Dodgers, giants interested in Kolten Wong

The Dodgers and Giants are among teams exploring the possibility of a trade for Brewers second baseman Kolten Wong, reports Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. The Mariners are also known to have checked in as part of their search for a left-hander to beat the second baseman.

Wong is one of the more likely trade candidates of the winter. Milwaukee has a loaded arbitration class that has prompted them to explore ways to alleviate a pay crunch. The Brewers did without helpers Brent Suter, whom they apparently didn’t want to offer a contract with an expected salary of $3.1 million. Milwaukee offered a contract as a corner outfielder Hunter Renfroebut they subsequently sold him to the Angels for a trio of pitchers and knocked a projected salary of $11.2 million off the books.

It seems they are planning a similar strategy with Wong. The Brewers opened the offseason with a decision over the 32-year-old infielder as his free-agent deal included a $10 million club option or a $2 million buyout. Milwaukee exercised the option, but Rosenthal writes that the Brewers are likely to take action against Wong sometime this offseason.

Wong comes from an atypical season. A two-time Gold Glove winner, he was one of the sport’s top defensive second basemen throughout his career. His track record on the record has been more mixed, but he paired arguably his best offensive season and worst performance with the glove in 2022. Wong hit 15 homers and laid a .251/.339/.430 line through 497 plates on appearances, numbers that are 16 percentage points above the league average, according to wRC+. However, Statcast called him the worst defensive second baseman of the game, estimating that he was seven runs short of average. Wong committed 17 errors, tied a career high, and had career-worst speed metrics. At his age, Wong’s best days as a defender might be behind him, although it’s worth noting that he didn’t appear entirely healthy either. He lost a couple of weeks in June to a right calf strain and admitted after the season he played through leg injuries (via Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).

The Brewers won’t move Wong solely for salary relief. Had they been completely intent on cutting costs, they could have turned down his option (or put him on waivers in hopes that another team would claim him and unhook them for the buyout). Milwaukee hasn’t, but as with Renfroe, they don’t seem motivated to keep Wong at his current salary. Rather, they seem to have determined that it has commercial value at that $10M price point and want to capitalize on it while adding additional payroll flexibility.

If they move Wong, the Brewers could hand second base to the former first-round pick Brice Turang. Wong himself suggested after the season that Turang’s presence might inspire Milwaukee to let him go as the young hitter has had a strong season for Triple-A Nashville. Turang, a left-hander, comes in at .286/.360/.412 from 131 games for the sounds. Potential reviewers rate him highly as a defender, and he is now on the 40-man list after being added to keep him out of the Rule 5 draft.

The Dodgers and Giants each have a lot of buying power. Both clubs are sure to strike at top-flight free agents, but Wong represents a solid throwback as each looks to build their infield. Los Angeles has seen Trea Turner hit free agency while turning down a team option Justin Turner. They’re potential contenders for one of this winter’s top four free agent shortstops – Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson, Xander Bogaerts and Carlo Correa — but Rosenthal suggests they could pursue a top free agent and a wong trade.

The thinking in this scenario would be to rely on Wong and an open market acquisition in the middle while flipping third base Gavin Lux. Lux only played six MLB innings at third base and spent most of his time in the middle infield. Defensive runs Saved and Statcast loved his work at second base but were mixed on his shortstop defense. Statcast ranked Lux ​​155th out of 163 qualified infielders in arm strength this year, meaning he would likely be stretched in the hot corner. Los Angeles also has a top third base prospect, Miguel Vargaready for a big league look after a .304/.404/.511 show in triple-A.

San Francisco already has an option for lefties hitting second base Tommy LaStella. He’s on a $11.5 million contract in the final season of a three-year free-agent deal that didn’t work out as hoped. Possessing a .245/.297/.380 line as a Giant, La Stella appears to be jeopardizing his path to everyday reps. The Giants could also explore the top of the shortstop market, perhaps with a goal of delaying any takeover out of deference to second base Brandon Crawford. They have been prominently mentioned as the Yankees’ greatest rival Aaron Richterand landing a big-ticket shortstop would likely have gone off the radar if their pursuit of Judge proves fruitful.

While the Brewers have been open to talks about Renfroe and Wong, there’s no indication they’re planning any major roster cuts. Hearing offers about quality roleplayers with escalating price tags is par for the course for a Milwaukee franchise consistently working to thread the needle to stay competitive with mid-tier payrolls. treat someone like Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff or Willy Adames would be a far more impactful subtraction from the MLB roster, and it doesn’t appear that GM Matt Arnold and his front office are keen on making such a move.

Rosenthal unsurprisingly writes that the Brewers are keenly interested in Burnes, Woodruff and Adames, but suggests they’re more likely to keep those players in the season and reassess their standings near the close. All three players have two seasons left of arbitration control and while it’s likely that at least one member of that group will be treated at some point, there’s no pressing concern for the Brewers about doing so this offseason.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *