One of the premier defensive infields in baseball.
That’s what Milwaukee Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns believes his club could have following the addition of Kolten Wong at second base, which the club made official Friday morning.
“One constant around some of the better teams in baseball is really solid, consistent defense,” Stearns said on a ZOOM call with reporters. “When we’ve had our most successful seasons here, we’ve had very good defensive teams. That’s something that is a focus of ours. It’s something we can and should accomplish. And this move allows us to move in that direction.”
Wong played all eight years of his MLB career with the St. Louis Cardinals and was the Gold Glove winner at second base in each of the last two season. His addition means Milwaukee’s every day second baseman last year, Keston Hiura, will move to first base.
“He’s up for this challenge. Both (manager) Craig (Counsell) and I have spoken to him,” Stearns said. “We believe he can do this. We believe he can be a very skilled first baseman with his skillset and he’s ready to do what he can. This doesn’t completely close Keston off from second base with the right matchups or later in his career, but for now it fits best with our team at first and he understands that.”
The defense will also get a jolt in centerfield as Lorenzo Cain returns after opting out of last season due to COVID-19 concerns. He won his first Gold Glove in 2019.
“Lo’s return is obviously a huge shot in the arm for us,” Stearns said. “This is a guy that has a reputation, and rightfully so, as one of the best defensive outfielders in all of baseball, so adding him back to the middle of our diamond makes a big difference.”
Orlando Arcia is penciled in to start at shortstop, though Luis Urias could also factor in there. The one spot that’s still unsettled is at third base. Urias has the ability to play there, as do several other guys on the roster. But Milwaukee is also reportedly looking at adding from the free agent market, with one report suggesting the Brewers are interested in veteran Justin Turner.
Sources: Brewers still in play for free-agent third baseman Justin Turner even after agreeing to deal with Kolten Wong. Most view the Dodgers as the favorite for Turner, but the Brewers are interested.
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) February 5, 2021
“I think we understand the breadth of the market that’s out there. We also understand our internal options,” Stearns said. “When we’re evaluating an external acquisition we have to be comfortable that it’s making us better because by definition it’s going to cut off opportunities from those in house. That’s part of the process we’re going through right now. I’m comfortable that once we get to opening day we’re going to have a really good grasp on what third base will look like and we’ll be pleased with where it is.”