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BCB Mailbag 38: The rebuild is over

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Answering the burning questions from you, the reader.

Cincinnati Reds v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

It’s been a stressful couple of days, friends. A 10-hour day at work yesterday, then the Boone Logan news, and this morning spent at urgent care with a sick wife and daughter. But now we are home, everyone is resting, and I have a chance to provide the #content you all yearn for.

Pack87Man asks:

Question

Will the mailbag ever actually be published on time?

The last edition of the mailbag was posted on a Friday.

Spaul149 asks:

What is a fair trade value for Keon?

(User SANDYTOLAN also asked a similar question)

At this point, probably not a ton. He’s got a very interesting skill set as a 20/20 player and is under club control for another five seasons, but he’s also turning 28 soon and his high strikeout rate kept his OBP under .300 last season. If he can go back to drawing walks and limiting his swings at pitches outside the strike zone like he did during his first season with Milwaukee in 2016, it would probably help boost his value. I think if they dealt him before the start of the year, it would be selling low. I wouldn’t expect more than perhaps a middle relief arm or a young, raw prospect that maybe has some nice numbers in a rookie league somewhere. Barring an outside addition, I expect the Brewers to enter next season with a platoon of Broxton and lefty-swinging Brett Phillips in center field.

cjsever asks:

Analytics

Can you reiterate the ratio that GM’s seek when dealing with WAR-to-Salary? Your answer could provide a small bit of humor when someone gives Arietta $30MM.

According to this study published at Fangraphs last year, in 2017 the adjusted Dollars-per-WAR for a free agent was $10.5 mil, up from $9.6 mil in 2016 (and $4.6 mil in 2006). The number is projected to continue increasing, according to the study, and should approach $13.9 mil by 2022. So if the Brewers signed Jake Arrieta to a 3 year, $90 mil deal, they should be hoping he produces about 7.7 WAR over the life of the contract to justify their expenditure.

Brew Crew Buster asks:

Gold Glove?

Who do you think will be the next (is it first? Or first since when?) Brewer to win a Gold Glove and when will it happen?

The last player to win a Gold Glove while suiting up for the Cream City Nine was Carlos Gomez back in 2013, though he was the first Brewer to win the award in more than 30 years. I think that if he can clean up some of his mental mistakes in the field, Orlando Arcia absolutely has the ability to win a Gold Glove while playing in Milwaukee. He’s got a rocket arm and incredible range, and has a penchant for making outstanding plays. That makes it all the more irritating when he botches a routine one, but some of those issues may subside as he gets more time in the big leagues under his belt. Beyond Arcia, I was really impressed with what Brett Phillips showed in the outfield last season during his brief run with the big club.

drezdn asks:

Who ends up with more MLB plate appearances in 2018

Brinson or Phillips?

Brett Phillips. I don’t think that Lewis Brinson will break with the team in Spring Training unless there is a subtraction made from the current in-house group (which very well could be Brinson himself). He missed the last 6 weeks of the 2017 season with injury and while that was going on, Brett Phillips was earning his way into regular playing time during a pennant race. Phillips also bats left-handed, which gives him an advantage were there to be a platoon situation. Brinson spent only 25 days in The Show last year, so it might be tempting for the Brewers to keep him down in the minors until July or before to avoid having to worry about Super Two eligibility down the road.

yahhey asks:

Why do people keep clammoring to trade valuable assetts at such an early stage of a rebuild? (I personally believe this team is still a year or two away from actually contending)

If that’s what you want to choose to believe, so be it. But you’re preaching to the wrong choir here. The rebuild is over. As I’ve discussed on a few occasions already, the team has a deep and controllable group of talent that is good, right now. They contended last year with largely the same group of players that they’ll enter 2018 with. And the National League as a whole looks pretty weak. The Brewers have an ample amount of payroll space available and an excess of minor league talent that could cause a major 40 man roster crunch as soon as next winter. They can’t just keep hoarding all these assets forever or they’ll risk losing them for nothing. The Brewers have to start trying to win again sometime, and that time is now. It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that there has been reported interest Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn, Whit Merrifield, Lorenzo Cain, and Chris Archer during this offseason. All of those players are still available, and I believe that we’ll see at least one major transaction before the team reports to Maryvale.

JeremyKoz asks:

Should Hader be in the rotation?

Or at least given a shot?

Seems to me that last year he was in a “no-win situation”. Yes he was promoted to the show but in relief. Now if he did poorly in relief, the team will say it’s because he’s a converted starter and he needs some more time adjusting to the bigs (most likely in a relief role). However, if he does well (like he did), now he’s almost a lock for the relief corps.

Obviously i’m slightly biased that he should be starting but i’d like to know your take.

I don’t think that Josh Hader should start the year in the rotation, no. An important thing to keep in mind here is the limited innings base that he’s built up to this point. He didn’t reach 100 innings last year and has never thrown more than 126 frames in a single season. If he is going to be built up as a starter, he would probably have to be limited to around 130 innings in 2018 and between 160-170 in 2019 before he could be let loose without restriction.

That clearly means he wouldn’t be able to spend all of next year in the rotation. If he was part of the starting five when the season begins in April, he would have to be shut down at some point during the summer. If he does wind up as a starter next season, I think the more likely scenario is that he’ll begin the year in the bullpen and then get stretched out and shift to the rotation later on.

I’m interested to see if Hader can develop into a capable starter, but he still has a long ways to go in developing his third-pitch changeup and hitting the strike zone with more frequency. If the team doesn’t wind up contending next season, I could see him being given an audition as a starter. But if the Brewers are in the running for the postseason and he’s playing pitching in vital spots as a multi-inning fireman in the bullpen, I don’t think they’ll be inclined to remove him that role.


Thanks for the excellent questions this time around everyone!

Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs