A couple days ago I wrote that the best move for Brewers' GM Doug Melvin was to make no trade at all. I felt since the players hadn't played well to hold of their end of the player-management partnership, that the management shouldn't give away prospects for a shot at glory this season.
Since that time, the Brewers have experienced a season's worth of news in only two days. They won the final two games from the Nationals, the first time the team won back-to-back games in a month, Manny Parra and Yovani Gallardo pitched well enough to earn the wins, Jeff Suppan was placed on the disabled list, and Bill Hall accepted a demotion to Triple A, Nashville.
The Brewers now have two starters on the disabled list, and a third that also started for them this year in Seth McClung. Carlos Villanueva is going to get another shot at starting a game. Tim Dillard may also be called upon to make a few starts as well.
Villanueva and Dillard are decent pitchers, but aren't the type of pitchers that will get a team to the playoffs. The Brewers still have a very realistic shot at the playoffs. They have played horrible baseball for two months, yet they sit only four games behind the Cubs and Cardinals for first place.
The rallying cry for Brewers' owner Mark Attanasio for the 2008 season was, "90 wins and 3 million fan", implying he expected the team to win 90 games and for 3 million fans to show up at Miller Park.
The Brewers won their 90th game on the final day of the season last year, and the fans broke the Brewers' all-time attendance record by sending 3,068,458 fans into the stadium-the first time the Brewers ever broke 3 million in attendance. That came out to an average crowd of 37,882 people per game.
This season, a season where the entire country is in a deep recession and attendance is down 5% around the league, the Brewers are averaging over 38,000 a game and will shatter last year's record.
The fans have come through for Mark Attanasio for another year, and he owes it to the fans to try and hold up his end of the deal.
From a baseball perspective, it doesn't make much sense for the Brewers to give up any significant prospects for a front of the rotation pitcher. The Brewers farm system, regarded as one of the top 10 in the majors, is deep enough to still acquire an average starter at worst.
The Brewers don't need Roy Halladay to compete for the division. Kevin Correia would be nice, but Jon Garland or Doug Davis would be even better. They can give up two or three mid-level prospects to acquire one of these players, and still have enough talent to fill the big league roster over the next few years.
Yovani Gallardo has pitched well all season long. Manny Parra looks like a different pitcher since being recalled from Nashville. Braden Looper has been solid all season and benefitted from great run support. Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan are both expected back from the disabled list by the middle of August. A stop-gap solid starter is only needed for a few weeks to get the Brewers through a rough stretch.
The bats are starting to come alive with the resurgence of Corey Hart, Mike Cameron, and JJ Hardy. It's time for the offense to carry the pitching for a couple of weeks until the staff is at full strength.
The city of Milwaukee waited 26 years to see their team return to the playoffs. They have continued to do their part by supporting the Brewers in record numbers this year. It's now up to the management to do their part and make sure this team is equipped properly to compete for another shot at postseason.
If Melvin and Attanasio don't make a deal, it will remind many fans of the Sal Bando and Wendy Selig-Prieb era that saw management only care about the bottom line and not fielding a competitive team. Milwaukee fans don't deserve that disrespect any longer. They have shown they are worthy of a contending team on a regular basis.