MILWAUKEE — The offseason in Major League Baseball is sometimes filled with a lot of change, but for the Milwaukee Brewers, their “On Deck” fan event only provided a few surprises.
One of the most noteworthy observations from the event held at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee is that second baseman Scooter Gennett will be experimenting with several positions during spring training, mainly in the outfield. His playing time would be limited if he played solely at second base, due to newcomers Travis Shaw (third base), Orlando Arcia (shortstop), and Jonathan Villar (second base).
Gennett noted that he’s had limited experience as an outfielder, mainly in high school.
“I can catch a fly ball, I’m not saying it’s going to be easy,” Gennett told reporters. “I can catch a fly ball and I can run, so hopefully I’ll be able to adjust and if I’m needed in the outfield, I’ll be able to handle it.”
Another offseason storyline clarified at the event was the future of outfielder Ryan Braun. Braun was a big talking point last August when it was reported the Los Angeles Dodgers had nearly brokered a deal with Milwaukee that would have sent Braun to LA in exchange for Yasiel Puig and a top prospect. That deal fell apart minutes before the Aug. 31 midnight deadline and Braun has remained in Milwaukee ever since. Manager Craig Counsell revealed on Sunday that he never expected Braun to be dealt this offseason.
“I expected Ryan [Braun] to be back and I expected Ryan to hit third [in the batting order] and I’m very happy that I get to continue to write his name. I thought I’d always continue to write his name at third in the lineup. He’s played at a high level last year; he’s going to play at a high level this year; and he’s going to continue to…”
Braun will enter his 11th MLB season with $72 million remaining on his monster five-year, $105 million contract. The 33-year-old will make $19 million in 2017.
Additionally, principle owner Mark Attanasio revealed that he’s in discussions to purchase the club’s Class A affiliate, the Carolina Mudcats. That’s significant because it would allow the Brewers to control decisions about the farm system team without risk of it changing locations or being bought out by another club during contract negotiations. Milwaukee has parted ways with longtime affiliate, the Brevard County Manatees.