Brew Crew Ball continues to look at potential ways the Milwaukee Brewers could improve their lineup through a trade. Today, we look at possible pieces out there that the Brewers could take a run at, and one current roster player that many fans have been begging to get traded.
Find any article about the Brewers or any Brew Crew Ball game thread and you will likely see a consistent message in the comments: Why don’t the Brewers trade from NL MVP Christian Yelich?
On the surface, it makes some sense. The 31-year-old is slated to make $26 million in 2023 and will continue to make $26 million a year until 2028. His production has been down since he broke his kneecap in 2019. His 14 home runs a year ago is a far cry from his 36 in 2018, and he hasn’t broken an OPS of .800 since he recorded back-to-back seasons of a 1.000-plus OPS in 2018 and 2019. Hitting woes and average-level fielding has made him someone who has not lived up to his lofty contract.
A superstar seemingly past his prime, set to make a lot of money across the next five years seems like the perfect formula for a team like the Brewers to move on from. However, in 2022, he was the team leader in hits (145), OBP (.335), runs (99), and average (.252). He also led the way in games played, showing his improved durability. We just saw the Dodgers move on from Cody Bellinger, who many compared to Yelich in terms of decline following an MVP season. Unlike the Brewers, the Dodgers can make that move and go sign an All-Star to a mega contract. I don’t believe the Brewers should part ways with someone who is still one of their top hitters, especially since he showed improved offense in the leadoff spot.
The former The former UW-Milwaukee catcher got converted into an outfielder as he rose through the ranks of the Diamondbacks system. He appeared in his first Opening Day roster in 2022 and spent the majority of his time manning the outfield while spending some time at catcher and DH. The left-handed bat slashed .235/.302/.443 with a .745 OPS and 27 home runs.
Varsho is also an elite fielder, as he was a Gold Glove finalist as both a utility player and a right fielder. With four years of club control and a relatively inexpensive contract (Estimated to make $2.5 million next year via Inside the Diamondbacks), the 25-year-old could add some depth to an already young group of outfielders. He has the range to play all over the outfield while proving to be a serviceable third catcher if necessary. A strong bat also makes him a good option at DH, although if you are going to give up a solid package to get him, you will want to utilize his elite-level defense.
Bryan Reynolds made headlines earlier in the week by requesting a trade from the Pirates. The All-Star outfielder was a major talking point at the trade deadline, however, he was never dealt. Reynolds led Pittsburgh in home runs (27), RBI (62), hits (142), and OBP (.345), all while slashing .262/.345/.461. An All-Star player such as Reynolds that is also in the division makes for a difficult task if the Brewers want to have a shot at trading for him.
With that being said, the switching hitter could be worth sacrificing some top prospects, especially considering he has three years of club control remaining. Now is the time for the Pirates to deal Reynolds, as they finished with 100 losses and 31 games back of first place. For the Brewers, another veteran presence in what will likely be a young outfield in 2023 can ease that transition and provide another strong bat to the lineup.
Michael A. Taylor
Taylor breaks the mold of outfielders that I’ve been targeting in this article. He lacks power, hitting just nine home runs last season, and has hit for a lower average than Reynolds (.254) and a lower OPS than Varsho (.670). He is trending in the right direction, coming off his best season since joining the Royals in 2021, posting a career-best 3.2 WAR.
The former Gold Glove winner is still a dynamic fielder. Elite-level defense and a very solid level of production at the plate pair well with his contract situation. With one year and $4.5 million remaining on his contract, he is within the price range for a team looking to compete, and he could be a good place holder while Milwaukee lets their top prospects develop a bit more.