The position to pay attention to for the upcoming Brewers season

The trade for outfielder Christian Yelich, the signing of former All-Star outfielder Lorenzo Cain, the experiment of moving Ryan Braun from the outfield to first base and the push for another starting pitcher have dominated the offseason storylines for the Milwaukee Brewers. But it’s another position that’s not garnering headlines that fans of the team should be keeping an eye on — second base.

Why? Well, the Brewers were one of the worst teams in baseball when it came to production out of that position in 2017. The push to fix it has left Milwaukee with a lot of options as well as question marks. The players who are poised to see time at second base this season are Jonathan Villar, Eric Sogard, Hernan Perez, and Mauricio Dubon.

A name missing there is Neil Walker. The Brewers traded for the veteran last season, but in the wake of the Yelich trade and Cain singing, it’s unlikely Milwaukee brings him back.

The first option, and the one with the most upside, is Jonathan Villar. The switch-hitting Villar is coming off a disappointing season in 2017 after a big year during the 2016 campaign. At 26 years olf, Villar is relatively young and still learning how to play the game at the major league level.

Some of his errors in the field and on the bases were head-scratching, but can be manageable when he produces like he did in 2016. That season, Villar hit .285 with 19 home runs and 63 RBIs from the lead-off spot. He also added 63 stolen bases, which led Major League Baseball.

Last season, Villar hit .241 with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs. His numbers were down pretty much across the board, but took significant hits in stolen bases, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

Overall, Villar had a lot more swings and misses in 2017, which didn’t allow him to get on base, and ultimately steal bases. Milwaukee already has a scary lineup, but if it gets the 2016 version of Villar, it could field one of the best offenses in baseball.

Eric Sogard is coming off one of his best seasons as a professional, and is another candidate to get time at second base. Sogard has had injury issues that have plagued his career, but stayed relatively healthy for the Brewers last season. He signed a one-year deal with Milwaukee right after the season and should be a heavily used utility player.

Hernan Perez, like Sogard, should be used as a utility player once again this season and should see spot starts at second. Perez is the most versatile player on the Brewers roster and potentially in the major leagues. He played every position beside catcher last season, including getting one inning on the mound.

Perez will find playing time at many positions this season, and could find a permanent spot at second base if Villar doesn’t produce and Sogard doesn’t stay healthy.

The biggest wildcard of all the players is Mauricio Dubon. The 23-year-old from Honduras is practically a spitting image of the team’s shortstop — Orlando Arcia. He came up playing the same spot, but the Brewers moved him to second base due to Arcia playing at such a high level. Dubon like Arcia, is a slick fielding infielder with a cannon for an arm.

He’s a player that will hit for average, steal bases, and play gold glove caliber defense. Dubon won’t bring the power that Villar or Perez will, but the Brewers lineup might not need that from him. He appeared in the MLB Futures Game last season and had a nice performance. It’s unlikely that he’ll start the season in the big leagues, but should see some time with the major league club.

For my money, I think Brewers fans should hope for a bounce back season from Villar, as he has the highest ceiling of any of the potential second base candidates this season. I like having guys like Sogard and Perez as key utility players, who can play multiple positions and are a reliable bat off the bench. I’ve been a Dubon advocate for a couple of years now, and am looking forward to see what he can do when he arrives in the big leagues. I don’t think he will have a huge impact on the team this season, but could be the second baseman of the future.

Brewers make trade for Swarzak, still involved in Tigers discussions

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers have officially become buyers before the July 31 trade deadline, dealing outfield prospect Ryan Cordell to the Chicago White Sox for right handed pitcher Anthony Swarzak.

Swarzak has a 2.23 ERA this season in 41 appearances, logging his first career save in Monday’s win over the Chicago Cubs. The 31-year-old has a 4.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a career-best 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings. Milwaukee gets a solid reliever in the deal, but Swarzak will no longer be under team control after the 2017 season.

Milwaukee gives up it’s No. 17 prospect for Swarzak, though Cordell didn’t exactly earn glowing reviews from MLB columnist Jeff Passan.

In 68 games in Triple A Colorado Springs this year, 25-year-old Cordell is batting .284 with 10 home runs and 45 RBI.

More trades coming?

MLB insider Jon Morosi reports the Brewers are still in discussions with the Detroit Tigers in regards to a potential trade for Ian Kinsler and/or Justin Wilson.

No word on how serious those talks have become, but Milwaukee and Detroit have been closely linked in trade rumors over the past week. The Brewers and Athletics have also been in reports in recent weeks, as Milwaukee looks for a starting pitcher to add to their rotation. The A’s are looking for center field prospects in exchange for Sonny Gray — a position at which the Brewers are extremely deep.

Report: Brewers interested in Detroit 2B Ian Kinsler

Milwaukee may be in a bit of a free fall, but the team is apparently still looking to make moves to help its chances to win the NL Central and get back to the playoffs for the first time in six years.

The latest evidence comes from ESPN’s Buster Olney, who tweeted Saturday morning that the club was digging into the possibility of acquiring Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler. The 35-year-old is batting just .244 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs. A four-time all-star, Kinsler won a Gold Glove a year ago for the Tigers.

Milwaukee’s interest in the second baseman comes as regular starter Jonathan Villar continues to struggle at the plate, hitting just .223 with eight homers and 30 RBIs. Backup Eric Sogard, who was playing well before an injury on the 4th of July put him on the disabled list, is expected to return for the club on Saturday night in Philadelphia.

Kinsler is the third Tigers player the Brewers have reportedly been interested in acquiring, joining starter Justin Verlander and reliever Justin Wilson.

The Brewers have lost six straight games and have seen their 5.5 game lead in the NL Central shrink to just one game on the Chicago Cubs since the all-star break.