Ahead of Kansas City Royals free agency, let’s take a look at the Milwaukee Brewers’ upcoming free agents and decide whether the team should pursue any.
Welcome to the continuation of our “Kansas City Royals: Making the case” series for free agency. The Milwaukee Brewers are in a completely different stage in their development compared to the hometown Royals. With 2018 MVP Christian Yelich at the helm, in addition to a multitude of other impressive players, Milwaukee has been to the postseason in back-to-back years. With that said, the franchise has eight important free agency decisions to make at the minimum.
Per Spotrac’s official list, there are only seven Brewers with the potential to reach free agency this winter. We’re going to also include an old friend, who has a mutual option for the 2020 season. Who should the Royals pursue? Let’s find out.
In 2017, there weren’t many pitchers better than Anderson. In 2018, there were plenty better than him, but he was still solid. The same rang true this past season. Anderson’s 4.21 ERA was his highest since 2016 and although his home runs allowed decreased from 30 in 2018 to 23 the next season, he simply couldn’t rekindle the fire he once had. Anderson is no slouch, though. Milwaukee has an $8.5 million club option for Anderson heading into 2020 but if he’s let go, perhaps Dayton Moore should bring him in on a one-year deal.
Eric Thames, 1B
Thames burst onto the scene back in 2017 at the age of 30. He’s not quite the same player two years later but with that said, his 2019 was a solid bounce-back year. Hitting for the same average (.247) and a similar SLG (.505 compared to .518) in 2019 as he did two seasons ago, Thames looks a lot better as he approaches his 33rd birthday. Milwaukee’s option for him sits at $7.5 million and there aren’t many other solid options on the market. The team will likely elect to keep him for one more season. If the Kansas City Royals are as devoted to Ryan O’Hearn as many think, they probably won’t look in Thames’ direction.
Mike Moustakas, 3B/2B
Every fan of the Kansas City Royals should know who Moustakas is. He won two pennants with the club (including a World Series in 2015) and was the holder of the club’s home run record until Jorge Soler shattered it this past season. Even at 31 years old, Moustakas is still an All-Star caliber player and may never see the huge payday he once longed for. That plays into the Royals’ favor. The Brewers and Moustakas have a mutual option for $11 million. If that option is declined by either side, you’ll see tons of fans clamoring for a Moustakas reunion. There’s only one obstacle to overcome, though: the current depth chart.
Hunter Dozier has played himself into the future of the club. Adalberto Mondesi is the future of the club. Nicky Lopez struggled in his rookie year but improved down the stretch and is a good candidate to improve in 2020. Moustakas played second base in 2019 but doesn’t quite fit into the picture here. If the Royals can figure that out, he’d be a great signing.
Verdict: Potentially (but honestly, wouldn’t we all love to see Moose back in KC?)
Matt Albers, P
Albers hasn’t been good in two years and will be 37 years old by the time spring training rolls around. The Royals are probably fine here.
Jordan Lyles, P
Lyles is an interesting case. He was bad for the first seven years of his career. Amid some team shuffling, he has been respectable for the past two seasons. Splitting time with Pittsburgh and Milwaukee last season, Lyles performed a lot better at his second stop. Posting a 2.45 ERA in 11 starts, the 29-year-old righty picked a perfect time to improve. He may be worth signing to a one- or two-year contract but outside of that, Lyles’ track record just isn’t reliable enough for him to be a definite “pursue” candidate.
Gio Gonzalez, P
It feels like Gonzalez has been around forever. Now 34 years old, the left-hander is coming off an 87.1-inning season with Milwaukee. Posting an ERA of 3.50 and a 127 ERA+, he showed he’s still got something left in the tank as a starter. He’s no longer the powerhouse he once was and if Moore wants to sign him for a season and potentially trade him ala Homer Bailey, fine. Other than that, the Kansas City Royals should proceed with caution.
Verdict: Pass (unless Moore wants to roll the dice)
Manny Pina, C
A former Royal in his own right, Pina has played in 281 games with Milwaukee over the past three seasons. His numbers aren’t very impressive and have slowly declined during that span, though. At 32 years old, he’s a very low-end starter or an elite backup catcher. Should the Royals feel obligated to secure a great backup plan for Salvador Perez, that’s more than okay. Something tells me they’ll stick with what they have in-house, though.
It wasn’t too long ago that Pomeranz was one of the better starting pitchers in baseball. After an abysmal 2018 season and a rough start to 2019, the lefty joined Milwaukee and turned things around. In 25 appearances (1 start) with the club, Pomeranz’s ERA (2.39) and WHIP (.911) were both outstanding. Perhaps coming out of the bullpen full-time was all he needed? If that’s the case, look for Dayton Moore to take a flyer on the 30-year-old.
Miller hasn’t been good in quite some time and although he just recently turned 29 years old, the Kansas City Royals can pass on him.