As funny as it sounds, one thing the Milwaukee Brewers are looking for this offseason is roadblocks.
More specifically, players who are on major-league rosters or on the verge of being called up who are blocked by an established veteran at their position or potential alternate positions.
Take Jarrod Dyson of the Kansas City Royals. Dyson has had key roles in each of the last two postseasons for the Royals, but primarily as a pinch-runner. But Dyson is entering his age-31 season and is arbitration-eligible for the second time.
With the Brewers needing a stopgap solution to patrol center field until Brett Phillips likely arrives for full-time duty to begin 2017, Dyson makes perfect sense. First, he is cheap talent, slated to make $1.7 million in 2016, according to arbitration projections by MLBTradeRumors.com. Dyson is also in a logjam in the Royals outfield, regardless of whether free-agent left fielder Alex Gordon returns, which is likely. Lorenzo Cain is established in center field and Paulo Orlando appears set to replace free agent Alex Rios in right. Prospect Jose Martinez could also be in the mix after winning the Pacific Coast League batting title at .384, not to mention speedster Terrance Gore, who might have to be kept on the big-league roster next spring due to already burning an option or two.
All are seemingly more attractive than the left-handed-hitting Dyson due to Dyson’s age and the fact he hasn’t hit that well (.255 career average) and only really a base-stealing threat. So why should the Brewers go after Dyson? They would have control over him for the next two seasons and be a veteran who can help Phillips’ transition to the majors whenever that happens. Dyson also excels defensively, a point of emphasis as new general manager David Stearns reshapes the Brewers’ roster. Dyson also can play all three outfield positions and should be a cheap acquisition due to the Royals’ plethora of outfield candidates for one, maybe two jobs. Any move with Dyson, though, may wait until Gordon signs with the Royals or elsewhere as he becomes more valuable to Kansas City should Gordon leave.
Another guy who is roadblocked is Joey Gallo, a power-hitting third baseman in the Texas Rangers system. Gallo is a one-trick pony with his tremendous power, hitting six homers in 36 games during an emergency midseason cameo. He also struck out 57 times in 123 plate appearances, showing he might need a little more seasoning. Gallo is stuck behind veteran Adrian Beltre, who likely has another couple seasons left in him. Shifting over to first base seems questionable as the Rangers used Mitch Moreland there this season and relegated Prince Fielder to being the designated hitter. Gallo played left field during his call-up, but that was because of injuries to corner outfielders Josh Hamilton and Shin-Soo Choo, both of whom are expected to be back in 2016. It could be a push to make Gallo your starting third baseman to open next season, considering his hit .195 at Triple-A following his call-up from Double-A.
I’m not saying Stearns should go out and get Dyson and/or Gallo, they are just the types of players Stearns will be shopping for — at positions of need for the Brewers — as he starts to establish a young, controllable core of players to build a winner. Sure, there are a few free-agent options who could help out the Brewers, but the early steps of the foundation can often be the most important and Stearns will want to stay true to his blueprint.