After a largely successful 2011 season in which numerous franchise records were rewritten, Milwaukee Brewers GM Doug Melvin finds himself in a bit of a predicament heading into the offseason.
First baseman and MVP candidate Prince Fielder is now set to become an unrestricted free agent this winter, leaving open the possibility of a whole new offensive outlook for the Brewers in 2012.
Many rumors suggest that Milwaukee will use their additional payroll to upgrade their bullpen. However, there are a number of issues hampering Milwaukee moving forward.
The Brewers are likely to upgrade the left side of the infield via free-agency this winter, particularly at shortstop. The club currently holds a $6 Million 2012 club option on shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt with a $2 Million buyout.
Melvin said Betancourt was "a better player than what his critics said" earlier this month, but there's simply no disputing his horrendous .965 FPCT, which came via 21 errors in 2011.
With such a need for an upgrade at shortstop, could the Brewers actually go after a big name free agent this offseason to shore things up?
Earlier this month, Milwaukee Brewers superstar left fielder and MVP candidate Ryan Braun disclosed his admiration for New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes.
"I think there's a better chance we sign [Reyes] than we re-sign Prince," Braun told New York Post yesterday, referring to slugging first baseman Prince Fielder.
Reyes, who managed to hold off Braun for the NL batting title by mere decimal points, is, like Fielder, set to become an unrestricted free-agent this winter. The speedy shortstop amassed 7 HR, 44 RBI, 101 R and 39 stolen bases, much to the enjoyment of Braun.
"[Reyes] is dynamic, man—he is one of the most exciting players in the game," Braun said. "He plays with a lot of energy and a lot of emotion and I enjoy watching him play. He's one of my favorite players to watch. Whenever their games are on, I love watching him, man. He always plays the game the right way. He always plays hard. He runs everything out."
According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, both Melvin and owner Mark Attanasio will meet in early November on what they plan to offer Fielder in the offseason.
If the two sides aren't able to come to an agreement early in the offseason, it may not be out of the question to suggest that Melvin could go after Reyes.
For now, though, we'll just have to wait and see.
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