The Brewers have made some serious renovations to their roster, and are serious contenders in the NL Central. They are an arm or two away from being the favorites.
The Milwaukee Brewers have had a fantastic offseason. Last week they swung a deal for Christian Yelich and signed Lorenzo Cain to the biggest free agent contract in team history. They then added to that by signing reliever Matt Albers to a two-year deal.
The race for the NL Central is well underway, even though we’re still in Winter. The Cardinals and Cubs have both improved their rosters as well, and both are still players for some of the top free agents.
It’s anyone’s guess as to who will win the division come September. However, the Brewers can swing the momentum in their direction again by making one more big splash.
The Brewers rotation is solid but unspectacular. If the season started today We’d see Chase Anderson, Zach Davies, Jhoulys Chacin, and some combination of Brandon Woodruff, Junior Guerra, Brett Suter, and Aaron Wilkerson.
Having Jimmy Nelson sidelined until June at the earliest is a huge blow. He had a career season in 2017, and the rotation would probably just about be set with him.
The Brewers have made it very clear they are in win-now mode. The rebuild is over, and to be serious contenders the Brewers need to land an ace.
They have two avenues to do that, though. The elephant in the room or outfield rather is Domingo Santana. He had a career year in 2017 and belted 30 home runs to pair with a .278 average. He’s young, has team control, and will be the odd man out of Braun, Yelich, and Cain.
While playing Braun at first would free up room for Santana, it’s probably best for both parties to make a deal. Santana is talented enough to play every day, and he could help bring back a haul for Milwaukee.
If the Brewers are serious about keeping Santana, and moving Braun around, they need to spend and get one of the top starters left. Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta have both been linked to the Crew this offseason, but they have also gotten their fair share of attention from other clubs.
Both starters have their flaws and are seeking long-term deals, but they could give the Brewers the final addition they need. Outside of those two, the other remaining arms shouldn’t entice the Brewers enough.
So, the Brewers could trade for a top-line starter, or sign one. What if they really went for it and did both?
The Brewers were reported to be seriously in the mix for Darvish as of this week. So let’s say they actually make the plunge and sign him.
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Then, let’s say GM David Stearns realizes that there aren’t enough outfield at-bats to go around so he deals Santana, Keon Broxton or Brett Phillips, and perhaps a prospect or two for Danny Salazar, who has a career 3.82 ERA.
If the Brewers are true contenders for Darvish or even Arrieta, this scenario isn’t too unlikely. Santana is a good player and could be a big part of a solid return.
With both deals happening here is a look at your 2018 Opening Day lineup:
Cain, Thames, Braun, Shaw, Yelich, Pina, Arcia, Sogard/Villar, with Yu Darvish and Danny Salazar to follow.
While it’s currently a dream for Brewers fans, it might quickly become a reality.