Here’s why the Brewers should hold on to OF Domingo Santana

With the trade for Christian Yelich and the signing of Lorenzo Cain last week, the Brewers now have a surplus of outfielders. Besides Yelich and Cain, Milwaukee also has Ryan Braun, Keon Broxton, and Brett Phillips, all who primarily play the three outfield positions.

Undoubtedly, the Brewers will have to move some of the outfielders on their roster, but should hold on to Domingo Santana, who had a breakout season in 2017. Santana’s name has come up  in multiple reports as a player the Brewers are currently shopping. Many have speculated that Milwaukee will be likely looking to trade Santana for a high-end starting pitcher.

The Brewers and Santana have been linked to teams and players such as the Tampa Bay Rays with Chris Archer and the Cleveland Indians with most notably Danny Salazar. It makes sense that Milwaukee would look into potential trade partners for Santana, but should at least think about holding on to a player of his caliber.

Since coming to Milwaukee as part of the trade that sent Carlos Gomez to the Houston Astros, Santana’s numbers have shown continued improvement. His batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, and OPS, were all up in each of the last three seasons. Not only has his batting production increased, but his defensive runs saved and adjusted range statistics have also improved. He also has a cannon for an arm out in right field. MLB Network ranked Santana as the 8th best right fielder heading into 2018.

The Brewers have also talked about moving Ryan Braun to first base, which would make sense since he took a step back in the outfield last season, but is still a bat you want in the lineup. Braun used to be an above-average outfielder, but age and injuries have started to take its toll. Of the five outfielders listed above, Braun is the worst outfielder of the group.

Santana’s contract goes right along with both Yelich and Cain’s deals. Cain will be under contract through the 2022 season making an average of $16 million a year. Yelich is under club control through 2022, making an average of just over $7 million per year, while Santana is under contract through 2021 and is eligible for arbitration for the first time in 2019. Overall the outfield of Cain, Yelich, and Santana will be under contract for the next four to five years at a reasonable price.

The Brewers also still have a good enough farm system to trade for a top-end starter. Prior to the Yelich trade, a move in which Milwaukee sent three top 100 prospect to the Marlins, the team’s farm system was ranked eighth by Baseball America. On Monday, the outlet had Milwaukee at No. 11. The Brewers still have three prospects ranked in the top 100 and two more who just narrowly missed the cut. The cupboard definitely isn’t bare in Milwaukee.

Overall, if the Brewers hold on to Santana, they would have one of the most productive outfields in MLB both offensively and defensively. Santana also has a very team-friendly deal and would be under contract for another four years, which would give Milwaukee financial flexibility. The Brewers also have a good enough farm system to go out and acquire top-end talent with the prospects they still have in the minor leagues.

Why the Brewers aren’t necessarily going “all in” with these recent moves

The Milwaukee Brewers and general manager David Stearns are back at it again. The club is the talk of the off-season right now after trading for Miami Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich and signing former All-Star outfielder Lorenzo Cain as a free agent Thursday night.

Milwaukee still has a crowded outfield, which means that more moves will be likely to come before the start of spring training and players such as Domingo Santana, Brett Phillips, and Keon Broxton could be on the move. Despite all of these transactions, though, the Brewers aren’t necessarily going all in with a win-now mentality.

Here are some of the reasons why the Brewers didn’t mortgage their future and are not only going to contend for a playoff spot this season, but for a World Series for the next five years.

Trading for Yelich cost Milwaukee its top prospect in Lewis Brinson and other highly ranked prospects in Isan Diaz (6th), Monte Harrison (14th), and Jordan Yamamoto (21st). Yelich is the player right now that the Brewers had hoped Brinson could become and the one Miami is banking on him becoming.

The 23-year-old Brinson spent some time in the majors last season, but struggled when given the chance to play. At 26 years old, Yelich has been playing in the big leagues for five years, and is coming off a season in which he hit .282 with 18 home runs and 81 RBIs. He did that while hitting at Marlins Park, a much bigger stadium than Milwaukee’s Miller Park.

