Last night was the non-tender deadline and as always a number of players did not make the cut. They've been released by their former teams and are now free to sign with any of the 30 clubs. Contrary to what one might believe, just because these players were cut does not mean they have no value.
Often players will be cut because they're projected to cost too much. Sometimes those players just don't fit the roster construction of their former teams. And sometimes non-tendered players are just injured and are not guaranteed to contribute to the major league team in the following season. It's still possible for those players to provide value to other teams though.
The Brewers primary need is at center field and third base. Unfortunately there aren't many of those non-tendered players available. However there are a few others that might provide intriguing upside for a rebuilding team. If the Brewers could sign one or more of these players on a one or two year deal it's possible with some luck they could flip them for prospect later.
Henderson Alvarez - RHP
The Brewers rotation is full right now, but it could make sense to sign Alvarez regardless. He's working on recovering from shoulder surgery and may not be ready to return by opening day. Shoulders are scary but when he was healthy he was a very solid mid-rotation starter. The recovery time could give the Brewers some time to build up Matt Garza's trade value. Then later they could try to flip Alvarez.
I would look at Brand Beachy and Kris Medlen for an example of the type of contract Alvarez might sign for. They each signed a one year deal with a low base salary that included incentives based on games started and innings pitched. Each deal also included a cheap team option. This allows the player to make a guaranteed earning while potentially locking him in at a bargain price for the signing team, assuming a regain to form.
Mike Minor - LHP
Basically copy paste everything from the section on Henderson Alvarez. Only difference is Minor had his shoulder surgery back in 2014. I'm not sure if that means he's more or less likely to pitch in 2016 though as he's yet to return to the mound.
Greg Holland - RHP
Holland is also hurt. He underwent Tommy John surgery late this year and won't actually pitch next season. However when he was healthy he was one of the most dominant closers in baseball. Recovery rates from TJ are pretty good and he should be ready to go by the 2017 season. Signing him to a two year deal, also with a low base and incentives, could give the Brewers a prime trade candidate for the 2017 season. Or if they can somehow get competitive by then they could have a top closer for a relatively cheap cost. It would also allow them to slot Will Smith in as 2016's closer which could dramatically raise his trade value.
Tyler Flowers - C
Flowers is a catcher who will be entering his age 30 season next year. He has some pretty good pop for a catcher but his AVG and OBP have always been quite poor. He's very good defensively though. He doesn't really make sense for the Brewers unless they decide to trade Jonathan Lucroy--which is far from a guarantee. But if they do trade Lucroy then Flowers presents a plus defensive catcher to pair with Martin Maldonado for quite cheap. With the dismal catching market Flowers may even be the best option out there.
Will Middlebrooks - 3B
Will Middlebrooks once showed promise as a third base prospect. He hasn't come close to fulfilling that promise since his first season at the major league level. He's been a well below average offensive player and a below average defender at third. Still, the Brewers have no real options there and he's going to come very cheap. It could be worth the flier.