Someone here at BCB seems to have paranormal, psychic-like powers. To give you an idea of what I mean, take a look at this.
1. Move Hiura to 1B— Kyle Lesniewski (@Kyle_Lesniewski) February 3, 2021
2. Sign Kolten Wong
3. ??? (3B)
4. "Play meaningful games in September" https://t.co/NByOaN0mKG
I believe that Tweet came less than 24 hours ago. Now take a look at the latest Tweet from Ken Rosenthal. According to the MLB insider, the Brewers and Kolten Wong are in agreement on a two-year, $18 million contract with a club option for a third year. If the Brewers exercise the option, the deal becomes three years and $26 million.
Free-agent second baseman Kolten Wong in agreement with Brewers on two-year, $18M contract with a third-year club option, pending physical, source tells @TheAthletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 3, 2021
If Brewers exercise Wong’s option, deal will grow to three years, $26M, source says. First with agreement: @JonMorosi.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 3, 2021
This is the first really significant addition the Brewers have made in this offseason, and it might be a very savvy one. Wong had 16 DRS in 2018 and 19 DRS in 2019. In fact, over the past three years, Wong’s 41 Defensive Runs Saved are the fourth-most for any player at any position in all of Major League Baseball. He has won multiple Gold Glove awards at second base.
According to Statcast, Wong’s Outs Above Average in 2018 was 11 and 8 in 2019. Based on those results, he was ranked as the 3rd best second basemen in baseball defensively in 2018 and the second best in 2019. Quite simply is on of the best fielders at his position in the game.
This likely means that Milwaukee will be moving Keston Hiura to first base as Wong will obviously become the Brewers’ everyday second baseman. In essence this move solidifies one of the glaring holes on the Brewers’ roster while also enhancing the team significantly from a defensive standpoint.
As a hitter, Wong is okay. In 2017 and 2019, he posted a wRC+ of 108, and he has been around a league average hitter in most other seasons. When he is going well, he is getting on base at a high clip (.376 OBP in 2017 and .361 OBP in 2019), and that would be very welcome in Milwaukee. From time-to-time he even has a little pop. Milwaukee fans know that first-hand as that pop seemed to come against the Brewers in abnormal fashion. Coming to American Family Field may allow him to tap into a little more power and a little more slug.
The St. Louis Cardinals declined Wong’s $12.5 million option for 2021, making him a free agent. Since Nolan Arenado is now a Cardinal that allows Tommy Edman to move to second base and makes Matt Carpenter a bench and utility option. The Nolan Arenado trade might just have sealed the deal between Milwaukee and Wong.
St. Louis’ loss may be Milwaukee’s gain. With the addition of Wong, the Brewers improve their up-the-middle defense dramatically. With Wong at second base, Orlando Arcia at shortstop, and Lorenzo Cain in center field, the Brewers should be able to boast one of the finest defensive teams in baseball.
Moving Hiura to first base would hypothetically allow the Brewers to keep his bat in the lineup, although that defensive switch has been to be officially announced. The move also deepens their lineup. Wong is likely the Brewers’ number 7 hitter. That is a pretty good hitter to have in the seven hole. And don’t sleep on the idea that Wong will be extra motivated to put it to his old team on 19 occasions in this upcoming season.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball Savant