The Brewers are looking to add to their NL Central-leading roster, and are considering some big names. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter links) reports that Milwaukee has shown interest in Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson and Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, and The Athletic’s Levi Weaver tweets that Rangers right-hander Kyle Gibson is also on the Brewers’ radar.
Brewers GM Matt Arnold indicated this past weekend that the team would look into adding some hitting help, as the Brew Crew has managed their success despite middling numbers in most major offensive categories. Of course, Milwaukee has already made two notable trades to land hitters, obtaining Rowdy Tellez from the Blue Jays earlier this month and landing Willy Adames as part of a four-player deal with the Rays way back in May. Tellez has looked great in his brief (30 plate appearances) since joining the team, while Adames has been nothing less than spectacular in hitting .294/.388/.537 over 232 PA.
Adames would seemingly be locked in at the everyday shortstop, though adding Story could create an interesting dilemma about who plays the position. Both players are strong defenders, and since Kolten Wong is one of the game’s better defensive second basemen, third base would be the most obvious landing spot for either Adames or Story. Such contenders as the White Sox and Padres were known to be considering Story at other positions, and it could be that Milwaukee was another one of the teams thinking of a creative use of Story’s ability.
Of course, just acquiring an actual third baseman like Donaldson would be a cleaner way of upgrading the hot corner, though that trade would offer another of complications. Story is a free agent after the season, while Donaldson is guaranteed at least $50MM through the end of the 2023 (with a club option for 2024 that would add another $8MM to the ledger). Donaldson would also be owed a $2MM bonus in the event of a trade, and it isn’t known if the Brewers are one of the clubs on Donaldson’s five-team no-trade list.
Donaldson also turns 36 in December, making him a riskier proposition for such a long-term deal even though he is still delivering big production in his age-35 season. The Brewers already have big money committed to Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain, and Yelich has been hampered by injury over the last seasons while Cain has had two injury-plagued years sandwiched around his decision to opt out of most of the 2020 campaign.
It would stand to reason that the Twins would at least listen to offers involving getting a mid-30’s player off their own books. That said, Minnesota doesn’t have much future money committed, and the Twins are reportedly not looking to move players controlled beyond this season since the team is planning to bounce back and contend again in 2022.
Gibson is himself controlled through 2022, but at a modest $8MM price tag for next year plus the remainder (roughly $3.2MM) of his 2021 salary. While every team wants as much pitching as possible, Gibson might be something of a luxury for a Brewers team that has gotten great-to-solid results from its rotation. Milwaukee could see adding Gibson as a way of limiting innings for everyone to keep the rotation fresh for the postseason, and to add further length and depth to the bullpen. However, there are many other teams with more pressing pitching needs looking at Gibson, so it remains to be seen if the Brew Crew would be willing or able to outbid the field for the veteran righty.