Chicago's Lineup Will Look Different, But Not As Much As Milwaukee's
Moustakas Is Just One Of The Brewers Who Have Moved On
While many moves have been made over the winter months, one baseball team will be almost unrecognizable from last year. It is not, however, the club featured in an article on that topic from a popular sports website.
"All told, you have a team that’s barely recognizable from the 2019 squad, which is very much a good thing and a welcome change from the last decade plus of futility," said a column from sbnation.com. "This team will be remarkably better than last season, with the upside to potentially compete for a wild card spot."
The subject of the piece is the Chicago White Sox but, other than the reference to recent futility, it could very well be attributed to a team that plays just a few hours from the Windy City.
The White Sox have made significant changes, which figure to greatly improve their chances to reach the postseason. They signed coveted free agent Yasmani Grandal, who will be an upgrade over catcher James McCann.
Along with Grandal, Chicago also signed slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who has hit more home runs over the past six seasons than any other player.Double E will be provide a huge bump in production over last year's designated hitters, a position that netted only a collective .197 batting average and a mere sixteen home runs.
Another reason for optimism in Chicago is the addition to its starting rotation, already anchored by Cy Young candidate Lucas Giolito. After signing free agent left hander Dallas Kuechel to a free agent contract, the White Sox now have an actual Cy Young Award winner.
Still, in spite of what is implied in the sbnation.com article, the White Sox will not be the most unrecognizable team this spring. That distinction belongs to the Milwaukee Brewers, who lost half of its everyday lineup.
Grandal, as mentioned before, made the All-Star team as the Brewer catcher last year. His replacement is 2019 Seattle catcher Omar Navarez, who spent the first three years of his career with the White Sox.
Another former South Sider, Avasail Garcia, takes over in right at Miller Park. New third baseman Eric Sogard is slated to replace Mike Moustakas, who signed a free agent contract with the Cincinnati Reds.
Moustakas had also played a lot of second base last year, a position that will now be manned on a full time basis by Keston Hiura. To his right will be someone other than 2019 regular Eric Thames, who has been succeeded by former outfielder Ryan Braun.
As if new faces at three infield spots and in bright field were not enough, the Brewers have also a much different pitching staff. Former All-Star left hander Brett Anderson comes over from the Oakland Athletics, expecting to fill one of the spots of departed starters Zach Davies and Chase Anderson.
Milwaukee will definitely look much different from the teams that have reached the postseason the last two years, which may not be good news for fans of the Brewers. The White Sox have not changed quite as much, but they should be a much improved unit in 2020.