Doug Melvin made several moves over the winter in anticipation of this very week. He thought the Brewers would be in position to compete for the playoffs. Although the Brewers are only four games out of first place, they have gone 19-30 in their last 49 games and look nothing like they did in May when they had one of the best records in baseball.
Any move that Melvin makes would almost certainly be for a starting pitcher. Injuries and ineffectiveness have hurt the starting rotation, and now all the early season work by the bullpen is starting to have an adverse effect in July.
Melvin has been openly criticized by fans and media for the rotation he put together, but the rotation has been only slightly below average from their career norms.
Dave Bush was having a very good year until Hanley Ramirez hit a line drive off of his pitching elbow.
Braden Looper has turned out to be a good free agent signing, and he is tied for the team lead in victories with nine.
Jeff Suppan has struggled recently but has continued to be a lower-rotation pitcher. Yes, Suppan is overpaid for his production, but that was what the market called for at the time when Melvin signed him three years ago.
Manny Parra struggled early this season, but has two very good outings since being recalled from the minors.
Yovani Gallardo has been the victim of horrible run support this season. Despite his 3.09 ERA, Gallardo has a record of only 9-7. Even though the offense hasn't given him any support, he has proved to be the "ace" everyone hoped he would be prior to the season.
Ryan Braun recently made comments directed towards Doug Melvin that was discussed here. Unfortunately for Braun and the rest of the offense, they have yet to live up to their end of the two-way relationship between management and players.
If the players expect management to trade prospects to take on more salary, the players must play to a level worthy of benefitting from such a trade. Jason Kendall, JJ Hardy, and Corey Hart have all had bad years. Mike Cameron has been just awful since getting off to a hot start in April.
Doug Melvin is not to blame for the bad performances these players have produced so far this season, and he should not make a move to just to try and boost the confidence of players.
Yes, the best move for Doug Melvin to make is no move at all. The Brewers haven't shown they are a playoff team in the past two months. The only player that could vault the Brewers into playoff contention, Roy Halladay, would take a king's ransom to acquire and not worth the long-term problems it would bring to the franchise.
If Melvin does decide to make a move, he should look into trading Hardy for pitching. Otherwise he should let this team alone as is and start looking to 2010. There will still be enough pieces of the puzzle left in Milwaukee to be a contender again next year.
Even though the trade deadline is July 31, the real deadline isn't until August 31, which is when waiver wire deals can be made until. Melvin can take the luxury of one more month to see if his team can turn things around and duplicate last August when they had the best record in baseball.
If the Brewers fail to make the playoffs this year, fans will find plenty of blame to go around. Melvin shouldn't be the lightning rod for the fans' anger. They need only to look as far as the diamond to see the real cause for their angst this year.