The Milwaukee Brewers came into the 2012 season with high hopes of returning to postseason contention. Despite the farewell bid by former first baseman Prince Fielder, management believed that they could still contend with the pieces left over.
Unfortunately, things haven't turned out as previously thought. With the All-Star break nearly upon us, Milwaukee sits at a disconcerting 39-44, seven games out of first place in the National League Central division. Injuries and severe under-performance have cast a shadow of doubt over the immediate future of the organization, leaving many to wonder whether or not the club should add a piece or two for a second-half run or sell their assets to reboot for subsequent seasons.
A definitive answer to that question is still a ways off at this juncture. According to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (h/t MLB Trade Rumors), General manager Doug Melvin said he will wait until after a nine-game stint against NL Central teams post-All-Star break to decide the team's course of action at the deadline.
Still, rumors surrounding the club won't cease to exist, especially given the amount of talent the club could potentially deal away. Here, we'll keep you updated as those rumors continue to surface to go with a bit of reaction and analysis to go along with each.
Posted: Tuesday, July 10 at 11:56 a.m. CT
It's been a topic up for discussion for a while now: What might the Brewers get in return for Zack Greinke via trade?
I tried my best to answer that very question a few days back, but that was well before a report surfaced that the Baltimore Orioles had a serious interest in Greinke, and also before the Atlanta Braves appeared to be doing any more than their due-diligence in scouting the Brewers' right-hander. Now, both clubs are probably the front runners in the sweepstakes.
Carson Cistulli, a writer for the highly-acclaimed baseball site FanGraphs.com, published a piece Monday morning trying to answer the question I alluded to earlier: What would Greinke yield in a trade? He attempted to answer that question by looking back at past trades involving high-priced starters and what the team dealing them received.
Here's a short snippet of that Cistulli had to say:
Inspecting the four deals above, it appears as though, of late, top-end starters have been more likely to yield a number (in fact, four exactly, every time) of B and C-type prospects — as opposed to just one or two high-end type. Indeed, the Jimenez deal — with two B+ prospects, in Pomeranz and White — appears to have been the biggest return of those considered here.
It is currently unknown what the Brewers are looking in return for Greinke, but based on the deals that Cistulli revisited, Milwaukee may not get the high-profile prospect they're looking for in return. Throw in the fact that the team receiving Greinke will not receive a compensatory draft pick should he walk in free-agency, and a potential deal this summer is becoming increasingly unlikely.
Posted: Saturday, July 7 at 12:00 p.m. CT
While Zack Greinke has dominated Milwaukee's trade headlines and will from here on out, he is not the only veteran hurler with a potential to be moved via trade this month.
Ken Davidoff of the New York Post claimed last Tuesday that Francisco Rodriguez highlights the shortlist of relievers that the New York Mets would be interested in acquiring prior to the July 31 deadline. Among other things, Davidoff claims that the combination of Rodriguez's poor performance this season together with the fact that the Mets won't be scared to take on his 2012 salary, that this would be an "excellent fit."
In 41 appearances this season, Rodriguez has garnered a 4.06 ERA and 1.51 WHIP while harboring a career-low strikeout rate of 20.3 percent. His subpar production has yielded him an unsightly -0.1 WAR rating, according to FanGraphs.
Should the Mets make a move for Rodriguez?
The Mets' bullpen ranks among the worst in all of baseball this season, most notably in their league-high 5.04 ERA. In terms of raw value, New York's bullpen has accumulated just a 0.3 WAR rating, enough to rank seventh-worst among all Major League bullpens. Clearly, they need help.
While Rodriguez has been a shell of his former self this season, he could still provide stability and a veteran presence as the Mets' closer. They could then move Frank Francisco to the setup role and have a formidable one-two punch late in games.
The only thing that will hold this deal up is Milwaukee's asking price. They're on the prowl for MLB-ready prospects, and the Mets don't have a whole lot to speak of.
Posted: Saturday, July 7 at 9:15 a.m. CT
In a year where he could virtually guarantee himself a Matt Cain-esque contract once he hits the open market this winter, Zack Greinke has been spectacular for Milwaukee.
In 17 starts this season, the 28-year-old free agent-to-be boasts a 3.08 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, striking out nearly a batter per inning. In terms of raw value, Greinke holds true to the second-highest WAR (wins above a replacement-level player) rating among all big league starters at 3.5. Many teams were interested in acquiring him before the season, but it now seems as though every contender wants a piece of Greinke.
As I wrote last week in a collaborative piece with a few other columnists here on B/R, the Braves, Yankees, Rangers, Red Sox and Blue Jays seemed like the most logical destinations for Greinke through a trade this summer. Since then, though, another team has reportedly joined the party.
According to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun, the Orioles appear to be "the most aggressive suitor for Greinke" at this juncture. The Orioles are still very much in contention in the AL East thanks to a surprise outburst from their offense, currently just five and-a-half games out of first place in the division.
Should the Orioles make a push for Greinke?
The Orioles came out of the gates in scorching fashion, receiving tremendous production from their rotation, bullpen and offense. However, they've witnessed a progressive decline in productivity across the board with each month. If this persists, they probably won't have the stamina to keep up with the Yankees for the division lead.
Obviously, trading for Greinke seems like the ideal thing to do if you're general manager Dan Duquette. Baltimore has a bevy of prospects they could deal to Milwaukee, potentially even shortstop Manny Machado. The key to this deal will be whether or not they think they can re-sign Greinke in the offseason. If they feel they can, then this deal looks like a perfect fit for both parties.
Posted: Saturday, July 7 at 10:00 a.m. CT
It's a thought that many Milwaukee Brewers fans would cringe at, but right now there is a strong possibility that Zack Greinke could be suiting up for the rival St. Louis Cardinals prior to or at the July 31 trade deadline.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Cardinals could have the potential to be a player in the Zack Greinke sweepstakes as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline nears. Though he remains unsure as to whether the Brewers would be willing to trade Greinke within the division, Rosenthal believes that returning to the state of Missouri—where he started his career with the Kansas City Royals—would be “particularly intriguing."
Here is exactly what Rosenthal had to say:
Greinke, who began his career in Kansas City, would be particularly intriguing—he likely would welcome a trade to St. Louis and a chance to sign with the Cardinals long term. It is not known whether the Brewers would be willing to trade Greinke within the division, but they should be if the deal would work to their benefit.
With Jaime Garcia on the disabled list, Chris Carpenter having season-ending surgery and a rumor from Rosenthal that Lance Lynn could ultimately be headed for the bullpen, the Cardinals are certainly in need of starting pitching.
Should (and can) St. Louis deal for Greinke?
Because their rotation has sustained key injuries, they are in definite need of starting pitching if they have any intention of making the postseason. The good news is that they do have he assets to make a deal happen. The Cardinals have a slew of prospects that could potentially lure Milwaukee into dealing Greinke sooner rather than later. Baseball America ranked St. Louis’ system as the 10th-best among all minor league systems.
Leading the way are right-handed pitcher Shelby Miller, third baseman Zack Cox and hot-hitting outfielder Oscar Taveras. However, it is not known whether or not the Cardinals would be willing to deal any of those players in return for Greinke, so we'll have to wait to see if they're willing to move any of those youngsters mentioned.