely outproduced Narvaez this season (.237 BA, 4 HR, 18 RBI, .687 OPS) in pretty much the same amount of plate appearences.
Caratini has struggled since taking over for Narvaez, but he’s still the better option at catcher right now for Milwaukee. Narvaez has fallen off after a solid All-Star campaign in 2021, and the Brewers have struggled to get by without production from him. Caratini hasn’t been great, but he’s been more productive than Narvaez, which is really all that matters.
The Brewers lineup desperately needs a bit more of a spark down the stretch, and Caratini could realistically provide it. He’s already done as much last night, when he hit a walk-off two-run single in the bottom of the 11th to give Milwaukee a huge win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Would Narvaez have been able to deliver in this situation?
Caratini has been somewhat hit or miss himself this season, but at this point, he offers more to Milwaukee than Narvaez does. The Brewers would be wise to try to ride Caratini as their starting catcher the rest of the way out, even once Narvaez returns from the injured list.