By: Jim Boyce
As we approach the July 31st trade deadline, it is time to examine what David Stearns may or may not do.
The calendar has hit July and with it comes the mayhem known as the MLB trade deadline. Our local nine has at times shown signs of being a competitive baseball team (at home anyway). With Ryan Braun hitting well over .300, Jonathan Lucroy regaining his all-star form of 2014, Chris Carter mashing homers, and players such as Junior Guerra and Jonathan Villar have unexpectedly made the team watchable.
However, the Brewers are not going to finish anywhere near the NL playoffs and will be sellers at the deadline. Trading for prospects and landing in the top 10 of the draft does the Brewers more good than chasing 75 wins, so let’s take a look at some trade chips David Stearns has at his disposal:
RYAN BRAUN & JONATHAN LUCOY
The two obvious names are Ryan Bruan and Jonathan Lucroy. The only rumor of real substance so far was reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and had Braun headed to San Francisco. There are some major roadblocks to this particular deal and it seems unlikely at this point. Due to his contract, his past, and his no trade clause, moving Braun may be difficult to do. Lucroy seems far more likely to be traded, as his affordable contract and All-Star level production should be able to net the Brewers a nice haul of prospects. Lucroy may be able to fetch the Brewers a top 1st or 3rd baseman or starting pitching.
As a fan it would hurt to see Lucroy go, but sentiment must be put aside during rebuilds. After all most of us loved watching Carlos Gomez play, but the Brewers clearly won the deal that landed them a future starting pitcher, centerfielder, and a current starter in Domingo Santana. If the Brewers can get a similar deal for Lucroy, the future becomes very bright in Milwaukee.
CHRIS CARTER, AARON HILL & MATT GARZA
Last season Chris Carter was bad, no other way to describe a .199 BA. As a result the Brewers were able to sign him on a cheap one year deal. While currently batting .231 and being on pace to strikeout over 200 times is not good, his power has returned as he currently sits at 20 HR as of this writing. I think there is a good chance David Stearns will receive calls from contending teams looking to add a power bat for the pennant race. The Brewers most likely will not receive a top prospect in return, but could get a guy who at least has a chance to blossom into a major league contributor.
Aaron Hill, after a slow start, has rebounded nicely and is currently batting .273 with 7 HR and 25 RBI. Derek Harvey of Brew Crew Ball wrote a nice piece recently likening a Hill trade to that of last seasons Aramis Ramirez deal. The player in return would be unlikely to become an MLB contributor, but as a rebuilding club it’s worth getting as many chips as you can.
Matt Garza is an interesting case. My bet is he will not be moved, as he has spent most of this season on the DL and was beyond awful last season. However he did have a few nice starts after coming back followed by a poor outing in St. Louis. Maybe some team takes a chance? Again I doubt it, but it’s worth keeping an eye on how he performs in July.
Beyond the players already mentioned I do not see anyone else being traded. Players like Jonathan Villar and Scooter Gennett have played well, and possibly could be traded to clear space for Orlando Arcia coming up. But they are both young players on affordable team controlled contracts, exactly the kind of players the Brewers are looking to acquire.
My final prediction is that Jonathan Lucroy, Chris Carter, and Aaron Hill are moved either at the deadline or off waivers at the end of August. Ryan Braun and Matt Garza finish out the season in Milwaukee. In the end though, the trade deadline can be a wild time, and no one really knows what Stearns might have up his sleeve.