Milwaukee included 21-year-old Diaz in the deal and was able to do so because of the depth at its middle infield spots. The Brewers currently have Orlando Arcia at shortstop and are hoping for a bounce back season from Jonathan Villar at second base. The Brewers also have their seventh-ranked prospect in Mauricio Dubon, who is expected to see time at the big league level this season. Milwaukee also has another top prospect, Jean Carmona (13th) at that position.

The 22-year-old Harrison was another prospect that became expendable because of the depth at the outfield position. Harrison had a big season last year between low and high-A. He was still a ways away from the big leagues at this point in his career.

The last player involved in the trade, 21-year-old Jordan Yamamoto is coming off a good season in high-A with Carolina, but was among the organization top-10 pitching prospects.

Yelich will be under contract through a good chunk of his prime. He won’t be eligible for free agency until 2022. Yelich will command the most money during the 2021 season, a season in which he will make $15 million. Milwaukee basically nailed down an All-Star caliber player for a reasonable price during the prime of his career.

Many fans have questioned the signing of Cain, especially after trading for Yelich. Yes, the Brewers still have a crowded outfield. Yes, Cain turns 32 years old during this upcoming season. Yes, he’s making an average of $16 million per year over the next five season with this new deal.

What many people don’t know is that is that every Major League Baseball owner was given $50 million due to the deal that Disney struck with the league related to streaming and marketing. This means that Milwaukee’s owner, Mark Attanasio, could put that money towards the Brewers team salary. In the past, Attanasio hasn’t hesitated to spend money when he feels the team can contend and these moves suggest he does.

The Brewers could essentially use that money to pay for part of Cain’s $80 million contract. This would leave Milwaukee on the hook for $30 million over the next five years, which makes it a much more team-friendly deal at $6 million per year over five years. Under the ownership of Attanasio, the Brewers have seen their team salary rise as high as $110 million. The Brewers expected salary is around $90 million for the upcoming season, which should leave the Brewers with roughly $20 million dollars a year to spend on future signings, extensions, etc. The Brewers still have financial flexibility to make future moves.

Brewers fans are a winning starved bunch and just seeing progress from off-season moves like these can lead to this kind of “all in” thinking by fans. The moves that Stearns and the Brewers made yesterday by no means show that the Brewers are in the “win now” mode. These two transactions are just another step in the rebuild and the push for getting to the World Series in the near future. Milwaukee definitely added better players to their roster yesterday, but still have a farm full of prospects, financial flexibility, and time to build towards championships.

(WATCH) Keon Broxton saves the day for Milwaukee in a 6-5 win over St. Louis

It appeared as if Milwaukee had just given up a two-run homer in the top of the ninth that would have given St. Louis the lead. But centerfielder Keon Broxton had different ideas, robbing Randal Grichuk at the wall with a leaping catch to give the Brewers a 6-5 win Wednesday afternoon.

“Sometimes it takes a great play to win a game,” manager Craig Counsell said afterwards. “We got a great play from Broxton.”

The play was made more remarkable by the fact Broxton had just come into the game, replacing Hernan Perez, who joked with Counsell that he would have made the play as well.

“He’s got a couple this year and none bigger than that one,” Counsell said of Broxton’s catch.

The play was a lifesaver for the Crew, seeing as without it they would have blown a three-run lead after the seventh inning. Instead, it gave starter Chase Anderson his eighth win of the year, as he went six innings, giving up three runs, all of which came via the long ball. Closer Corey Knebel picked up his 30th save of the season.

The Brewers offense did its job after coming up empty in a 10-2 loss on Tuesday. They scored three runs each in the second and sixth innings, including home runs by Domingo Santana and Jonathan Villar. Shortstop Eric Sogard and Perez each had a pair of hits.

With the victory, Milwaukee moved within three games of the Chicago Cubs in the race for the NL Central.

The Brewers will open a series against the Washington Nationals Thursday night at Miller Park.

St. Louis hammers the Brewers 10-2

Any momentum the Milwaukee Brewers had coming of a successful road trip came to a screeching halt Tuesday night, as the St. Louis Cardinals rolled into town and walked away with a convincing 10-2 victory.

Starter Matt Garza got lit up, making it just 3 1/3 innings, giving up six runs – three of them earned – on four hits. He also walked five, tying a season-high. The veteran took the loss to fall to 6-8 on the year.

