I get really excited this time of the year when speculation is big across the league as far as MLB teams that will be wheeling and dealing their star players to contenders for prospects. That being said, it’s tough to see fan favorites move on to greener and brighter pastures. I remember this very well back in 2015 when Jonathon Lucroy & Jeremy Jeffress were dealt to Texas, when in return the Brewers received Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, and a player to be named later who turned out to be Ryan Cordell. In the end, none of those prospects stayed in the Milwaukee Brewers farm system all that long, as Lewis Brinson was a part of the Christian Yelich deal, Luis Ortiz was dealt to Baltimore which brought Jonathan Schoop to Milwaukee last season, and Ryan Cordell was dealt to the White Sox which brought Anthony Swarzak to the ‘Crew in 2017.
It’s easy for fans to get worked up over who should be included in on deals, especially if they are ranked highly in the top 30 list of prospects in the organization. To me, those rankings mean crap. A prospect to me is merely a prospect, a lot of unknowns, just because a player can be having a lot of success at the minor league level doesn’t necessarily mean that the player will produce at the major league levels. There were high expectations for a guy like Lewis Brinson when he was dealt to Miami in January of 2018, and so far, his numbers haven’t been nearly as impressive, with a lot of strikeouts and not getting on base. Looking at that trade which brought Lewis Brinson, Jordan Yamamoto, Isan Diaz, and Monte Harrison to the Fish, Yamamoto has been the headliner so far, helping lead the young Marlins starting rotation in 2019.
I’m curious about what the Brewers will do, because even though in reference to the last blog I wrote about the team and its poor play as of late, they are STILL in the thick of things. It’s tough to say what will happen or what Milwaukee will do as a team moving forward, as these next few series appear to be determinants on what they will do. As far as a need of what the Brewers will be looking at, I believe that they will be hot and heavy after a starting pitcher and some relief help. Some veteran bats off the bench don’t hurt either. While MLB ranks the Brewers as having one of the worst farm systems in baseball, what those critics and analysts don’t see are the players that I think aren’t deemed as prospects but more as depth. Guys like Cory Spangenberg, Travis Shaw, David Frietas, and I will even through Orlando Arcia’s name into that mix. There are teams that are looking for established help.
Here are a list of players who realistically I think could be in a Brewers uniform on or after July 31st: Keep in mind there are no late waiver claims in July or September, as all transactions will need to be made before that trade deadline date.
1. Marcus Stroman, SP, Toronto Bluejays: I would HATE to see a guy like Marcus Stroman go to a team in the AL East (Yankees, Red Sox) or even the Braves, though I think he is more likely to be heading to those destinations than Milwaukee, as those teams should have more to offer Toronto in return. Deals inside the division are more difficult, and more teams will be looking to make an offer for Stroman. I love Marcus Stroman, and was big on him possibly getting dealt last season, but his asking price may have been too high considering his years of control moving forward. Stroman has another year left on his contract. He currently has a 3.06 ERA after 20 starts this season. Stroman relies heavily on his sinkers and cutters; he’s a good groundball pitcher who can get outs. Given Jhoulys Chacin’s struggles, he would be a massive upgrade over Chacin, who could easily move to the pen as long relief if given that opportunity.
2. Tanner Roark of the Cincinnati Reds to me wouldn’t be a bad trade acquisition in my opinion, though it is challenging for teams within the same division to make deals with one another. The asking price for Tanner Roark wouldn’t be super high, but it should be of note that he will be a free agent in the offseason, so really, for a deal of this nature, the Brewers should consider what they would offer for a “rental” more or less. Roark was acquired from Washington in the offseason and has held up his end of the deal by pitching 17 starts with a 3.51 ERA. He’s not as “shiny” as someone like Marcus Stroman, but economically, he could fit in well and give the Brewers some starts while they wait for Brandon Woodruff to return from his oblique injury, which will sideline him for 6 weeks if not more. Because of what the Brewers have to offer prospect wise, I think a Roark deal makes the most economic sense, only without damaging the farm system too much. Cincinnati is close to contending, give it another year. They may grab onto whatever they can currently get for offers, considering the Reds’ struggles as of late.
3. Notable San Francisco Giants Relievers: Will Smith, Tony Watson, Sam Dyson. Brewer fans would love Will Smith back in the bullpen to compliment Josh Hader, though I could see him being packaged with a guy like Madison Bumgarner, who, is one pitcher known for his toxicity that I wouldn’t want in the Brewers clubhouse. Because of Will Smith’s great numbers this season, he is more destined somewhere with good quality young talent that the Giants could use, should they decide to deal. Sam Dyson has another year of control left on his deal and appears to be attractive as well in what he could offer teams moving forward. Dyson has made his career come back alive in the Bay Area after a 2017 trade from Texas. Tony Watson is the long-time Giant & former Pittsburgh Pirate who is 34 years old but could help the Giants out in someway if he is dealt to a contender. Both Watson & Smith are eligible free agents this winter, so if I was evaluating the Giants relievers that I would covet the most, I would want to deal for Sam Dyson.
4. Roenis Elias, Seattle Mariners: A reliever who is controllable for two more seasons, it wouldn’t strike me as being something odd if the Brewers & Mariners were to strike up a deal once again, hence the recent trade history between the two franchises. Elias’s affordable salary makes him a valuable trade chip in my eyes, and should this season not pan out as well for the Brewers as what many may believe, he’d compliment a good bullpen for next season with Josh Hader, Corey Knebel once he is healthy again, and Jeremy Jeffress – should the Brewers pick up his club option next season. Elias’s a lefty, which is appealing to me even though Alex Claudio is one of the lefty specialists already in the pen. Dias provides another option for saves on nights where Josh Hader may not be available to close. It’ll be interesting to determine what kind of a deal snatches up Elias.
5. Alex Colome, Chicago White Sox: Continuing with the tradition of dealing with the Chicago White Sox over the last few seasons, including for Anthony Swarzak in 2017 & for Xavier Cedeno in 2018, Colome could once again be a trade chip that GM David Stearns will keep a close eye on this right-hander as we get closer to the trade deadline. He’s controllable through 2021 and is by far having his best season for the Sox. He has 20 saves and could again prove to be a good go-to in the pen late in games.
What do you think? Will the Brewers stand pat or make a splash this trade deadline? Let me know your thoughts!
Follow Will on Twitter: @WGLarson