MLB Hot Stove: Brewers sign free agent Lorenzo Cain following Yelich trade

The baseball world was treated with some fun news on Thursday night in the form of a trade that sent Christian Yelich from the Marlins to the Brewers. Such a big move would likely be the signature move of the offseason for a smaller-market club like the Brewers. Before the proverbial dust even settled, they went out and signed free agent center fielder Lorenzo Cain for five years and $80 million, per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com

Well now. That's major. Cain, 31, hit .300/.363/.440 (112 OPS+) last season while producing 5.3 WAR, which is above All-Star level. 

Grabbing Cain means either Cain or Yelich are moving to right field and pushing Domingo Santana into a part-time role, possibly shuttling between the infield and outfield. Keep in mind, the need for a left fielder arises often for the Brewers. Since 2012, here's Ryan Braun's games started by season: 59, 134, 132, 130 and 99. That includes 12 total at DH. 

Basically, Brewers manager Craig Counsell will have great options and still be able to find adequate playing time for Santana while being able to rest outfielders and first baseman Eric Thames when needed. 

When the Brewers play in AL parks and have the DH, the lineup could be something like this: 

  1. Christian Yelich, RF
  2. Lorenzo Cain, CF
  3. Ryan Braun, LF
  4. Travis Shaw, 3B
  5. Domingo Santana, DH
  6. Eric Thames, 1B
  7. Stephen Vogt, C
  8. Orlando Arcia, SS
  9. Jonathan Villar, 2B

That's very good, and they'd still have a strong bench as well. 

It's worth mentioning here that the Brewers have been reportedly involved in talks with starting pitchers Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb at different points through the offseason as well. 

Brewers general manager David Stearns isn't messing around. He's pushing for a huge offseason after a surprisingly good 2017. 

As for the free agent market, we might have some real optimism now that things get moving. The previous high contract of the offseason was three years and $38 million (Tyler Chatwood to Cubs). There are still lots of big-name free agents out there and spring training is only a few weeks away. 

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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