Adding Quality Bats to Detroit's Lineup is the Tigers' Top Priority this Off-Season. Trading for Milwaukee's Luis Urias Could Help.
The Detroit Tigers missed out on an opportunity to acquire a solid bat when Milwaukee traded outfielder Hunter Renfroe to San Francisco. But the chance to make a deal with the Brewers may not be completely gone.
The Tigers would be smart to target Milwaukee’s Luis Urias in a trade. With Jeimer Candelario DFA’d, Detroit has a gaping hole in its infield. Adding Urias, who started more than 100 games at third base, second base and shortstop, would provide flexibility and a productive bat.
President of Baseball Operations Scott Harris has said he wants a lefty hitting infielder to help fill the void. Urias bats right-handed but also packs a solid punch at the plate that should help Harris put his desire on the back burner.
After smacking 23 home runs for the Brewers in 2021, Urias followed up with 16 bombs in a reserve role last season. He added 47 RBI, and 54 runs in 406 at bats. Urias amassed a WAR of 3.1.
Urias started 54 games at third base last season, the most of any of his three positions. Milwaukee’s regular third baseman, Jace Peterson, is a free agent, meaning the Brewers are probably penciling him to start at the hot corner.
Given Urias age, 25, and three remaining years of control, trading for him will not be cheap. But it’s no secret Milwaukee needs help in its bullpen.
The Brewers traded closer Josh Hader to San Diego mid-season in 2022. Devin Williams took over and posted 15 saves with a 1.93 ERA.
Milwaukee finished second to St. Louis in the NL Central, seven games behind. But the Brewers were edged by Philadelphia for wildcard berth by a single game. They’ll need additional bullpen help to get over the hump.
Harris could offer Milwaukee its choice of Gregory Soto or Joe Jimenez as the centerpiece of a deal. To get it done, he would also have to sweeten the deal with at least one top prospect. Jace Jung or Wilmer Flores may fit in that role with a secondary prospect like Dillon Dingler or Parker Meadows also heading to the Brewers.
Defensively, Urias’ best position is second base. According to Baseball Savant, Urias graded as four outs above average at second while his numbers at third base and shortstop were both negative.
Slotting Urias at second base would still leave a hole at third for Detroit. Jonathan Schoop, Ryan Kreidler or a modest free agent signing could plug the hole until top prospect Colt Keith is ready to take over, most likely in 2024.