It was reported earlier today that Lorenzo Cain has opted out of the remainder of the 2020 season. What does that mean for the Milwaukee Brewers?
The Milwaukee Brewers 2019 Gold Glover has decided to opt out of playing the rest of the 2020 season after Covid-19 concerns have risen around the league. With three young sons at home, he likely did not want to put them in harm’s way if he could help it.
The Brewers released this statement earlier today:
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) August 1, 2020
Essentially, the Brewers have no choice in the matter and they have to respect his decision to not play and protect his family. Obviously, his talent isn’t easy to replace as he was an All-Star for the Crew in 2018 and won his first Gold Glove in 2019, though the argument could be made that he deserved it in 2018 as well.
The Brewers do have a few options to try to replace his spot in centerfield. First, Ben Gamel is a plus defensive outfielder and has been swinging a hot bat all through summer camp and the first six games of the season. He will likely now move to being an every day player and take most of the starts in centerfield.
Cain also led off in multiple games this season and held the spot for most of his first two years here as well. Gamel can get on base and has good speed on the bases so he could also step into that role. They may also elevate Eric Sogard to the spot as he has an outstanding .435 on-base percentage so far this season.
It is also probable that Keon Broxton will be elevated to the major league roster as an extra outfielder. Defensively, Broxton is very similar to Cain with the same rare affinity to taking away home runs at the wall. He isn’t the contact hitter than Cain is, but he has great power when he squares a ball up like in 2017 when he mashed a 489-foot homer.
Finally, Brock Holt or Sogard could see some time in the outfield. Both have experience out there and since the outfield of Garcia, Gamel, and Yelich will be the norm for the foreseeable future they’ll need some off days. Counsell will no doubt get creative with how he puts together his lineup each day. Versatile guys like Holt and Sogard are big assets in that regard.
The one thing no one can replace is Cain’s million-dollar glowing smile. I’m sure not having him around the clubhouse cracking jokes and making crazy baserunning plays on the field will be a big blow to morale. However, the season goes on for now and the guys on the field will continue to play their game and try to step up and fill Cain’s shoes.