MILWAUKEE – Kolten Wong is leaving St. Louis behind however staying within the NL Central because the Milwaukee Brewers reshape the proper facet of their infield by including a Gold Glove second baseman
Wong and the Brewers finalized their $18 million, two-year contract on Friday, a deal that features a 2022 membership possibility.
Milwaukee is making room for Wong of their infield by shifting Keston Hiura from second base to first base.
St. Louis had declined a $12.5 million 2021 possibility for Wong in December, making him eligible free of charge company.
“It took me a bit bit to sort of get my head round the entire thing,” Wong mentioned. “Clearly being a Cardinal for so long as I’ve been, there’s quite a lot of reminiscences, there’s quite a lot of good issues I created there. But additionally seeing from throughout (the sector) how the Brewers play, how they go about their enterprise and the kind of staff that is, it simply suits my mould very well. It’s a grinding staff, a staff that simply goes on the market and competes each single day.”
Wong has earned Gold Glove honors every of the final two seasons. Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns known as Wong “in our opinion, the perfect defensive second baseman in all of baseball.”
The 30-year-old owns a profession .261 batting common with a .333 on-base proportion. Wong batted .265 with a .350 on-base proportion, one homer and 16 RBIs in 53 video games final season.
He has historically hit effectively in Milwaukee. Wong’s profession statistics at American Household Subject, previously often called Miller Park, embody a .308 batting common, .373 on-base proportion and .482 slugging proportion in 57 video games.
“That was sort of a giant purpose for me coming to Milwaukee,” Wong mentioned. “I simply knew that that was a subject the place I actually noticed the ball effectively at. I felt comfy taking part in there. I’ve quite a lot of confidence taking part in in that subject.”
Wong mentioned he was considerably stunned the Brewers confirmed curiosity in him as a result of they already had the 24-year-old Hiura, who batted simply .212 and had an NL-leading 85 final season however hit .303 and posted a .938 OPS as a rookie in 2019.
However the Brewers consider Hiura can thrive at first base. Brewers supervisor Craig Counsell had mentioned the potential for giving Hiura some taking part in time at first base late final season, although it by no means truly occurred.
“We consider he can do that,” Stearns mentioned. “He’s going to have distinctive vary for a primary baseman. And look, there are finer factors of the place that can take time to regulate. We perceive that there are going to be errors. That’s OK. However Keston goes to develop by means of it, and in the end we’re very assured that he’s going to have the ability to determine it out.”
Stearns believes the Brewers will improve their total protection by shifting Hiura to first base and placing Wong at second whereas having 2019 Gold Glove-winning middle Lorenzo Cain for a full season. Cain opted out after taking part in simply 5 video games final season.
“I do know quite a lot of consideration has been understandably positioned on the offensive facet of the ball, however one fixed round a number of the higher groups in baseball is admittedly strong, constant protection,” Stearns mentioned. “Once we’ve had our most profitable seasons right here, we’ve had superb defensive groups and that’s one thing that could be a focus of ours. It’s one thing we expect we will and will accomplish, and this transfer permits us to maneuver in that path.”
Milwaukee won’t be finished including to its infield.
The Brewers don’t have a clear-cut beginning third baseman. Newly acquired utilityman Daniel Robertson has 81 video games of major-league expertise at that place. Luis Urias has performed 31 video games at third, although he has extra expertise at second base and shortstop.
“If that is our staff, we do suppose we will fill that place,” Stearns mentioned. “We now have guys who can take it and run with it. We’re additionally exploring exterior acquisitions. I don’t know whether or not we’ll get something over the end line there, however we’re exploring it.”
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