Milwaukee Brewers: Recent Slump May Have Preserved the Future

Ryan CardarellaCorrespondent IJuly 30, 2009

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 12:  World Futures All-Star Alcides Escobar of the Milwaukee Brewers steps to the plate during the 2009 XM All-Star Futures Game at Busch Stadium on July 12, 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

While I'm not advocating giving up on the Brewers making the playoffs in 2009, their recent play should be a clear sign to GM Doug Melvin that trading away the future to take a shot this season is the wrong move.

Failing to make a run against the Pirates, Reds, and Nationals leading into the deadline likely crushed any chances of the Brewers acquiring a pitching savior to lead them back to the playoffs.

That ugly stretch may have been a good thing for the long-term future of the franchise.

The market is incredibly tough for starting pitching right now, and the harsh truth is that the Brewers are more than just a quality arm away from pushing past St. Louis, Chicago, and Houston in the NL Central.

They just have too many holes right now.

Mortgaging the future is fine if the end result is a deep postseason run, but that just isn't likely with a shallow rotation, tired bullpen, and inconsistent offense.

The Brewers post-All-Star-break slump may be remembered as a pivotal moment in the franchise, preventing GM Doug Melvin from emptying his prospect cupboard to take a shot at winning a very crowded NL Central.

Any quality arm was going to cost the Brewers Alcides Escobar or Mat Gamel, and while neither should be untouchable in pursuing an impact starting pitcher, the Brewers just don't look like a playoff-caliber team right now.

Not packaging one of those two prospects for a pitcher that likely still wouldn't have been able to carry Milwaukee back to the postseason puts the Brewers in a more manageable situation.

Perhaps Melvin can deal an Escobar or J.J. Hardy in the offseason when the price isn't so astronomically high for pitching, or at the very worst, hold onto his assets for a potential trade next year if the Brewers are in a better spot.

Rumor has it that the Brewers are in on right-hander Kevin Correia, but he is just an innings guy that will help keep Seth McClung and Carlos Villanueva in the bullpen and out of the rotation.

He also won't cost much and may be a cheap plug-in to the back of the rotation next season.

That is probably as good as it gets for the Brewers at the deadline however, and for all the hope of a Sabathia-like move again in 2009, that may be for the best.

While preaching patience for a team that has been to the playoffs once in 26 years is tough, Melvin is wise to hold firm at the deadline.

This team isn't quite ready to take the next step, and the time just isn't right to make the bold move.