With the trade deadline quickly approaching, all things appear very quiet in Brewers' camp.
As per usual, general manager Doug Melvin said he's listening on guys, but not necessarily shopping anyone - except lefty reliever Michael Gonzalez.
In the past, Melvin looks like he's going to hold tight, then something quickly comes together and a deal is made.
In 2013, however, there are a number of reasons Doug Melvin isn't selling off pieces in a flurry...
1) A majority of the players that teams would value are under team control for one or two more seasons. While that could make them more intriguing to potential trade partners, it also means there's no urgency for Milwaukee to deal them away.
- Under control through 2015
- Kyle Lohse - Under contract
- John Axford - Arbitration eligible
- Jim Henderson - Arbitration eligible
- Yovani Gallardo - Club option
- Under control through 2014
- Norichika Aoki - Club option ($1.5 million)
- Tom Gorzelanny - Under contract ($2.8 million)
2) The hope to be competitive next season continues to be alluring for Mark Attanasio as he's seen strong production from Lohse, Wily Peralta, Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura. Injuries (and a high-profile suspension) have also given the club the idea that the biggest reason for their struggles come from the lack of big guns on the field.
- Corey Hart - Missing entire season
- Aramis Ramirez - Will have missed at least 2 months
- Ryan Braun - Missed 4 weeks due to injury; will miss final 65 games due to, you know
Despite the thinking of a fielding a competitive squad next year, there are still potential trades that could go down. Realistically, the Brewers will probably keep most of their guys.
Rickie Weeks: Perhaps this is more hope than substance, but a handful of teams could convince themselves that he would be a valuable power bat at second base. Baltimore has had little production out of their second-sackers this season. Kansas City has said they are still interested in adding talent if they'd control the player in 2014 - Weeks fits that bill.
|Weeks always has the potential to bust out and|
carry a team - will anyone take that chance?
The Tigers' 2nd baseman, Omar Infante, has been out a while with a leg injury and recently had a setback. Miguel Cabrera and Torii Hunter are both banged up a bit, each having missed some games.
Weeks would serve the Tigers in multiple ways. With Weeks starting at 2nd, Infante (when he returns) would go to a utility role, filling in for Cabrera at 3B and in the outfield to give Hunter a rest and help with their production in LF.
Maybe as a bonus, since Prince Fielder and Weeks are best friends, Prince could help push a deal into place. The Tigers are in "all in" mode, and while the Brewers may have to pay some of the contract to get back a worthwhile piece, Detroit has always been willing to make a deal they felt it helped them win a title right now.
Kyle Lohse: Lohse has been great in his last 10 starts, going 6-1 with a 2.30 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 5.25 K/BB rate - outstanding numbers that are consistent with his past two seasons.
|Pitching like an ace in recent weeks, Lohse is|
proving 2011-12 weren't flukes
Boston may kick the tires on Lohse as Clay Buchholz may miss another month with an injury and Jon Lester is sitting with a 4.50 ERA. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay slid past them into first in the AL East. Boston has some big talent in their farm system, particularly on the pitching side
The Braves could show some interest as well, having lost Tim Hudson for the season, but apparently they aren't keen on offering much of a package. Baltimore is keeping tabs on Jake Peavy, so they could also check in on Lohse.
Michael Gonzalez: The veteran left-handed reliever is a free agent at season's end. The Red Sox, Indians, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Tigers all would have interest in a cheap rental with solid stuff. The Brewers are probably best served holding off until the final day of July, hoping the clubs bid against each other to get a solid return - which is what happened with Francisco Rodriguez.
Yovani Gallardo: His value has plummeted in the eyes of most other teams, with some scouts saying he's nothing more than a 4 or 5 pitcher at this point. Again, considering Melvin wants top value for Gallardo, there is very little chance the Brewers would get enough back to elicit a trade.
I don't see any teams desperate enough to give up a top prospect for a 4.88 ERA pitcher with declining numbers in a majority of categories.
Jim Henderson and John Axford: The Tigers and Red Sox should definitely be interested in these arms. The Dodgers and Diamondbacks are also seeking legitimate relief help. As the two AL and two NL clubs may be competing down the stretch or in the postseason, the ante might be raised a bit.
Each guy is under team control for multiple years which should automatically up the price, but chances are it will still be too rich for any team's blood. Melvin will hold out for a top deal - and if he doesn't get it - they remain a part of the Brewers' future plans.
|Aoki would be a solid, reliable piece for a team|
contending for a playoff spot - Texas seems ideal
His value rests in his ability to get on base, put together good at-bats and play all three outfield positions well. Both Detroit and Texas are seeking outfield help, though there are other players they've shown interest in.
Aramis Ramirez: Unfortunately for the Brewers, Ramirez hasn't been able to get back in the lineup to drum up interest and prove his knee is healthy(ish). The Yankees would certainly have been calling with the Alex Rodriguez suspension looming and Boston could have been a player as well. The Dodgers apparently had interest at one point, but without the DH spot available, he'd be a bigger gamble there than in New York.
Perhaps Ramirez clears waivers and could be dealt after July 31 after he gets some playing time, but chances are he will remain with the club and the Brewers will hope he's healthy in 2014 when he's making $16 million.
As mentioned above, the most likely scenario is that all the players (except Gonzalez) will be with the Brewers past the trade deadline. The Brewers front office still thinks they can compete for a playoff spot next year and won't deal without getting a top tier return.
It's possible a couple of players could be packaged together to get back the talent Melvin and Co. are seeking - such as Aoki and Weeks to Detroit or Lohse and Gonzalez to Boston - but I'm not holding my breath on that.
We should know more about the club's plans for 2014 when August rolls around - and then it's time to figure out what they can do to avoid another season like this one.