Late Tuesday night, the Milwaukee Brewers continued their fairly active offseason with a four-player trade that sent 29-homer man Hunter Renfroe to the Los Angeles Angels for three pitching prospects. Milwaukee cut ties with stalwart lefty Brent Suter (lost on waivers to the Colorado Rockies) and righty Brad Boxberger (declined club option) earlier this month.
The Renfroe trade does three things for the Brewers. First, it clears an outfield spot for prospects Sal Frelick, Esteury Ruiz, and Joey Wiemer. Ruiz came over in the Josh Hader trade and led the minors with 85 steals in 2022. Frelick, the No. 15 pick in the 2021 draft, and Wiemer both reached Triple-A this year and mashed. The Brewers have to get these three into the lineup soon.
Second, it added pitching depth. The Brewers are excellent at developing pitchers and they're not an offensive powerhouse. They need a steady supply of arms to remain successful and the trade replenished the pipeline.
And third, the trade also freed up a good bit of money. Renfroe was projected to make north of $11 million through arbitration, a hefty sum for the small payroll the Brewers choose to run.
SS Willy Adames
- Projected 2023 salary: $9.2 million
Adames, 27, is the best shortstop the Brewers have had since J.J. Hardy and he is speculated as a potential trade candidate more than his name is legitimately out there as a trade candidate. He is two years away from free agency and getting expensive, plus top shortstop prospect Brice Turang is knocking on the door. Trading Adames would net a significant haul, and the sooner the Brewers trade him, the more they'll get in return.
RHP Corbin Burnes and RHP Brandon Woodruff
- Projected 2023 salaries: $11.4 million for Burnes and $11 million for Woodruff
These two are linked. They have similar projected salaries, both are two years away from free agency, and unless the Brewers up payroll significantly, there is close to zero chance they will sign both to long-term contracts. Woodruff is nearly two years older than Burnes and is more likely to be in Milwaukee's price range. This feels very much like a "keep one and trade the other" situation. Either would fetch a massive package, and because we're talking about pitchers, there is inherent injury risk. The longer the Brewers hang onto them, the more likely they are to suffer a major injury that sabotages their trade value.