On Friday, the Milwaukee Brewers made another franchise-changing decision, sending second baseman Kolten Wong to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for outfielder Jesse Winker and infielder Abraham Toro.
The move certainly helps the Mariners as the franchise solved their questions at second base by acquiring the 32-year-old Wong, who slashed .251/.339/.430 last season with 15 homers and 47 RBI in 134 games last season. But what about the Brewers? Is this another move destined to send Milwaukee further down the NL Central standings or a swap that could have benefits for the Brew Crew? Let’s take a look.
These 3 things will need to happen for the Milwaukee Brewers for the Kolten Wong trade to be a success
After last season’s deal that sent Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres and seemed to curse the rest of the season in Milwaukee, which finished just outside the NL postseason picture, this offseason has already seen Hunter Renfroe traded to the Los Angeles Angels. Renfroe didn’t mince words on his way out of town about Milwaukee’s financial decisions.
First, a Winker comeback
Winker’s first year in Seattle after coming over in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds was a disaster, finishing with the lowest OPS+ (103) of his six-year MLB career. Getting back into the NL Central could be the tonic the 29-year-old Winker needs, and playing in Milwaukee could be a big boost to his numbers as well.
Jesse Winker in his career at Miller Park/American Family Field:
.344/.440/.591 with a 1.032 OPS in 32 games
— Reviewing the Brew (@ReviewngTheBrew) December 2, 2022
If Winker can rediscover his comfort zone in Milwaukee, it will take some of the sting out of losing Renfroe’s 2.7 bWAR from a year ago.
There is also hope that the rebirth for Winker could come because he will once again be healthy.
Winker had two surgeries since season’s end: Meniscus in his left knee and disc replacement surgery in his neck. He’ll begin baseball activity in January.
“This is a no-excuse league. I had a bad year so I got some things taken care of.”
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) December 2, 2022
Second, a rookie uprising
Another thing that must happen for this trade to be successful for the Brewers is that highly regarded prospect Brice Turang must be able to step in at second base in Wong’s absence and perform well. With Wong on the roster, finding consistent playing time for Turang was going to be difficult. Now, the 23-year-old Turang has the opportunity to make the position his, with Toro likely serving as a backup as a part of his utility role.
Third, enough is enough
Are the Brewers done with the roster overhaul? According to reports, pitchers Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff. That puts an end to a rumor about one or both also leaving the franchise via trade, and is a good sign for Brewers fans that things might actually be calming down.
What Matt Arnold was willing to say about this: “I’m not going to talk about any trade speculation on players here specifically. What I can say is that those are guys that are very core to our franchise and we intend to build around that group to do the best we can here in 2023.” https://t.co/FhSrP7DbeD
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) December 3, 2022
The recent trades have brought plenty of questions about the franchise’s direction and what is to come. However, if Milwaukee can get production from a healthy Winker, see Turang make his mark as a rookie, and finally see the light at the end of a roster-shuffling tunnel, the Kolten Wong trade could eventually become a win for the Brewers.