In relief, Carlos Torres allowed three runs in just 1 1/3 innings.

Milwaukee’s offense was also missing in action, as the St. Louis pitching staff, led by starter Luke Weaver, held them in check. The only runs they were able to muster came courtesy of first baseman Eric Thames’s 28th homer of the year and a Keon Broxton single in the sixth.

The loss dropped the Brewers 3 ½ games back of Chicago in the NL Central with 30 games to play. The Cardinals, meanwhile, are now just 1 ½ games out of second.

Milwaukee and St. Louis will play the finale of their short two-game series Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park. First pitch is set for 1:10 p.m.

Milwaukee overcomes early deficit to beat Pittsburgh 7-6

Powered by five home runs, the Milwaukee Brewers came back from an early deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-6 on Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park.

Manager Craig Counsell’s team trailed 4-0 entering the bottom of the third inning when their bats finally woke up. Centerfielder Keon Broxton drilled a solo home run, which was followed by a two-run shot from second baseman Neil Walker.

Things stayed 4-3 until the sixth inning, when third baseman Travis Shaw tied the game with his 26th homer of the year. The Pirates answered that with a run in the seventh, only to see Broxton hit another solo shot to tie things up in the bottom of the frame. After an Adam Frazier single gave Pittsburgh a 6-5 lead going to the bottom of the eighth inning, the Brewers showed off their resiliency as catcher Manny Pina hit a two-run homer that proved to be the game-winner.

The victory was the fourth straight for the Brewers, who improved to 2-43 this season when trailing after seven innings, and in doing so moved into sole possession of second place in the NL Central, 1 ½ games back of Chicago and a game in front of St. Louis.

After a rough first three innings, Jimmy Nelson settled in, going 6 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on eight hits while striking out seven. Anthony Swarzak picked up the win, while closer Corey Knebel earned his 24th save with a scoreless ninth inning.

Milwaukee now hits the road for nine games, starting Friday night in Colorado.

Broxton backs Davies in win over Pirates

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers avoided dropping in the National League Central standings by taking down the Pittsburgh Pirates Tuesday night 3-1 at Miller Park.

Zach Davies collected his 14th win of the year as he tossed 6.2 innings, allowing one run on six hits. Manny Piña backed him up with a pair of RBI, while Keon Broxton added a late-game insurance run with a pinch-hit solo blast in the seventh inning.

“Any run that we can scratch on at the end of the game really helps our team, helps the pitchers,” Broxton said. “It makes it tough on the other team, knowing they have to get an extra run. It’s not just one [run] to tie the game up, so yeah, that was a clutch home run.”

Newcomer Neil Walker continued to impress, making one of the more important defensive plays of the game. With the game tied at 1-1 in the sixth inning, Walker made a sliding stop of an infield grounder, tossing the ball over to first base in time to stop a run from scoring.

Closer Corey Knebel also notched his 23rd save of the year.

Minnesota finishes off a sweep of the Brewers

Milwaukee’s tumble down the NL Central standings continued on Thursday night thanks to a 7-2 loss to Minnesota at Miller Park.

The Twins scored three runs each in the second and third innings off of Zach Davies, who went 5 2/3rds innings, allowing 11 hits overall on the way to his sixth loss of the season. The six earned runs he gave up were two more than he had given up in the previous 28 2/3rds innings of work he’d seen.

Meanwhile, the Brewers bats continued their extended vacation as it’s now been 14 games since Milwaukee scored more than four runs. On Thursday, all the offense had was a solo home run by Keon Broxton in the second and then bases loaded walk that scored a run.

The loss was Milwaukee fifth straight, and dropped them into third in the division, a game back of St. Louis and two games back of Chicago.

Cincinnati will come to town on Friday to start a weekend series. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m.

What this Brewers offense is missing

The Brewers have undoubtedly played better than anyone expected this season, and are still in the hunt for the National League Central title. This has lead to Brewers general manager David Stearns making some moves to sure up the Milwaukee bullpen, which emerged as the team’s weakest unit.

The team has struggled since the All-Star break going 9-14 in that time. The starting pitching has been relatively good all season, and the bullpen has made strides as of late. What is really plaguing the Brewers is the fact that the offense isn’t hitting home runs and not scoring runs in general.

