As they cling to a small lead atop the NL Central, the time has come to start looking at the Brewers’ trade targets for 2022. Milwaukee figures to be in a tight race with the Cardinals for the rest of the season, and yet, having a Wild Card spot to fall back on isn’t a guarantee.
That has created plenty of Brewers trade rumors and speculation ahead of the trade deadline.
Brewers trade targets 2022
But what are the Brewers’ trade ideas before the deadline? Are they going to go after the best players available?
More importantly, who are the Brewers’ trade targets in 2022?
To answer some of these questions, let’s take a closer look at some of the Brewers’ trade deadline needs and what players they could target to fill those needs before the MLB trade deadline.
By hook or by crook, the Brewers’ trade targets in 2022 should revolve around getting the most impact offensively. Naturally, the focus should be on the DH position. Andrew McCutchen has logged the most at-bats in that spot this season, although his OPS is barely over .700, so he doesn’t necessarily fit the ideal DH profile, even if the Brewers would prefer to limit his time in the field at age 35.
That makes the DH spot the best place where the Brewers can upgrade their offense, even if it reduces McCutchen’s role moving forward.
Ironically, another older player like Nelson Cruz might be the best fit for that role. Cruz has plenty of experience playing in a pennant race and in the postseason and would add some much-needed power to Milwaukee’s lineup.
The Yankees also have two established hitters in Miguel Andujar and Joey Gallo who might fit Milwaukee’s needs. Of course, Gallo hasn’t had his best season while Andujar has spent most of 2022 in the minors. But either might be worth taking a chance on to see if a change of scenery helps.
After parting ways with Lorenzo Cain earlier this season, center field remains an area of need for the Brewers. Tyrone Taylor and Jonathan Davis have shared time in center field since Cain was dropped but neither has made enough of an impact offensively. Taylor was rocking a .700 OPS before going on the concussion IL on July 3 while Davis hasn’t offered much and is hitting under .200 in his big league career.
While both have been reliable defensively, the Brewers might need to look for more offense from that position, especially if they don’t bring in a full-time DH.
The good news for Milwaukee is that there are some viable candidates to fill the center field void. While Ian Happ has never been a full-time center fielder in the majors, he’s an all-star who the Cubs might be willing to part with for the right price. Adding Happ’s bat might be worth a slight drop in defensive prowess in center field.
Oakland’s Ramon Laureano could also be on the trade block, offering excellent defense and a more reliable hitter than Milwaukee’s current center field options. Finally, if the Brewers were comfortable moving Christian Yelich to center field, Andrew Benintendi and David Peralta could be options.
Benintendi is arguably the best hitter who is likely to be traded before the deadline while Peralta is a veteran hitter with power and a good track record, so that route might be worth exploring.
Second Baseman/Third Baseman
One more position where the Brewers could try to upgrade their offense is at second base. Kolten Wong is not having his best season, and while it’d be hard to bench him, the Brewers need to find additional offense somewhere. Another option would be to play Luis Urias or Jace Peterson at second base more regularly and then find a third baseman on the market.
Either way, the Brew Crew needs to find an offensive boost and those infield positions offer options to find an upgrade.
As mentioned, Andujar is a player who could be on Milwaukee’s radar. He will surely be a downgrade defensively, although the Brewers need more thump offensively and could take him out late in games. Brandon Drury of the Reds is having a great season and is capable of playing either second base or third base, adding to Milwaukee’s versatility while providing power.
Back End Starter
For the record, starting pitching isn’t a high priority for the Brewers; they need to be focused primarily on scoring more runs. However, while the team’s pitching has been Milwaukee’s biggest strength in recent years, the Brewers aren’t showcasing the high-end rotation they have had in recent years.
The Brewers have also been hit by a couple of injuries to their rotation, so adding some help on the back end may not be a bad idea. In such a tight race with the Cardinals, they would prefer to have veteran depth rather than risk relying on youngsters like Aaron Ashby or Jason Alexander in September.
Odds are, the Brewers aren’t going to be serious candidates for Luis Castillo or Frankie Montas. However, Jose Quintana has emerged as a viable trade candidate who would help to stabilize the back end of Milwaukee’s rotation.
Colorado’s Chad Kuhl also falls into that category, giving the Brewers a reliable veteran. One final name to watch is Madison Bumgarner, who is under contract beyond this year and would force the Brewers to take on some money. But he also brings a lot of postseason experience to the table.