Two things are constant once we hit the month of December; the temperatures drop in Milwaukee, and the stove heats up across Major League Baseball. Brew Crew Ball continues to take a look at potential trade candidates and targets for the Brewers this offseason. Today, we examine what is out there to improve the infield. In 2022, the Brewers saw their most consistent production come via the infield. However, some heavy contracts loom within that productive infield, so the Brewers front office will be forced to make some tough decisions these next few months to keep the Brewers a contender.
Willy Adames has been a spark plug for the Brewers since he joined the team in 2021. Last season, he slashed .238/.298/.458 with an .OPS of .756, 31 home runs, and a team-leading 98 RBI. He will be eligible for free agency after the 2024 season along with other major contributors such as Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes. Being owed around $10 million thanks to arbitration is a hard number to work with if you are the Brewers, so dealing Adames while they have the chance might be a route the Brewers consider. Adames’ impact on the field and as a clubhouse presence makes him one of the most valuable players from the 2022 club. Working a trade for Adames would seemingly require already-established Major League talent in return.
As we look at potential pieces for an Adames deal, let's start with Jake Cronenworth. The 2015 7th-round draft pick of Tampa Bay was traded to San Diego back in 2019. Since coming to Padres, Cronenworth has proven he can play all across the infield. In 2022, he started at second, shortstop, and first base, while also serving as DH at points. He is coming off a season that saw a slash line of .240/.333/.394 along with 17 home runs and 88 RBI. The left-handed bat could provide some versatility across the infield, which the Brewers love, and have a consistent on-base presence in the lineup. Fresh off back-to-back All-Star appearances, the Brewers would need to offer a pretty healthy package in return. However, he is under contract until 2025, with arbitration in each of the next three seasons. According to Spotrac.com, Cronenworth is projected to make $4.4 million in 2023, which is a good price for the Brewers to pay for that kind of versatility.
Some might be surprised to see a first baseman on the list of trade targets for the Brewers, as Rowdy Tellez has started to establish himself as one of the best hitters in the Brewers lineup while at first. However, the addition of the DH spot in the lineup opens the door for those two to potentially share the first baseman’s spot. In 2022, Cron hit 29 home runs with the Rockies, marking the fourth time in the last five seasons the right-hander surpassed the 25-home-run threshold. Cron currently has two years left of his $15 million contract. With Renfroe now in Los Angeles, the Brewers will need to find a spot to get some power back in the lineup, even if it is at a position of strength such as first base.
Seeing time at both first and third this past season, Diaz was the most productive hitter for the Rays. Slashing .296/.401/.423 with an .OPS of .824, Diaz would provide an instant impact on the Brewers lineup. Why would the Rays trade him if he has been one of their best hitters on a consistent playoff contender? With two years to go until he hits free agency, Diaz is set to make around $6 million in 2023. Historically, the Rays have tried to trade away major keys to their team before they are due a significant raise. At the pace Diaz is at, he will be a major target come free agency. The Brewers have a chance to get him now while he is still relatively inexpensive, and his range at both third and first fits into their system well.
How would you feel about a potential Willy Adames trade?
This poll is closed
I support it, we should get someone for him while we can.
Depends on who we get.
I wouldn’t be happy but I can understand the reasoning.
No way, can’t afford to trade him away.