Milwaukee Brewers Have a Number of Significant Roles to Fill

ST LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 19: Craig Counsell #30 of the Milwaukee Brewers looks on from the dugout during the second inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on August 19, 2018 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 19: Craig Counsell #30 of the Milwaukee Brewers looks on from the dugout during the second inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on August 19, 2018 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images) /

Despite making the playoffs for the second consecutive season, the Milwaukee Brewers have a number of key roles that they have to fill this offseason.

To put it simply, the 2019 season for the Milwaukee Brewers was a bit of a roller coaster ride. However, despite the inconsistencies and losing their MVP Christian Yelich in September, they played some fantastic baseball over that final month and made the playoffs for the second consecutive season. In fact, this would be just the second time in team history that they’ve made the playoffs two straight seasons.

But if we take a look at the Milwaukee Brewers’ current roster, it doesn’t necessarily look like one that has been to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. Most teams that have had that kind of success are looking to add a player or two that can help take them to the next level, yet with the Brewers, they have a number of significant roles that they need to fill this offseason.

The Brewers’ World Series window is still open but if they are going to take advantage of it, they’ll need to spend some money this winter and fill these holes on their roster.

First Base

After declining Eric Thames’ team option, at the moment the Milwaukee Brewers are left without a first baseman. And while I can understand why they didn’t want to pay Thames $7.5 million in 2020, it is another item to add to the offseason to-do list.

To fill this void, I see the Brewers having three options. One, they could try a platoon of Ryan Braun and Travis Shaw, however, that can be a bit risky since we don’t know what to expect from Shaw in 2020. Second, they could try to re-sign Thames at a lesser amount, but he may end up elsewhere instead. And third, they could explore free agency.


While the Milwaukee Brewers currently have an everyday starter, if they are going to be a Championship caliber team, having Orlando Arcia at the bottom of the order is going to make things more difficult. In 2018 and 2019, Arcia would total a .228 batting average with a .610 OPS and an OPS+ of just 60. Even his defense – which is what he is known for – declined last season.

Third Base

If the Brewers don’t address the third base position in free agency, that means the likely starter in 2020 will be Travis Shaw, which as I mentioned above, comes with some risk. Shaw had an abysmal 2019 season where he’d bat .157 with a .551 OPS and had an OPS+ of 45 while spending much of the summer in Triple-A. Obviously we hope he bounces back next season but if you’re the Brewers, I don’t think you can rely on that.


A little over a week ago, the Milwaukee Brewers made the wise decision to pick up Manny Pina’s team option for $1.8 million. Pina is a very good defensive catcher and provided the Brewers with a few home runs last season off the bench. However, while he is an excellent backup to have on the roster, Milwaukee should be trying to upgrade the position in free agency. Over the last two seasons at the plate, Pina has an OPS+ of 87 which is below the league average of 100. Hopefully, the Brewers will be able to bring back Yasmani Grandal as their every day catcher.

Starting Pitcher

Last season the Milwaukee Brewers starting pitching ERA and FIP were ranked 9th and 10th in the NL, respectively and of all the playoff teams, both were the second worst behind the New York Yankees. And as we look ahead to 2020, there are a number of question marks around the starting rotation.

The only guaranteed spot belongs to Brandon Woodruff and I expect Brent Suter will be a part of the rotation as well, but after those two, who knows? We hope that Adrian Houser can continue to develop, but will he? What will the Brewers do with Zach Davies who is projected to make $5 million in arbitration? And can Jimmy Nelson, Corbin Burnes, and Freddy Peralta bounce-back and be relied upon?

That is a lot of uncertainty and perhaps that is why the number one item on the offseason to-do list for GM David Stearns is to go and get a top-flight pitcher. Now, I don’t expect the Brewers to be in the running for Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg by any means, but Zack Wheeler should be a top target of theirs.

Next. 3 Options at First Base. dark

There’s no doubt that it is going to be an interesting, and hopefully active offseason for the Milwaukee Brewers. They have a number of key positions to fill and in the past we have seen that Stearns will come up with some creative solutions. With that said, if they are truly going to make an effort to contend for a World Series in 2020, they’ll have to be willing to spend some money this winter. There are just too many holes on this roster at the moment.