The offseason proper may have technically begun over a month ago. But next week is when things really kick off. Reporters, agents, general managers, their trusted advisors, and pretty much everyone else is going to be in Nashville Tennessee for the annual Winter Meetings. This is when a flurry of trades and free agent signings will occur and it's easily the most exciting part of the offseason.
Last year the Brewers were pretty quiet. Actually they were as quiet as a dead door mouse. They did nothing during the Winter Meetings. Ugh! It was so boring. Well we're in luck this year. The Brewers are in a completely different place as far as their franchise goals are concerned. It's rebuilding time and that means trades baby!
The most likely to go is Adam Lind. But there could be several others on the move as well. Jean Segura might be redundant at this point. David Stearns recently acquired Jonathan Villar and he's capable of covering shortstop until top prospect Orlando Arcia comes up. Scooter Gennett, Javier Betancourt, and Yadiel Rivera--in addition to Villar--can factor at second base now and in the future.
Recent rumors surrounding Wily Peralta suggest he could garner interest as well. Despite his mediocre and injury plagued season he won't come as cheap as you might think. He still has strong velocity to go with good ground ball rates. He's going to be cheap and under control for three more years.
Jonathan Lucroy is the Brewers biggest trade chip and the one they're likely to get the most calls on. He's definitely not going to come cheap. The Brewers have two more years of control over him and they're insanely cheap. There isn't a single catching option on the free agent market or available for trade that's anywhere near the caliber of catcher Lucroy is. All this puts the Brewers in the comfortable position of being able to pick and choose which trade package they want. It also means they don't have to trade him right now if no one meets their price.
The best thing about trades--and the most frustrating--is that they often come out of nowhere. As much as we talk about certain players being available, there's no telling who might get traded. It could easily be someone we haven't mentioned yet.
The Brewers might be active in the free agent market as well. They need a center fielder and a third baseman. There aren't a ton of great options at those position. But there are some interesting buy-low guys out there. Just because the Brewers are rebuilding doesn't mean they won't spend on free agents and we could see that happen next week.
The Winter Meetings will end on Thursday with the Rule 5 Draft. The Brewers currently have 3 open roster spots and that's something to keep an eye on heading into the draft. If the team doesn't have an open roster spot they can't participate in the major league portion of the draft. But if they had two spots open they could take as many as two players. The Brewers will have the 5th pick in the draft which increases the likelihood of getting better talent or landing the guy you have your eye on.
Buckle up folks. We can't guarantee there will be any action next week. But odds are overwhelmingly in favor of it. We might even see multiple trades and signings happen. New--and especially young--GMs have shown a willingness to make some wild moves in recent years. Very soon now we'll find out if David Stearns will follow suit.