Three First Basemen the Milwaukee Brewers Should Targetby Ben Fadden July 26, 2021 1 comment
The Milwaukee Brewers are running away with the National league Central. Entering Monday, they are 6.5 games up on the Cincinnati Reds. Their pitching has been tremendous this season, despite 2020 NL Rookie of the Year Devin Williams being on the IL for part of the campaign. Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, and Freddy Peralta each were All-Stars and are the top three starters in their rotation. Josh Hader made it to the Midsummer Classic, as well.
Manager Craig Counsell has an All-Star in Omar Narvaez behind the plate and a talented offense alongside him, including Christian Yelich, Willy Adames, and Kolten Wong. The one hole Milwaukee has in the lineup this season is at first base. Going into the Brewers’ Sunday Night Baseball matchup, their first basemen had combined to hit just .219 with 116 strikeouts. Keston Hiura has been the regular starting first baseman but he might end up being sent down again, as he’s hitting .168 this year with a -0.8 WAR in 57 games.
Currently, Milwaukee has been running Rowdy Tellez out there at first base because Travis Shaw (shoulder) and Daniel Vogelbach (hamstring) are on the IL. Could Tellez be the answer at first base the rest of the way? Perhaps, but Milwaukee should do their due diligence on these three first basemen before Friday’s trade deadline.
Jesus Aguilar, Miami Marlins
Jesus Aguilar could be moved at the deadline if the Marlins want to capitalize on Aguilar being at his highest value. Entering Sunday, Aguilar has 17 home runs and over 70 RBI, as well as a 1.1 WAR. The slugger played in Milwaukee for parts of three seasons (2017-2019) and was a fan favorite so he’d fit in perfectly in Counsell’s clubhouse.
Aguilar’s contract is also pretty favorable for a small market team such as the Brewers. According to Spotrac, he’s owed $4.35 million this season and is arbitration eligible in 2022 before hitting free agency after the 2022 season.
Carlos Santana, Kansas City Royals
Carlos Santana is one of the most underrated first baseman in the league. He keeps getting older but his power remains, hitting at least 23 home runs for four straight seasons (2016-2019). In 2021, he has 17 homers and is worth 1.6 WAR, which is higher than Pete Alonso (1.4), Rhys Hoskins (1.3), and Anthony Rizzo (1.1). Santana, like Aguilar, is a free agent after next season and will be paid $10.5 million in 2022.
Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
Rizzo is a name everyone around baseball knows. While he’s only hitting .244 with 12 home runs in 2021, he has plenty of awards in his trophy case. He’s a four-time Gold Glove winner, three-time All-Star, one-time Silver Slugger, and a 2016 World Series champion.
Rizzo is unlikely to be traded at all. The Cubs want to bring him back after the season and the Brewers are the last team Chicago wants to send Rizzo to. However, if Rizzo knows the Cubs aren’t going to give him the contract he wants and David Stearns offers Jed Hoyer the best return, they have to make the right business decision. For the Cubs, that would be to trade him to Milwaukee and hope he doesn’t sign there long-term.
He is being paid $16.5 million in 2021, but Milwaukee would not have to pay all of that, as we are more than halfway through the season. If this trade were to happen (again, very doubtful), the Brewers likely would not extend him. It would be an “all-in” type move where Rizzo would go elsewhere in free agency but he’d make everyone believe in the Brewers headed into October.
The ideal scenario for Milwaukee is for Tellez, Hiura, or Vogelbach to consistently produce offensively so they don’t have to make a move. If the team feels that none can, they could trade at the deadline and hope Hiura can improve going into next season. The front office is always thinking of ways to get better, so don’t rule out a trade for a first baseman.
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