Since Prince Fielder has left, the group that has received the most amount of flack for the Milwaukee Brewers has been the first basemen. Last season, seven first basemen combined to not only bat a measly .206 with a paltry .370 slugging percentage, but they also played well below-average defense too. Many of the players who were put into games had never played there before and it showed.
This season while Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay have been a major upgrade, fans continue to want more production. Jon Heyman of CBSsports reported, that the Brewers made a wavier claim on Colorado Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau, but were unable to come to terms on a deal. While it would have been a major boost to the offense to add the current National League batting leader, the inability to work out a deal is not the worst thing that could have happened to the Brewers.
Morneau could have been a huge upgrade in the lineup as a powerful left-handed bat, but making a move of that magnitude is not needed for this team. With his checkered injury history, there is no telling how much longer the 33-year-old Morneau will be able to play at a high level.
All season, Reynolds and Overbay have not provided high batting averages, but they have provided much more than could have ever been expected. Reynold’s 21 home runs lead the team and gives the Brewers an unexpected threat at the bottom of the order. His glove has also been better than ever imagined, saving the team countless runs. Overbay has also been a reliable veteran bat who has come through with plenty of clutch hits from both the starting lineup and off the bench.
Were the Brewers to obtain a player of Morneau’s caliber, it would have cost them a boatload in return, especially since he is signed through 2015. This season, by acquiring Gerardo Parra, the Brewers dealt outfielder Mitch Haniger, a five-tooled prospect who appears to have a very bright future. The Rockies certainly were asking for several top prospects in return including probable players, like Victor Roache, Clint Coulter and Orlando Arcia. With a minor-league system that has continued to grow all season, the Brewers cannot afford to hurt their future for another big-time addition.
It would have been nice to dream about a lineup that had Morneau playing at his best to finish out the season, but it is simply not feasible in Milwaukee. Small-market teams need to build from their system and the Brewers cannot keep trading these players away. Teams like the Philadelphia Phillies mortgaged their future to try to win a championship and now are stuck in the cellar of the NL East. By keeping their prospects and sticking with what they have had all year, the Brewers made the right move in not acquiring Morneau.