MLB Trade Rumors: Debunking the Latest Trade Talk for the Milwaukee Brewers

Alec Dopp@alecdoppCorrespondent IJuly 15, 2011

MLB Trade Rumors: Debunking the Latest Trade Talk for the Milwaukee Brewers

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    The all-important July 31 trade deadline is nearly upon us, and we are once again at no shortage of rumors and speculation.

    For the Milwaukee Brewers, who have already made the biggest splash thus far by trading for New York Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez, big-name trades are almost surely done. However, they may not be finished in their pursuit to add quality bargain players. In fact, according to FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, the Brewers and GM Doug Melvin are already looking to bolster the left side of their infield.

    Who could the Brewers be targeting? Let's take an in-depth look at several infielders Melvin is already contemplating.

     

    *All statistics are through July 14th, 2011

    Alec Dopp is a Milwaukee Brewers featured columnist on Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @doppler9000, and read his Brewers beat blog.

Wilson Betemit

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    2011 Statistics: .285/.345/.415, 3 HR, 27 RBI, 29 R, .942 FP

    Where he would play: Third base; platoon with Casey McGehee

     

    Breakdown

    Betemit, 29, has already become subject to more than enough trades over the course of his 10-year career, but carries a solid reputation as a reliable glove and bat when called upon.

    In the article, Rosenthal reports:

    "Royals third baseman Wilson Betemit, a switch-hitter, also could make sense for the Brewers. Betemit, however, has struck out in 16 of his last 36 at-bats, perhaps due to the difficulty of adjusting to a reduced role following the promotion of Mike Moustakas."

    McGehee has been granted enough chances to turn his dreadful 2011 season around, and this might be the last straw. With Betemit, who is already having an above-average season to this point, the Brewers would become much more capable defensively and wouldn't cost much to bring him in.

    Additionally, Betemit has substantial experience playing both third-base and shortstop, which could drive this trade to be completed.

Jamey Carroll

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    2011 Statistics: .297/.368/.366, 0 HR, 8 RBI, 36 R, .987 FP

    Where he would play: Shortstop; platoon/replace Yuniesky Betancourt

     

    Breakdown

    By no means is Carroll a flashy upgrade worth media attention. But what makes this deal so appealing for Melvin could be the notable production defensively. In his career, Carroll maintains a .987 FP (fielding percentage) at shortstop.

    Carroll seems like the type of player Melvin would pursue to upgrade the left-side of the infield via trade, and it wouldn't surprise me if the Brewers straight up deal Betancourt for Carroll at the deadline.

    But, as Rosenthal reports:

    "A number of other infielders should become available prior to the July 31 non-waiver deadline, but dodgers infielder Jamey Carroll, one possible fit, is not yet available, sources say."

    Ideally, Carroll looks like the perfect trade option for the Brewers as the trade deadline approaches, so don't be surprised if the somewhat ageless 37 year-old is in Milwaukee by the beginning of August.


J.J. Hardy

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    2011 Statistics: .277/.336/.496, 13 HR, 33 RBI, 34 R, .993 FP

    Where he would play: Shortstop; replace Yuniesky Betancourt

     

    Breakdown

    Oh, how sweet it would be.

    Over the last two weeks, rumors have surfaced surrounding a possible reunion between the Brewers and Hardy in 2011, and let me be the first to tell you they may not come to fruition.

    Though he left the club on bad terms after a dismal 2009 campaign, Hardy has managed to find success in his first season with the Orioles—ranking in the top five among AL shortstops in RBI and HR. However, when it comes to defense, Hardy takes the cake, ranking first among all shortstops on FP (.993).

    In the article, however, Rosenthal sources:

    "Orioles shortstop and former Brewer J.J. Hardy, another logical target, is expected to sign a contract extension with Baltimore rather than be traded, sources say."

    The thought of Hardy back in the Brewers uniform is heartwarming, but I wouldn't count on it happening. Still, the window of opportunity is there; let's see if Melvin will pull the trigger.

Other Potential Options & Upgrades

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    According to Rosenthal, the Brewers will "determine its remaining payroll flexibility on a case-by-case basis." This means there will more than likely be few players Melvin will consider, and Betemit, Carroll and Hardy are the most logical additions.

    Even so, Milwaukee cannot run the risk of not adding a quality infield glove. So, for you, Mr. Melvin, here are a few other potential additions.

     

    Brendan Ryan, SS: .248/.308/.304, 0 HR, 26 RBI, 30 R, .979 FP

    Ryan, the former St. Louis Cardinal, plays solid defense and has experience at both third-base and shortstop. The Brewers will need flexibility from whatever player they acquire, and Ryan seems to be a logical addition right now.

     

    Clint Barmes, SS: .250/.324/.379, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 22 R, .985 FP

    In 2009, Barmes accumulated 23 HR and 76 RBI with the Rockies, and made a name for himself as a potential power shortstop. Fracturing a bone in his left hand, Barmes was sidelined for the beginning of this season. He's a rather streaky hitter, but brings a good glove.

     

    Cliff Pennington, SS: .235/.285/.306, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 26 R, .969 FP

    Pennington, 27, is very manageable and would be more than willing to be a platoon-type player in Milwaukee's defense. Very solid defender—he has a career .966 FP at shortstop—and can play virtually any infield position.