David Stearns mentioned how he would continue to look at every option available to improve this ball club. I’m sure he’ll continue to scour the waiver wire and look to make deals during the waiver trade deadline.  He could also continue to bring up younger players from the minor league in hopes of a spark. Which might not really happen until September.

Lewis Brinson and Brett Phillips are two highly touted prospects, but both have shown that the Brewers need to be patient with their progression as they’ve both struggled in their limited time at the big league level.

There has been a lot said lately about how the Brewers have struggled to score runs especially when they aren’t hitting home runs. That is true, but the team is struggling to even get on base at the same time. What I think this Brewers team is missing is a true lead-off hitter. Jonathan Villar was the Brewers lead-off man for most of last season, but he has been anything but productive so far this season.

Villar is hitting .216 this season with 8 home runs and 32 RBIs. He does have 20 stolen bases, but has shown a lack of concentration on the bases too many times in his career. He has also struck out 111 times this season, which is over 34% of his at-bats. His on-base percentage of .276 is terrible for a traditional lead-off hitter. He has also committed 11 errors this season, which doesn’t help his case.

Eric Sogard has also seen quite a bit of time in the lead-off spot since mid-May. He was fitting the role nicely up until he went on the disabled list just before the All-Star break. Since returning to the lineup a little more than two weeks ago, he has really struggled. Since July, Sogard is a combined 3-39 for a batting average of .077 during that time period. The Brewers have to monitor his playing time because he is coming off of knee reconstruction surgery.

The Brewers don’t really have many other options. Eric Thames and Domingo Santana have seen some time at the top of the order, but Craig Counsell and the Brewers would prefer them lower in the order. Keon Broxton has also gotten starts in the lead-off spot, but has struck out at too high of a clip to be a good candidate for the position. The Brewers could try Orlando Arcia at the top spot in the order, but Craig Counsell seems content with batting him in the seventh or eighth spot.

Without a consistent lead-off hitter, the Brewers offense will continue to struggle as long as they aren’t hitting the long ball. For my money, I’d pull the trigger on calling up top prospects Lewis Brinson and/or Mauricio Dubon and let them find their swings at the major league level.

 

 

 

 

Brewers make first move post-trade deadline, recall Keon Broxton from Triple-A

The Brewers made their first roster move since yesterday’s trade deadline. Milwaukee recalled Keon Broxton from Triple-A Colorado Springs, he was previously sent down on July 22nd after having a mediocre first-half of the season. Broxton was also sent down to make room for Eric Sogard, who returned from the disabled list after suffering an ankle injury.

Broxton was hitting .218 with 14 home runs and 38 RBIs for the Brewers. The biggest concern with Broxton was his inability to put the ball in play. He had a lot of swings and misses, and was striking out at a clip of 38% of his at-bats. The Brewers have since used multiple players in center field. Prized prospects Lewis Brinson and Brett Phillips have had opportunities to play in center in the absence of Broxton. Both have shown improvement in their second stint in the major leagues.

In seven games in Triple-A,  Broxton was hitting .385 with one home run and seven RBIs, he also stole four bases. He will be taking the spot of Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who the Brewers designated for assignment a day after selecting his contract from Triple-A. The Brewers are hoping Broxton found his swing in the ten days he spent in the minor leagues.

Brewers moves: Sogard in, Broxton out

Second baseman Eric Sogard is back and centerfielder Keon Broxton is out.

Those were the transactions announced Saturday by Milwaukee, which is in the midst of a season-worst six-game losing streak.

Sogard had been on the disabled list with an ankle injury since early July. Before that, the 31-year-old had been one of the pleasant surprises for Milwaukee. He spent all last year in the minor leagues, but when he got called up in April, he was great, batting .331 in 43 games, with three home runs and 14 RBIs.

Broxton, meanwhile, has been in a major funk at the plate, and that’s the reason he was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. In the month of July, the 27-year-old went 3-for-45 with one home run. For the season, his average had dipped to .218.

Brett Phillips is likely to take over on a regular basis in centerfield.

Milwaukee will take on Philadelphia on Saturday night.