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2017-18 MLB Free Agency Preview: Building a team of former Brewers

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Taking a look at some of the top free agents available this winter.

MLB: NL Wildcard-Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Free Agency has officially begun, and the Milwaukee Brewers figure to be active players on this year’s market. The Brewers have a talented core of controllable ballplayers in place thanks to the deft dealings of Doug Melvin and David Stearns over the past few years, and the franchise will enter 2018 with increased expectations after narrowly missing out on the postseason this past year. With just over $61 mil in commitments projected for next year, the Brewers will be able to make a splash or two this winter if they so choose.

Over the next several day we will take a look at some of the top names on the market by position group and identify who will be the hot commodities this winter. But before we do that, let’s have some fun using the list of 2017-18 Free Agents from MLB Trade Rumors and build a lineup of the former Brewers that are out there in free agency this offseason:

Catcher - Jonathan Lucroy

Luc struggled mightily during the first half of the year with the Rangers, so much so that they dealt him to Colorado in exchange for a player-to-be-named-later. His bat bounced back in the rare air of Coors Field to the tune of a .310/.429/.437 slash in 175 plate appearances after the trade, helping him to re-establish some value heading into the winter.

First Base - Adam Lind and Mark Reynolds

Both Lind and Reynolds enjoyed effective seasons in 2017 - Reynolds clubbed 30 homers and posted a 104 wRC+ with the Rockies, while Lind slugged 14 dingers with a 122 wRC+ in part-time duty for Washington. How about a platoon?

Second Base - Neil Walker

Neil Walker just recently hit the market after a solid 38-game stint with Milwaukee where he hit .267/.409/.433 with 4 homers in 139 PA after getting dealt to the Brewers in August. The Brewers ought to have actual interest in bringing him back for another season in 2018.

Shortstop - Alcides Escobar

After spending the last 7 years in Kansas City and winning a ring, Escobar hits the open market on the heels of a campaign in which he hit .250/.272/.357, which is pretty similar to how he’s hit each of the last three seasons. Of course with those numbers, Ned Yost saw him as an ideal leadoff hitter.

Third Base - Will Middlebrooks

We’re forced to delve into minor league free agency at the hot corner with Middlebrooks, who is coming off a solid season with AAA Round Rock of the Rangers org. He slashed .258/.327/.529 with 23 homers in 78 games for Texas’ highest minor league affiliate, but could manage only 8 hits and 3 walks in 38 plate appearances (with 14 strikeouts) in the big leagues this season.

Left Field - Nori Aoki

Aoki’s been quite consistent at the plate since coming over to the States, providing a solid average and on-base ability without much power. That was true once again in 2017, as he hit .277/.335/.393 in 110 games with the Mets, Blue Jays, and Astros.

Center Field - Carlos Gomez

The man once said he wants to retire as a Brewer, so bring him home! Gomez was pretty useful for Texas in 2017, too, batting .255/.340/.462 with 17 home runs and 13 steals in 105 games.

Right Field - Alex Presley

This old friend has a surprisingly strong season in Detroit after signing a minor league deal there last winter. He didn’t make the Opening Day roster but posted an stellar .314/.354/.416 slash in 264 big league plate appearances. That was buoyed by a .383 BABIP though.

Pitchers

None of the familiar arms figure to be highly sought after this winter. Yovani Gallardo, Matt Garza, and of course Wily Peralta are available as starters after subpar 2017 seasons by each. In the bullpen, John Axford, Neftali Feliz, Blaine Boyer, Brandon Kintzler, K-Rod, Rob Scahill, Anthony Swarzak, Carlos Torres, Jorge de la Rosa, and Zach Duke will all be seeking new contracts for 2018.


A few of these players will be in line for notable contracts during the upcoming winter, but most of these former Brewers will simply be trying to keep their careers going for another season next year. It’s always fun to look back and remember these guys during their heydays in Milwaukee, and here’s hoping for the best for each of them this winter.

Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs