Normally, Major League Baseball teams are strongly encouraged (ahem) to refrain from making any transactions until after the World Series, but as MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy notes below, the Milwaukee Brewers made an exception on Tuesday.
#Brewers didn’t wait until after the WS to pick up RF Norichika Aoki’s 2014 option. Done deal, and a no-brainer.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) October 29, 2013
The 2014 option for Aoki is for $1.5 million, and the fact that the number was so low certainly qualified Milwaukee for “no-brainer” status. During the 2013 season, the 31-year-old outfielder posted a .356 on-base percentage in 608 plate appearances, and if that wasn’t good enough (though it was), he provided an even more startling stat.
Aoki’s walk rate of 8% is fairly ordinary in today’s baseball, but because his strikeout rate sat at a measly 5.9%, it is certainly worth noting. Players that can get on-base at a .356 clip and virtually never strikeout are exceedingly valuable, and when you throw in defense, Aoki was worth 1.7 fWAR, making him easily worth the $1.5 million price tag.
Because of his age and lack of power (.370 slugging percentage this season), it isn’t 100% clear that Aoki will be (or should be) in Milwaukee’s long-term plans, but if you can keep a starting-caliber outfielder around for $1.5 million, you absolutely have to do it.