It remains to be seen how manager Tony La Russa will actually choose to replace Albert Pujols in the lineup, but he’ll at least have the option of using Mark Hamilton after the Cardinals called the 26-year-old first baseman up from Triple-A today.
Hamilton has struggled previously in a couple brief stints with the Cardinals, but was hitting .385 with more walks (23) than strikeouts (14) in 27 games at Triple-A after batting .298 with 18 homers and a .974 OPS in 72 games there last season.
He’s old for a prospect and doesn’t project as a star, but Hamilton is a solid left-handed bat with some power and plate discipline. He can’t replace Pujols, but if La Russa uses Hamilton as a platoon starter versus primarily right-handed pitchers he can be productive for the next six weeks.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Brewers may be interested in Jake Arrieta.
The Brewers could definitely use a front line starter, especially with Jimmy Nelson slated to miss a good chunk of next season due to a rotator cuff injury. Arrieta will be expensive, obviously, but the Brewers have a lot more payroll flexibility than most teams, with only minimal money due on long term contracts. Most of that is for Ryan Braun, but even the outlay for him is reasonable, with deferred money involved. Tom Haudricourt of the Journal-Sentinel laid all of that out back in October.
Milwaukee had a surprisingly good 2017 and they have the ability to add in free agency or to take on salary in trades if they want to. Maybe they don’t get Arrieta but they could make a splash this offseason.