Brewers fielding trade calls for everyone except Christian Yelich
The National League Central division has had a very busy offseason up to this point so far, as the St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, and Pittsburgh Pirates have all made personnel moves so far this offseason. But out of all five teams, it looks like the Brewers have been the busiest, both on the front of making moves and being involved in talks and rumors to make moves.
According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, President of Baseball Operations David Stearns has been fielding exploratory calls for practically all players not named Christian Yelich this offseason. For a small-market team, this almost has to become an every-offseason reality, mostly due to the fact that with the money not being there like it is for a large-market franchise, smaller teams need to get creative with their personnel groupings.
Reiterated by Brew Crew Ball’s David Gibson, the article specifically listed center fielder Lorenzo Cain, shutdown closer Josh Hader, and second baseman starlet Keston Hiura as discussed players. Here are the cases for all three of these players to be or to not be traded this offseason by the Brewers.
For Cain, his five year, $80 million deal that he signed two offseasons ago looked really good in 2018 and not so good in 2019, so there have been mixed bag results for the Brewers so far. Mirred by injuries and a lack of an offensive presence wherever he was put in the lineup, Cain struggled through 2019, although his defensive performance did earn him his first career Gold Glove award, which somehow did not come until now.
Any sort of return for Cain would be very minimal, due to his bloated contract, his age (wrong side of age 30), and his lack of recent production. However, there probably would be some team interested in his services, so the front office needs to tread lightly on this deal. There truly is no pressing need to have to send Cain out of town, but listening to offers does not hurt.
For Hader, his role on this team is not hard to distinguish, but his style of pitching is slowly being figured out by the rest of the MLB, which is making him less and less dominant. The New York Mets, among other teams, have been linked to Hader in potential talks, and a deal would for sure net the Brewers a bunch of nice pieces to continue to build around.
Hader’s contract is about to increase exponentially due to his Super-Two eligibility, and he is quickly pricing himself out of a comfortable range for the Brewers, even if he is easily worth that amount. He figures to be the most likely player to be traded of these three and the one that would make the most sense.
Hiura, who just broke out in his first season at the MLB level, should not be pushed to be traded by the Brewers in any way, shape, or form. While talks for Hiura reportedly were strictly exploratory and did not have a ton of substance to them, the fact that he was still discussed is interesting.
The Brewers were very high on Hiura in the draft and still love his potential, even with how limited he is on the defensive side of the game. His bat makes him an everyday player, and his defense can easily be improved to at least sit around league average – essentially, there is absolutely no need to send Hiura out of town.
For the Brewers, their penchant for making interesting player and roster decisions, including moving players around into unfamiliar decisions, has made this team such a hard team to understand and peg in the past few seasons. This winter, which just has begun, looks to be just the same for the team, so there is no way to be able to assume which direction they are going for 2020 and beyond.