The Winter Meetings have been off to a blistering start packed with unexpected trades, rumors and speculation. The Milwaukee Brewers felt confident in their chances of bringing back Corey Hart heading into the offseason. Well … that all changed when the Seattle Mariners made an offer the former All-Star couldn’t refuse.
With Hart heading to the Mariners on a one-year deal, the Brewers are on the prowl for a first baseman. Many believed the backup plan would’ve been to trade for Logan Morrison of the Miami Marlins if Hart left. Well … the Mariners gobbled him up as well. So what’s next for the Brewers?
Doug Melvin has met with James Loney‘s agent, and it appears Loney is seeking a three-year deal. Do the Brewers want to commit that long? The New York Mets have made it no secret Ike Davis is also available. Although, it appears the Mets want young pitching in return, which Melvin isn’t willing to do. Could the Brewers look at Justin Smoak, who is now part of a logjam in Seattle, or perhaps Mitch Moreland for the Texas Rangers?
The right move for the beer makers is to bring in Loney. He brings a consistent approach and steadiness to the lineup that is craving a left-handed hitter. The 29-year-old Loney is a tremendous defender and boasts a career .994 fielding percentage. The Brewers’ first base position produced a pitiful .979 fielding percentage last season and the team ranked 28th overall fielding percentage.
The Brewers are an aggressive bunch on the basepaths and led the NL in stolen bases last season, so Loney’s situational hitting approach would pay dividends. Worth mentioning is that Loney has a respectable career .285 batting average. The real question is does Melvin want to pony up the dough to bring him in for three years, or would he prefer to acquire someone via trade and spend money on improving the pitching staff?
Whatever Melvin decides to do won’t surprise anyone as he has never been one to shy away from pulling the trigger on a trade opportunity. He’s always one to keep his cards close to his chest, but won’t hesitate to strike a deal. We all remember the infamous C.C. Sabathia acquisition to bring in the lefty who ultimately carried the Brewers into the 2008 Playoffs.
Also, when the Brewers recognized they couldn’t afford to re-sign Zack Greinke, they shipped him to the Angels to acquire star shortstop Jean Segura. With first base being the only defensive position with uncertainty, look for the Brewers to go after Loney, Davis or Moreland. All three hitters bat from the left side and could jump into the meat of their already-potent lineup.