Brewers’ Most Important Off-Season Needs: Outfield

Brewers should add Joc Pederson to their outfield
Tony Avelar – AP Photo

It was a rather disappointing 2022 season for the Milwaukee Brewers after falling short of the playoffs for the first time since 2017. There were a smattering of injuries, struggling hitters and the horribly destructive Josh Hader trade. There are a ton of questions they need to answer this off-season. With David Sterns stepping down from the role of General Manager it is time for Matt Arnold to make a statement in his first off-season leading this team. One of the three most prominent areas the Brewers need to bolster heading into 2023 is their final outfield spot.

A Revolving Door

The Brewers have never lacked talent in the outfield over the years with Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, Corey Hart, Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich. The stretch of seasons with consistent offensive talent from outfielders was such a crucial part of their trips to the playoffs. This past season featured some solid talent, but there were some issues.

During the off-season, the Brew Crew went out and bolstered the outfield with Hunter Renfroe and Andrew McCutchen.

In 2021 Renfroe had a career-best season with the Boston Red Sox and his transition to Milwaukee appeared seamless. He continued his success by hitting .255 with 23 doubles, 29 homers, 39 walks and 72 RBI.

It was a solid season for McCutchen who was in his 14th season in the MLB. After a pretty great season with the Philadelphia Phillies, he came back to the National League Central where he spent his first nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. This past season he hit .237 with 122 hits, 25 doubles, 17 homers and 69 RBI.

Despite adding these two excellent outfielders to join Yelich, it still felt disjointed. In addition to these three, they had a smattering of other players out there including several infielders. That revolving door also saw Lorenzo Cain, Tyrone Taylor, Jonathan Davis, Garrett Mitchell, Pablo Reyes, Keston Hiura and Jace Peterson all enter at some point.

There is an obvious reason why they succeeded in seasons like 2018 when they went to the NLCS. They had an everyday outfield trio with Braun, Cain and Yelich with constant offensive production. In 2022 it felt like each day featured a different trio in the outfield. Sadly injuries are a big part of that, but so the inconsistent production is frustrating nonetheless.

Going into next season Yelich and Renfroe will be the top two to handle most of the work. Knowing this they are in desperate need of a third to take them to the next level. McCutchen has elected free agency, Taylor does not have the consistency and Mitchell still needs some time to acclimate to the big leagues. Grabbing at least one more top-shelf outfielder will be key to their 2023 playoff run.

Players to Target

The player who should be on the top of the Brewers’ wish list is free agent Joc Pederson. Up to this point, the majority of his time was spent doing great things with the Los Angeles Dodgers where in five full seasons he had a career .233 batting average. Then he left and won a World Series with the Atlanta Braves in 2021. In 2022 he had one of his best seasons to date with the San Francisco Giants. He recorded a career-best .274 batting average with 104 hits, 19 doubles, 23 homers and 70 RBI. He has played in 130 or more games in six of his seven full seasons. Most importantly, he knows how to win.

A player who is extremely talented but has flown under the radar is Randal Grichuk. The Brewers know a little about him since he spent his first four seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2018 he went to the Toronto Blue Jays where he spent the next four seasons before landing with the Colorado Rockies in 2022. Each season he has continued to impress with five seasons of 100 plus hits and 20 plus homers as well as seven seasons with 20 plus doubles. This past season had a .259 batting average with 131 hits, 21 doubles, 19 homers and 73 RBI. His name may not make the headlines often but if the Brewers want an outfielder who can hit and make insane defensive plays this is their man.

Wrap Up

It was not a bad season for Brewers outfielders, but it was not as great as it could be because of a lack of consistency. There is no shortage of outfielders available for the Brewers to scoop up for 2023. All they need is just one guy who is an everyday player with a solid history of success. Adding one more reliable hitter to join Yelich and Renfroe would certainly put the Brewers in a position to succeed. Hopefully, they can make a massive splash this off-season.

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