The Milwaukee Brewers are lying in wait for a second baseman to fall cheaply into their laps. Could they turn to former Miami Marlin Derek Dietrich?
We thought Daniel Murphy could be a Milwaukee Brewers target. He went off the board. We thought Ian Kinsler would make sense. He went to San Diego. Brian Dozier would have been a good choice. Nope. We thought Jed Lowrie would be of interest. He’s now gone. DJ LeMahieu started to make sense. Now he’s off the board.
GM David Stearns said they could be patient with the second base market, and he did not mislead us. Most of the teams that needed a second baseman have now found one, and most of the top targets are now off the board. The top remaining are: Marwin Gonzalez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Josh Harrison, and Derek Dietrich.
Until now, almost no one has even thought of Dietrich as an option for the Milwaukee Brewers. But given the remaining options, he wouldn’t be a bad one to pursue.
Last season, Dietrich, 29, posted a .265/.330/.421 slash line with 26 doubles, 16 homers, and a 112 OPS+. Those are pretty respectable numbers for a player who moved all over the diamond. It’s nothing that stands out or makes him a star, but that’s good production.
Dietrich put up those numbers in pitcher-friendly Marlins Park. A move to hitter-friendly Miller Park could help boost those numbers a little bit. To make things more interesting, Dietrich is a left-handed hitter, and we know how Miller Park helps lefties out.
Those 16 homers for him in 2018 were a career high. As many may remember, Christian Yelich‘s career high in home runs before last season was 21, and he spent all that time in Marlins Park. While Yelich’s near-doubling of his career high likely wouldn’t be repeated by Dietrich should he come to Milwaukee, he would likely see some kind of boost.
Reasons To Sign Dietrich
Dietrich is a versatile defender, playing all over the diamond, and could be considered a super-utility player. However, he’s spent most of his time at second base. He doesn’t grade out as a particularly great defender with a -19 DRS, but with the amount of shifting the Milwaukee Brewers do, that issue can be hidden pretty easily.
A left handed hitter, Dietrich should see his stats improve at Miller Park, and he’s proven to be at least league-average to slightly above average as a hitter over the first six seasons of his career.
The Brewers reportedly had interest in acquiring Dietrich last July to fix their second base problem, so we know that they already like him enough as a player to show interest in trading for him.
Dietrich would be an upgrade over the current tandem at second base of Hernan Perez and Cory Spangenberg. Dietrich’s career .757 OPS is higher than both Perez’s (.672) and Spangenberg’s (.709) by significant margins. He’d represent a better lefty platoon option than Spangenberg while providing the same versatility he does.
He certainly wouldn’t cost much to sign. Dietrich was designated for assignment by the Marlins this offseason and became a free agent after clearing waivers.
If David Stearns is looking for a bargain on the free agent market, Dietrich could be it. His profile looks like it would fit Miller Park extremely well and he could end up being the steal of the winter for Stearns. If not, he wouldn’t stand in the way of playing time for a Mauricio Dubon or Keston Hiura. And he’s versatile enough that he wouldn’t be completely useless if he’s not at second base.
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The Milwaukee Brewers could look to Dietrich to fill the hole at second base. He wouldn’t be a flashy signing or a big money contract, but I think he would do well in Milwaukee.