The Brewers need to be proactive with first base

Tom Lynn

With the offense as shaky as it's been, the time has come to try to reinvigorate it. They should start with bidding Lyle Overbay a fond farewell.

Ron Roenicke and Doug Melvin chose Lyle Overbay for his defense and said they weren't concerned about his offense. Even if they were being honest, they have to realize it was a mistake by now. To this point he has been worth -0.05 fWAR and his offense (47 wRC+) has been worse than 2013 Yuniesky Betancourt (56 wRC+). To make matters worse his defense hasn't been as advertised either. Before Tuesday's game he had a 0 DRS, -1.4 UZR, and a -15.5 UZR/150. Defensive metrics aren't a perfect science, but Overbay hasn't looked good either. This cannot continue.

I firmly believe the offense, left to its own devices, would eventually right itself. If the Brewers want to remain in the playoff hunt I don't think they can stand around and wait for that. There are other areas where the Brewers could benefit from an upgrade, but with first base they may have an immediate option. Yes, I'm actually referring to Hunter Morris. If you read any of my writings from the offseason you'll understand why that's a shocking statement for me to make. I'm not a big believer in the kid, but I've been wrong plenty before. At this point though, it's more about him not being as bad as Overbay than it is about him being a great option.

Right now Morris is hitting 289/331/470 for a 103 wRC+. He's not exactly lighting the world on fire in his second time through AAA, but he's been pretty solid versus right-handed pitching. From Baseball Reference, his slash line vs RHP is 289/349/513. Morris could potentially solve two issues: Poor production at first base and lack of left-handed power off the bench.

There's an adjustment to facing major league pitching and there's an adjustment to playing in a platoon. Morris could very well perform as poorly as Mat Gamel and Taylor Green did under similar circumstances. Since Overbay would likely seek employment elsewhere instead of accepting an assignment to AAA Nashville, there's significant risk in promoting Morris if he can't play. However that risk is mitigated by Overbay's awful performance. There's another reason why they might want to try that now rather than later.

Recently there has been talk about signing Kendrys Morales. Doug Melvin already said Morales probably wasn't a realistic option for a National League club, but I don't buy it. It might be that they aren't considering him, but if that's true I think it's a mistake. Regardless, Morales wouldn't sign until June 6th at the earliest so they have about 2.5 weeks to test out Morris. If it's clear he can't hack it, then they know they should sign Morales. If he can they might be able to use that several million dollars elsewhere.

The offense has suffered as a result of the injuries to their best hitters. That should change when Aramis Ramirez returns and Ryan Braun/Carlos Gomez get healthy(ish). Left field and short stop have been disappointing and the bench has mostly been dismal. There are plenty of things to blame for the offensive woes, but only one spot that could potentially be fixed right now. I don't think anyone expected Overbay to hit, he hasn't in years, so it's not like his lack of offense is a fluke. We can say with confidence that he isn't going to turn it around much if at all. Now that we've seen his defense is lacking as well, I don't know how anyone can rationalize keeping him any longer. Installing Hunter Morris into the first base platoon is a risky proposition, but it has upside and that's more than anyone can say about Overbay.

Except where otherwise noted, statistics courtesy of Fangraphs.

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