The Brewers first base situation became somewhat unclear after they traded incumbent veteran Adam Lind. But fan favorite Jason Rogers was still around. Then the Brewers signed Will Middlebrooks to a minor league deal. No one realized it at the time, but it actually made Jason Rogers expendable.
We've known for a while now the Brewers were intending to sign a free agent first baseman. We've been covering those options all week long. This is the sixth edition. The assumption was that first baseman would then--if possible--be traded at the deadline after which Jason Rogers would assume the full time job. But with Middlebrooks at AAA he can just take over in the event of a trade. Or anyway it's a thought that occurred to me last night.
I still think the Brewers intend to sign a first baseman with the intent to later trade that player. And despite his--to this point--putrid glove work, I do believe Pedro Alvarez offers the Brewers the greatest chance to flip an asset at the trade deadline. That's because teams are more likely to be seeking home run power than anything else at that point of the season. And if nothing else, this Alvarez provides in abundance.
In the last four years Alvarez hit 25+ home runs three times. Twice he hit 30+ HR. In his most recent season he hit 27. He did this in the pitcher friendly confines of PNC Park. With the short porch provided by Miller Park I could very easily envision yet another 30+ HR season.
He does strike out quite a lot but he's also reasonably adept at drawing walks. His career strikeout rate is 29.1% and his walk rate is 9.3%, which above average. His .309 career OBP leaves much to be desired, but improved on that somewhat in recent seasons. He cut his strikeout rate by 4-5 points the last two seasons and saw his OBP hover around .315. Combined with his power it was enough to keep his wRC+ above average. In fact in all but two seasons he's earned between 112-114 wRC+. That's not too shabby.
If you want to stretch the meaning of the word "play" you can describe Pedro Alvarez as being able to "play" both first and third base. But he's very bad at each. The Pirates disliked him at third base enough to move him to first base over the last two seasons. This season was his first full one at first base and he accumulated a -14 DRS. That's really, really bad. But I wouldn't be surprised to see that number get a little better now that he's had some more time to work out the kinks. It's not an easy transition to make, learning a new position at the major league level.
I feel very confident Pedro Alvarez would give the Brewers above average offense at first base. With the park dimensions I would expect to see a ton of home runs too. At the very least that will be fun. I just hope his defense can take a step forward. And beyond that, I hope it all works together to form a viable trade commodity by July 31. Because I think it's very likely the Brewers sign Alvarez before too long, especially with Lind and Rogers gone now.
Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs