After the team brought in utility man Brock Holt for a one-year deal with a club option for 2021 on Tuesday, the Milwaukee Brewers are looking to implement one of the most flexible rosters in all of baseball. Every position player (sans for their catchers, at least on a regular basis) has the capabilities to play multiple positions, even being able to switch between the infield and outfield.
Their outfield consists of 2018 National League Most Valuable Player Christian Yelich (who can play all three outfield positions), 2019 Gold Glove recipient Lorenzo Cain (who could easily play either outfield spot in a cinch), long-time franchise player Ryan Braun (who has been told he is moving to play right field and first base strictly this year), offseason signee Avisail Garcia (who will mostly split time with Braun in right field but can switch between all three spots), and long-hair glue guy Ben Gamel (who can also play all three roles in the outfield).
Their infield consists of Justin Smoak (no plans to play outside of first base in 2020), offensively-strong but defensively-stagnant Keston Hiura (second base will strictly be his home in ‘20), former All-Star Brock Holt (who was just signed but apparently courted the entire offseason by the Brewers for his every-position-but-catcher-and-pitcher versatility), veteran utilityman Eric Sogard (who can play essentially every position in the field that is not first base or catcher), recently-acquired Luis Urias (who is slated to start the year on the injury list but can play 2B, SS, and 3B), long-time shortstop Orlando Arcia (who needs a strong ‘20 season or he may see himself on a different roster), veteran infielder Jedd Gyorko (who can switch between third, second, and short), former Seattle Mariner Ryon Healy (who is coming back from a hip injury but plays the corner infield roles), and non-roster invitee Jace Peterson (who has played 2B, 3B, LF, and RF in his career).
All of that depth speaks to how fluid this Brewers roster will be in 2020, and with a ton of these players signed to one-year deals this past offseason, the roster could become a turnstile that could look completely and totally different next season. For manager Craig Counsell, his love of using his pitching staff in unique ways seems to have trickled into his potential usage of his positional player staff now too, which should play to his managerial strengths.
Yelich – Cain – Garcia in the outfield (left to right), and Gyorko – Arcia – Hiura – Smoak – Omar Narvaez (catcher acquired from the Mariners this offseason) is the projected starting lineup for Counsell and President of Baseball Operations David Stearns when they open their 2020 season by hosting the Chicago Cubs, starting on March 26. Power hitters all across the board, it also affords this team the ultimate flexibility that most rosters can only dream of doing – being able to flex between a right-handed emphasized lineup and a left-handed emphasized lineup, depending on the pitcher that is on the mound.
Matchups do not necessarily mean everything in the sport of baseball, and if they are monkeyed around with too much then they could actually mess with a team’s chemistry, but the Brewers look to have suffered enough turnover this offseason that they are starting fresh and with a clean slate, which could end up benefiting them in the end.
Having made the postseason for two consecutive seasons, the team’s bid to return to the NL Divisional Series was cut short late against the Washington Nationals, which was a shame, considering how the likes of Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas had performed in their short time with the Brewers. But with both Yaz and the Moose having left town this winter, the roster looks completely different, and both Counsell and Stearns will have their hands full trying to swing their depth-oriented roster into a postseason contender, especially with how tough the NL Central division is projected to be in ‘20.