Just under a week ago, the Milwaukee Brewers shocked the baseball world by trading Corbin Burnes. Based off of recent reports, it seems that the Crew is not done.
Throughout the winter, Burnes, shortstop Willy Adames and closer Devin Williams all felt like trade targets if the Brewers elected to sell off some assets. Instead, Rhys Hoskins was brought aboard on a two-year deal and trade talks seemed to dissipate.
All of a sudden, Burnes is a Baltimore Oriole and Adames seems to be next up. Such a shift in philosophy is surprising from Milwaukee, especially after the Hoskins signing.
Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Brewers are letting teams know that Adames is available in trade talks. With Joey Ortiz, one of the pieces the Crew received from the Orioles, being a defensive wizard at shortstop, Adames is more expendable than ever.
Adames, 28, will become a free agent at season’s end. His value took a slight hit last year after he posted an OPS+ of 95 and a .217 batting average in 149 games. However, he was an offensive force not too long ago.
Across the past three seasons, Adames has 80 home runs with an OPS+ of 108. In that time, he posted an OPS of .762 and drove in over 250 runs. There are plenty of teams that could use that production in their lineup.
We’re going to take a look around the league and determine which teams that need help the most. Let’s see who the best fits for an Adames trade are.
Which Teams Could Use Willy Adames the Most?
Over in the AL Central, the Guardians are in a division where it feels like any team can finish in first place. Okay, except the White Sox. Last year, Cleveland finished 78-86, good for third, on paper they’re a club destined for a rebound.
As of right now, Bryan Rocchio, Tyler Freeman and Gabriel Arias are projected to get the majority of the playing time at shortstop in 2024. Last year, not one of them finished even close to league-average on offense.
Seems that Adames would be one heck of an upgrade over the current infielders. If Cleveland wants to make another run at the Twins in the AL Central, adding a power-hitting, one-year rental like Adames would be an excellent place to start.
There is perhaps no team in baseball that needs a shortstop more than the Marlins. Jon Berti, Vidal Brujan and Xavier Edwards are current 40-man options to split time at the position. Similarly to the situation over in Cleveland, Adames would be a significant upgrade.
Berti, 34, can bounce around all over the diamond but shortstop is one of his weakest positions. Capable of playing essentially every infield and outfield position, he is best suited as a full blown utility player moving forward.
In a similar vein, neither Brujan or Edwards are strong defensive options at shortstop either.
Edwards comes with a fair bit of upside, so it’s worth wondering if he could be part of the package in a potential Brewers-Marlins trade.
Peter Bendix, the new president of baseball operations in Miami, loves to acquire players he’s familiar with. Both Brujan and Edwards are former Rays prospects. Adames, also a former Rays infielder, fits that mold as well. Familiarity with Adames and his skill-set could play a role in how aggressive the Marlins pursue a deal.
Tampa Bay Rays
Thanks to some severe uncertainty surrounding Wander Franco’s status, the Rays could use a shortstop.
Recently, the club went out and acquired Jose Caballero, who is an outstanding defender at the position. If the offense-happy Rays want to add some thump, Adames, who we’ve already established is an old friend, would be perfect.
Since Caballero has such great defensive chops, there are multiple different ways an Adames trade could alter the Rays’ defensive alignment. Caballero at shortstop, Adames and his outstanding throwing arm at third, Isaac Paredes at DH is one possibility.
There’s a clear avenue for Tampa Bay to balance offense and defense in their infield. If they are serious about overtaking the Orioles in the AL East, there’s no sense in missing out on a top-shelf trade target like Adames.
Toronto Blue Jays
Sticking in the AL East, the Blue Jays could also use a third baseman. Adames has never played the position in the big leagues, but he’s got the range and throwing arm to make the transition with ease.
Bo Bichette is the Blue Jays’ shortstop and even a trade for Adames would not change that. The former took some serious strides on defense last year and is undoubtedly the face of the franchise. With that in mind, Adames would have to play elsewhere.
With Matt Chapman set to depart via free agency, there is a gigantic black hole next to Bichette. As of right now, the Blue Jays have a seemingly endless list of players who could see time at the hot corner next year.
Addison Barger, Orelvis Martinez, Justin Turner, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Davis Schneider, Cavan Biggio, Santiago Espinal. All of them are 40-man options and could conceivably make appearances at the position. Turner will likely be the team’s primary DH, IKF a utilityman and Schneider and Biggio getting the majority of their playing time at second or in the outfield corners.
Ross Atkins and Co. desperately need to make a move. If it’s not bringing aboard a slugger like Cody Bellinger, it could easily be swinging a trade for a power-hitting, slick-fielding infielder like Adames.