Kolten Wong Joins Brewers on $18M Two-Year Deal
Brewers GM David Stearns runs his team like a college kid, which is to say he loves loading up on keystones. It seems Milwaukee’s roster is always replete with guys who can play second base, and that is definitely the case again for 2021 as they have just added potential Cubs target Kolten Wong with a two-year deal worth at least $18 million. There’s a third-year option at $8 million, likely with a buyout that will defer some of the guaranteed money beyond 2022.
The 30-year-old Wong became a free agent when the Cardinals declined his $12.5 million option and had been projected to land something just a little shy of what he ended up getting. He looked like a great fit for the Cubs because of his high-contact lefty bat and excellent glove, but Jed Hoyer almost certainly wasn’t willing or able to go for that second year on a deal. Even the $9 million AAV may have been too much.
That’s perhaps mildly surprising even in light of the Cubs’ obvious austerity, if only because signing lefty reliever Andrew Chafin for $2.75 million seemed to indicate a desire to spend further. What I mean is that Chafin was something of an overpay for a role that shouldn’t have been a priority, so not adding more beyond him would make his deal seem even more curious.
The other possibility is that Hoyer only had $3 million or so left from the surplus Tom Ricketts freed up last week, so he spent almost all of it on one pitcher because there wouldn’t have been enough left either way. That’s probably not the case and I think we can safely say Chafin didn’t prevent the Cubs from pursuing Wong.
It’s feeling more and more as though Nico Hoerner is going to be given the reins at second, which I don’t really think is the best idea. Maybe Jason Kipnis is brought back for a little platoon help or Hoerner could be more of a super-sub with David Bote getting regular time at second. Those just feel like moves make by a team with limited options, not one trying to compete.
As if you needed me to remind you about what the Cubs are doing here. Then again, their recent agreements bear at least passing resemblance to an attempt at winning. Either that or Hoyer is eyeing July 31 and hoping these one-year deals turn into deadline flips. Contrary to what he said during the press conference following the Yu Darvish/Victor Caratini trade, such moves do closely follow the playbook from the Cubs’ first rebuild.
But who knows, maybe Hoyer has something up his sleeve that will leave us all even more shocked than we were when we found out the Cubs had signed Joc Pederson.