Breaking Down Potential Suitors for Milwaukee Brewers Pitcher Kyle Lohse

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIIJuly 26, 2013

MILWAUKEE, WI - JULY 18:  Kyle Lohse #26 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches in the top of the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Miller Park on July 18, 2013 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Brewers are looking to move their starting pitchers, but Yovani Gallardo may no longer be the guy at the top of other team's wish list.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, opposing general managers are inquiring about Kyle Lohse and aren't thrilled with how Gallardo has been pitching as of late.

As for the answer that seems very much up in the air, that GM was told no on Lohse, but a Brewers-connected person said of Lohse: "We do not have a mandate to move dollars. It has to be a prospect package that works for us -- an overpay-type deal."

It's still a little surprising how lukewarm the interest is considering Gallardo is 27 and quite accomplished. One GM explained, "He has a significant velo [velocity] change and he got hit hard again [Thursday]. Plus it's a lot of money, and an off-field [issue, an early season DUI]."

With Gallardo falling out of favor with teams around the league, Lohse has emerged as one of the top pitchers on the market just five days before the MLB trade deadline. He has won four of his past five starts and allowed one earned run or fewer in seven of his last 10.

Gallardo, on the other hand, has allowed 24 earned runs over his last six starts, and his ERA has gone up by 0.79 during that time.

Lohse and the Brewers agreed to terms on a three-year, $33 million contract on March 25. It was a late deal, but turned out to be a great signing. Milwaukee did forfeit the 17th overall pick in 2013 MLB Draft in order to sign him, which will raise the price of acquiring Lohse.

The Brewers need to be blown away by any offer that will wrench Lohse from their hands, and only a few teams have the prospects to throw into a package that will impress them. The team needs top prospects, and pitchers are a plus, but which teams have the pieces to make this deal happen?


Atlanta Braves

The Braves sit eight games up in the National League East on the Philadelphia Phillies and 8.5 on the Washington Nationals. The team has a solid lead already, but looks can be deceiving.

Atlanta has had the same record as the Phillies since April 18, and has not moved up on the Nats by very much since then, either.

Since starting the year 13-2, the Braves have struggled, playing .500 ball. The team still holds a solid lead over the rest of the field in its division, but it has failed to impress.

Now the Braves are in desperate need of starting pitching after Tim Hudson went down with a fractured ankle against the New York Mets on Wednesday. The injury was gruesome, and he will certainly be out for an extended period of time.

The Braves have had a great starting rotation all season, which is why they have been winning. However, the starting rotation lacks depth, which is why they will be looking for someone to replace Hudson.

With Hudson aging, the team may not be looking for a rental, and it certainly won't want to give up top prospects to get someone who could leave after this season. However, because Lohse has been successful for years and is signed to a three-year deal, the Braves would likely be willing to give up a top prospect for him.

J.R. Graham and Lucas Sims are likely untouchable, but Sean Gilmartin could be talented enough to interest the Brewers while not being a devastating loss for the Braves.

Coupling Gilmartin with a guy like Cody Martin could be the perfect combination for the Brewers. The team is looking for young pitchers who could turn into aces like Matt Harvey, Patrick Corbin or Shelby Miller have, and Gilmartin and Martin are both talented pitchers.

It's a lot to ask for two of the Braves' top prospects, but if Atlanta wants to lock up the NL East and make a run in October, it needs to give these guys up to acquire Lohse.


St. Louis Cardinals

No team will be asked to give up more talent when trading for Lohse than the Cardinals, who cashed in when Lohse signed with the Brewers.

Since Lohse was in St. Louis before he signed with Milwaukee, the Brewers had to give up the 17th overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft while St. Louis was given the 28th overall pick in return, selecting Rob Kaminsky.

Because the Cardinals got such a talented pitcher after losing Lohse and now could be asking for him back, the Brew Crew won't give him up cheap. The two teams are also NL Central rivals and will be wary of trading with each other.

Despite having the best record in baseball, the Cards need a pitcher. St. Louis is only 2.5 games up on the Pittsburgh Pirates for the NL Central crown. By strengthening the back end of its rotation, it will give itself a much better chance to win the division.

The Cardinals have a few elite prospects who will interest Milwaukee, but none is bigger than Carlos Martinez, the team's top pitching prospect. Martinez has a ton of potential, and if things fall the right way for him he could be the next young ace in the MLB.

St. Louis would also have to give up a guy like Seth Blair or Maikel Cleto to get this deal done, or else it could combine a few smaller prospects with Martinez to entice the Brewers with depth.

The Cards certainly won't be happy that they have to give up top prospects for a guy they had last season, but bringing home a World Series title would make this trade worthwhile.


Cleveland Indians

The Indians have been linked to starting pitching in the past, according to Jon Heyman. The team ranks in the bottom third of the MLB in ERA and needs a starter to fix that problem.

However, there aren't many guys left who would fit in Cleveland.

The team has been linked to Jake Peavy, but Heyman reports that the team is not a match for Peavy and the Chicago White Sox.

The Indians will have problems getting a guy like Bud Norris, and there aren't very many pitchers left on the market that they can pursue.

Sitting just three games back in the AL Central, this is the year for the Indians to contend. They need to pull out all the stops and grab a pitcher. That pitcher could be Lohse.

Trevor Bauer is the team's top pitching prospect, and trading him would be out of the question most years. However, the team needs a pitcher now, and Lohse's three-year contract could be appealing enough for the Indians to send Bauer to Milwaukee.

The team would also need to send someone like Jesus Aguilar or Jose Ramirez to finalize the trade, but two good prospects is a fair asking price for a guy who's pitching like an ace and could help the team win its second division crown in 11 years.


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