The Moose is Loose…in Milwaukee

Last night the Brewers and Royals agreed to a deal that would send 3rd baseman Mike Moustakas to Milwaukee in exchange for Brett Phillips and Jorge Lopez.  Moose is 29 years old and currently has a triple slash of .249/.309/.468 with 20 home runs and a wRC+ of 107.  While the Brewers were in need of either a second baseman or starting pitcher, adding a power left handed bat is beneficial.  While playing in pitcher friendly Kaufmann Stadium he hit over 20 home runs in four seasons and hit 38 home runs last season.  With that kind of power in one of MLB’s best pitcher’s park, it will translate well for the Brewers when he now will play in one of the best hitters park, Miller Park.  The plan for the Brewers is to move Travis Shaw over to second base where he has been taking ground balls recently but has never actually played to position.  Seems like a risky move considering how important good defense is in a middle infield position.  The Brewers will be hoping that increase in offense output will make up for the loss in defense.

The Brewers gave up promising top prospect Brett Phillips and RHP Jorge Lopez.  Phillips has a plus plus arm out in the outfield.  In 2017 he played 37 games in the majors while he accumulated a 104 wRC+ while adding elite defense in the outfield.  Given his defense he was good for a WAR of 1.1 in those few games.  Questions about his hitting still arise given his high strikeout rate and low walk rate.  Lopez is a 25 year old RHP who was the Brewer’s 2nd round selection in 2011.  He has a 60 grade fastball and a developing curveball.  In 19.2 MLB IP this season he has a 2.75 ERA but a 4.28 FIP.  Throughout his minor league career he continues to show low strikeout numbers and high walk numbers which does not bode well for relief pitchers.

This is a good deal for both sides.  Phillips will be a building block for the Royals in their rebuild and will join Jorge Soler in a potent future outfield.  The Royals received a great value for Moose who they signed to a cheap one year deal in the off-season.  The Brewers on the other hand receive a powerful left handed bat who is going from a pitchers park to a hitters park.  The risk is if the offensive gain will make up for the potential down grade in middle infield defense.

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