MLB Trade Rumors: Moves Brewers Can Make to Clinch Wainwright-Less NL
After last year's disappointing finish, Doug Melvin's plan was clear.. Milwaukee needed more pitching in order to compete in the NL Central. The Cardinals had a formidable rotation and the Reds were returning a strong club.
He first traded for Toronto Blue Jays ace Shaun Marcum. A proven innings eater, Marcum can keep hitters off balance and still pitch effectively with a fastball in the high 80's.
Next came the trade for Zack Greinke. The Brewers gave up four top prospects for Greinke and Yuni Betancourt, but Melvin wanted to win now.
Last week, the Cardinals received the unfortunate news that Adam Wainwright had ruptured a tendon in his elbow and would need Tommy John surgery.
The Brewers received some bad news of their own when Jonathan Lucroy broke his pinky finger on his right hand.
Here are five moves the Brewers can make to win the National League Central.
Solidify the Bench
The Brewers have already signed Mark Kotsay and Craig Counsell to bolster the bench. Kotsay's role will mainly be as a left handed pinch hitter or a reserve corner outfielder. He could spell Prince Fielder at first, but unless he gets hurt, Fielder shouldn't need many days off.
Counsell will be used also as a left handed pinch hitter, but he can also back up at any infield position.
Infield defense will be a concern, so the bench needs a capable backup at both middle infield positions. Counsell can fill in for short periods, but a better answer is keeping Luis Cruz. He's a shortstop and he's out of options, so the Brewers have to use him, or make him a free agent.
Keeping Chris Dickerson would also be a wise move, as he could platoon with Carlos Gomez, if needed.
Sort out the Bullpen
In the Brewers bullpen, we'll have John Axford closing, of course.
He'll be setup by LaTroy Hawkins and Takashi Saito.
Lefties for long relief roles will be Zach Braddock and Manny Parra.
Right Handers appear to be Kameon Loe and Sean Green.
The Brewers were hoping that Mark Rogers might pitch his way onto the big league roster, but he's been slowed by shoulder stiffness.
Somebody who may be a perfect fit for Miller Park is Pat Egan, a Rule 5 pick up from Baltimore. Egan is a sinker ball pitcher who could get lots of ground balls in a fly ball friendly park.
Sign Bengie Molina
Quite frankly, all the other Brewers back ups are horrible.
Why not sign a guy who spent time on the rosters of both World Series teams last year?
He's a solid defender and could outhit the other Brewers' backstops with a blindfold.
Yes, he's got a bad body, but you're looking for someone to handle the pitching staff until Jonathan Lucroy gets back and then provide a veteran mentor for the young catcher, this could be our guy.
Sign Cristian Guzmán
If you are as worried as I am about Yuni Betancourt's defense, this is the best option available. Guzman is 33, which is getting a bit older, but his fielding percentage last year was right in line with his career average.
With the Brewers' prospect cupboard being rather bare, they don't have lots of trade options available to them. Betancourt may drive in eighty five runs, but if he let's in 55, that's a problem.
Sign Jermaine Dye
Defensively, Carlos Gomez can get it done.
Can he hit big league pitching? Will he be an automatic out in the Brewers' lineup?
Personally, I have no idea why Jermaine Dye hasn't been able to get a job. I know the guy has had a great career, can still swing the bat, and has had a couple years to heal injuries.
Corey Hart is athletic enough to play center. Let's sign Dye and put him in right. From what I've read, the issue is not money with Dye. He wants a big league contract. Let's give it to him and put another big bat in this lineup.
The Brewers may have enough in place right now to win the National League Central Division.
With a great offense and improved pitching, they seem to be built to contend for a pennant.
Maybe we could tweak the defense, and the bullpen?
Maybe a veteran catcher, shortstop and outfielder?
It might be worth the shot and they all would probably come cheap.