Posted on July 28, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Milwaukee Brewers have added an impact bat for the stretch run. Late Friday night, the Brew Crew completed a trade with the Kansas City Royals for third baseman Mike Moustakas. In exchange, the Royals have received outfield prospect Brett Phillips and reliever Jorge Lopez.
“We were looking for another big bat to add to the lineup and we got it,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of the trade. “We feel like we can put together a really tough lineup on a daily basis now.”
Moustakas has seen his numbers dip slightly from last season. But he’s still putting together a solid campaign, hitting .249 with an OPS of .778. Moustakas is also fresh off his second all-star appearance and should be properly motivated now that he’s on a contending team. The Brewers believe his left-handed power bat will play well at Miller Park.
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The acquisition of Moustakas will mean Travis Shaw shifting from third base to second base. The Brewers have struggled to find production from their middle infield this season. Moving Shaw to second base helps to solve that problem. Having Moustakas will make it easier for the Brewers to live with whatever offense they get from Orlando Arcia at shortstop. Tyler Saladino has also provided steady production at shortstop, although he’s not as strong defensively as Arcia.
“I feel like I can do a decent job over there,” Shaw said of the move to second base. “It’s obviously going to make our lineup better, it’s going to make our lineup deeper. Moustakas is a good player. He’s won a World Series. He’s a middle-of-the-order type of guy. He’s going to extend our lineup.”
Shaw has never played a game at second base in either the majors or minors. However, with the way the Brewers shift, Shaw has ended up playing all over the infield. That experience should help mitigate any concerns about Shaw moving defensive positions.
The Brewers are currently middle of the pack in the National League in runs scored. However, they have the makings of a formidable lineup, especially from the left side. In addition to Shaw and Moustakas, the Brewers also feature Christian Yelich and Eric Thames. They also have Lorenzo Cain and Jesus Aguilar providing balance from the right side. If that group can stay healthy, Milwaukee’s lineup could be one of the best in baseball over the next couple of months.
The Royals, meanwhile, made out well from this trade as well. Phillips is also but ready to be an everyday player in the big leagues. Of course, he’s blocked by Milwaukee’s deep outfield. But he could step in right away as Kansas City’s center fielder. Phillips has a chance to be special defensively and should be a capable big league hitter with some power. Lopez has shuffled between triple-A and the majors this season. But he has a chance to be a helpful big league reliever. Both Phillips and Lopez are nice pickups for the rebuilding Royals.
Of course, this trade is all about the Brewers getting to the playoffs. They begin Saturday trailing the Cubs by just a game and a half in the NL Central. One could argue starting pitching is more of a need for the Brewers. This trade also figures to hurt them defensively. However, adding Moustakas gives them a lineup that on paper looks quite potent and could be enough to power Milwaukee to the top of the NL Central.