(WFRV) – The Milwaukee Brewers held their winter fan fest on Wednesday evening where fans could visit with players and learn key insights and analysis from the Crew before they head to Arizona for 2023 Spring Training.
Coming off a second-half collapse and missing the postseason, fans seemed optimistic about the future of the team and so did the Brewers front office.
Since MLB free agency opened up on Thursday, November 10 – Milwaukee has been quiet in the market. The Crew has only added two major league players, Wade Miley and Brian Anderson, through free agency. General Manager Matt Arnold, nearly three months after taking over the Brewers’ baseball operations, spoke to the media about the trust from ownership financially.
“A lot (of trust)”, said Arnold. “That’s one of the things that Mark (Attanasio) has been great about. He’s been super supportive over the years and that maintains to today as well”.
So if the Brewers ownership group is willing to back the front office in spending money through free agency to acquire players on the market – why has Milwaukee only spent $8 million collectively on two major league players?
“Look – I think we’ve talked about being opportunistic and that’s what it’s about. I mean, you see what the (free agency) market is doing and we have to be patient. That is the reality of our situation here, but we are going to be opportunistic. You’ve seen that we’ve made signings in the past whether it’s a Kolton Wong or a Mike Moustakas or a Yasmani Grandal. We’re going to be opportunistic for that – where those opportunities present themselves and we know that we have the support to do that”, said Arnold.
For manager Craig Counsell – it was a whirlwind of a season last year from leading the NL Central for the majority of the season and losing it to the Cardinals late in the second half. While Milwaukee lost two key contributors on offense this offseason, Kolton Wong and Hunter Renfroe, the manager is focused on fielding the best nine no matter the roster he is given from the front office.
“Every team goes into the winter with different situations. I understand the ‘Just buy players. Just keep buying players’. That’s the strategy everybody kind of wants to take. We’ve got to be smart with it”, said Counsell. “You have to be smart with it. You have to be discipline with it. I think discipline is probably the better word with it. We have to do that. That’s what’s worked in the past and we’ll continue to operate that way.”
As the 2023 season starts to get underway in less than a month at Spring Training facilities, it’s shaping up to be another fight to the finish line in the NL Central. The teams around the Brewers continually got better through trades and free agency. The Brewers pulled off a stunner trade in December meanwhile the Cardinals signed William’s brother, catcher Willson Contreras, to a 5-year, $87.5 million contract. The Cubs went big with signing shortstop Dansby Swanson and picked up a supporting cast within Cody Bellinger, Jameson Tallion, Eric Hosmer, Trey Mancini, and Tucker Barnhart. Despite all of that – the Brewers are confident in their group for the new season.
“We’re excited about the additions that we’ve made and (the NL Central) is going to be tough. We know that and we’re ready to battle with them all year”, said Arnold.