Shaw at 2B? Move would pave way for deals

July 3rd, 2018

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers second baseman? It's not totally out of the question.
Whether Milwaukee is simply expanding a player's repertoire as part of a bigger plan was an open-ended question after Ken Rosenthal reported for The Athletic that Shaw did early work with coaches at second base during the Brewers' last homestand. Shaw said he took grounders and worked on turning double plays during Milwaukee's June 21-24 series against the Cardinals.
"They asked if I would be open to playing second if that situation presents itself," said Shaw. "I don't know if it's going to present itself or not, but it's been mentioned earlier this year, too.
"I actually feel OK over there. The range would be what it is, but if it happens, I'll be ready to go."
Brewers GM David Stearns downplayed the meaning of Shaw's early work, saying in an email, "We have guys taking ground balls all over the field during early work and BP. Sometimes [Jesus] Aguilar takes ground balls at shortstop. Travis plays on that side of the bag a fair amount in our shift alignments so it makes sense for him to take ground balls over there. Adding to positional versatility is always helpful."
Still, Shaw's openness to a move could open avenues as Stearns looks for ways to bolster the Brewers ahead of the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Second base is a position of need, as Milwaukee entered Tuesday 23rd in the Majors in weighted on-base average and 26th in weighted runs created plus at the position.
If Shaw moved there, a rental player like the Royals' Mike Moustakas would be in play as a trade target.
Shaw's only experience at second base at any level has come as part of one of the Brewers' more extreme infield shifts. He started a double play over the weekend in Cincinnati while standing in the position typically occupied by the second baseman.
Shaw's offensive production is down lately, but that's in part because of a lingering right wrist injury he's dealt with in recent weeks. Entering Tuesday, Shaw was homerless since June 5, but still was on pace for 27 home runs after tying for the team lead with 31 a year ago.
"I'm feeling better. [The wrist is] not 100 percent yet," Shaw said. "There are still a couple of swings here and there that I'll feel it on. It's really just impacted my ability to really fire on the ball, which has affected my power a little bit. It's trending in the right direction. I think I've turned a corner."
Cain needs more time; Yelich close
Center fielder won't escape the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday as he'd hoped. Cain, attempting to come back from a left groin strain, said his running on Monday "didn't go as expected," so the Brewers cancelled a scheduled baserunning session on Tuesday.
"I wouldn't call it a setback, because I still got it up pretty good to 80-90 percent yesterday," Cain said.
"He had a good day on the field, but there's enough caution there that we have to get over the last hurdle," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We're not to 100 percent yet. We're definitely going in a good direction."
Outfielder also remained absent from the starting lineup because of a stiff back, but saw action as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning of the Brewers' 2-0 win over the Twins. The stint came after Yelich took batting practice for a third straight day on Tuesday and declared himself "back on track."
"That was the plan today. We were going to use him for defense if we got a lead late in the game," Counsell said. "He's feeling pretty good. I'm very optimistic."
More Draft signings
The dollars available to sign first-round Draft pick Brice Turang before Friday's deadline continued to dwindle Tuesday, when two more above-slot deals for players picked after Round 10 came to light.
After MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis reported a $210,000 bonus for 12th-rounder Korey Howell on Monday night, Callis said Tuesday morning that the Brewers had signed 13th-rounder Reese Olson for $440,000. And the Arkansas news site reported Milwaukee had signed 24th-round pick Wade Beasley for $257,500. Olson and Beasley are right-handed pitchers.
Brewers Draft tracker
Everything north of $125,000 for players drafted after the 10th round counts against a team's pool, and cuts into the figure above the roughly $3.01 million that the Brewers can offer Turang to lure him away from a scholarship to play at LSU.