The Milwaukee Brewers will have a very busy offseason that is currently filled with several question marks. The Brewers will have to decide which players to bring back and what free agents would gel well with the team for the right price. One player that will be talked about is right fielder Norichika Aoki and whether he should be included in Milwaukee’s 2014 plans.
Aoki’s two-year contract will be up at the conclusion of the 2013 season. There is a club option that the Brewers will most likely exercise, but the organization must decide if it is the right decision. For starters, Aoki will be 32 years old by the time next season rolls around. Not to mention, there are several outfielders in Milwaukee’s farm system that are ready to make an impact in the big leagues for a lesser cost.
One cannot argue with Aoki’s productivity on offense and defense, which is why the Brewers must strongly consider picking up his club option. In fact, I would be very surprised if he was not a member of the team next year.
With that being said, if Milwaukee plans to go into full rebuild mode then there really is no place on the team for the Japan native. Something else that should be taken into consideration is that Aoki’s contract states that he must be released by the team as soon as his contract is up, as he will be an untethered free agent.
Keeping Aoki means the Brewers do not plan on rebuilding, but rather, expect to be competitive next season. I am all for Milwaukee picking up the club option and doing what it takes to make some noise in the division. The fact is the Brewers have to make it seem as if they believe they can contend otherwise, attendance will drop off even more in 2014.