It’s summer time. For fans of the Brewers and of baseball in general, summer brings around plenty of opportunities to see their favorite players.
And what’s summer without the baseball trade deadline?
Every season, the months of June and July heat up with trade discussions and rumors around the league. Hitters and pitchers alike might go to sleep in one city, then wake up and move everything they have across the country because they were traded.
For fans, this can be exciting and entertaining to see their team make trades to improve their roster.
But, how will Brewers’ fans react during this summer’s trade season?
Buy or Sell?
Brewers’ fans of all ages need to understand that Milwaukee is a very talented ball club. The roster consists of a former MVP, multiple Gold Glove award winners, two Reliever of the Year award winners, a former Rookie of the Year, and three Cy Young award candidates.
That’s a damn good baseball team.
Yet, at the same time, the team has underperformed, especially on offense. The team has the second-worst team batting average, fifth-worst on-base percentage, and third-worst slugging percentage in baseball this year. For playing half of their games in a “hitter-friendly” ballpark, the Brewers have a terrible OPS+ at 84, which is third-worst in the league.
It’s obvious the team needs hitters badly, especially at the corner infield positions and in center field. With many injuries and down seasons from surprising names, it is hard to get a good read on whether the Brewers should buy or sell at the deadline.
Then again: which of the low-value, struggling players are the Brewers going to trade away for a high-value return? There are plenty of those players on the team this year, so making a decent trade package for a notable contributor is going to be a difficult task for the front office.
Thus, the Brewers will more than likely buy at the trade deadline. They can compete for the playoffs with the current roster, but the goal is a World Series championship. Making these trades will help the Brewers get closer to achieving that goal.
Here are some players the Brewers’ front office should at least consider asking about, but not necessarily prioritize, at the trade deadline. Statistics and reasoning have been added as justification for why Milwaukee would consider trading for these players.
A player that fills a positional need, has a .455 slugging percentage, and has one of the top average exit velocities in the league? Putting him in a hitter’s ballpark only makes sense.
While Seager’s batting average has dropped across his career, his barrel percentage has increased up to it’s highest point this season. He doesn’t hit the ball as much anymore, but when he does make contact, the ball goes a long way. Seager could easily replace the team’s current production at third base.
David Stearns has made it apparent that the offense wants to focus on getting players on base to manufacture runs (*insert Jace Peterson’s .316 on-base percentage here*). Story has a .328 OBP this season and is a notorious power hitter with an above-average glove. Where he fits in the infield is up for debate, but Story would easily make the Brewers more than just a fringe playoff contender. Read more about the possibility of trading for Story here.
Boyd is currently having a career season on the mound in Detroit, which could make trading for him a little hard. That being said, the Brewers could use Boyd as a better left-handed option in the starting rotation or as a long reliever.
In his age-31 season, Jean Segura is absolutely mashing the baseball. His .332 batting average would instantly be the best on the team, and with his defensive versatility, Segura can fill holes left by injuries and be a contributor on a playoff team.
The Light Tower of Power that is Joey Gallo is too good to not be on a contending team. Enter the Brewers, who are looking for some much needed production at first base while Keston Hiura still struggles and Daniel Vogelbach recovers from a hamstring injury.
Blockbuster in the Sonoran Desert
The Trade: Brewers acquire 3B Eduardo Escobar and OF Ketel Marte from the Diamondbacks in exchange for INF Luis Urías, OF Jackie Bradley Jr., LHP Eric Lauer, INF Brice Turang (Brewers #2 prospect according to MLB.com), and LHP Ethan Small (Brewers #4 prospect).
A trade between a fringe contender and a basement-level team involving players in contract years?
This is a match made in heaven.
Escobar and Marte are in the final years of their contracts, with Marte having two team options over the next two seasons. Marte, a 27-year-old centerfielder, is having quite the season on the 20-47 Diamondbacks. He is currently slashing .370/.419/.556, having a career year as he enters his peak. Adding Marte would bring Milwaukee an outfielder with defensive versatility and minimal strikeouts. While he is not the fastest runner on the field at any given time, Marte’s bat and glove make up for his average speed.
Eduardo Escobar is the other piece heading to Milwaukee in this mock trade. While he’s older and statistically worse than Marte, Escobar is still an above-average hitter who fills a more glaring hole on the Brewers’ roster. Some might argue that Escobar is the true centerpiece in this trade.
Following a career year in 2019, Escobar struggled in 2020, hitting only .219 with four home runs (162-game total of 12 home runs). His power has returned in 2021, as he’s posted 17 home runs and a .484 slugging percentage. Escobar is not a flashy defender, but is reliable at multiple positions, which is crucial for a team like Milwaukee, who likes to rotate starters at every position.
The injury-riddled Diamondbacks officially enter a rebuilding phase with this trade. With many of their rostered players hitting the injured list this season, the team not only needs pieces to help them prepare for the future, but serviceable pieces that will help them right now.
One of these serviceable pieces is infielder Luis Urías. Urías has yet to fully prove himself at the major league level, and with infield spots already filled in Milwaukee (after adding Escobar), Urías needs to play for a team that can get him consistent playing time for him to have a chance to fully develop. This season, Urías has slashed .236/.332/.402 and has eight home runs, but has struggled with the glove, already posting 13 errors at three different positions.
Left-handed pitcher Eric Lauer also heads back in this hypothetical trade, meaning the Brewers’ will have fully cut their losses from their infamous trade with the San Diego Padres involving Trent Grisham. Lauer has not improved in his time in Milwaukee and Arizona is in desperate need of starting pitching. This gives Lauer another fresh start in a division he is all too familiar with. Lauer has a 2-3 record in 10 games this season (seven starts) with a 4.50 ERA. He has already surrendered 10 home runs this year and a 10.7% barrel percentage against. That being said, the Diamondbacks have almost no pitching right now due to injuries, so adding Lauer into the trade return makes sense.
Jackie Bradley Jr.
The other major league player heading to Arizona is Jackie Bradley Jr. While he has an outstanding glove, Bradley has had his worst season as a hitter in 2021. With an abysmal slash line of .151/.231/.268, Bradley’s first year in Milwaukee has been forgettable at best. A fresh start in a new city with much less pressure would be crucial for Bradley’s career.
Brice Turang and Ethan Small are the two prospects included in this trade. While some fans may see these two as key contributors in the future, there is simply no roster space open for them at the moment, especially for Turang, who plays shortstop. Both have major league Spring Training experience, and both have had great seasons in the minor leagues to start the year, but at some point, the team needs to decide whether they are part of the future of the organization or useful for acquiring other contributors. Turang is the 72nd ranked prospect in all of baseball, and Small sits just outside of the top 100, making this deal very enticing for Arizona to accept.
A Fan-Favorite Returns
The Trade: Brewers acquire 1B Jesus Aguilar from the Marlins in exchange for INF Jesus Parra (Brewers #21 prospect) and 3B Zach Green
With the Brewers struggling to find consistent production at first base this season, it seems right that the team trades for a familiar face.
Jesús Aguilar spent almost three seasons in Milwaukee from 2017 to the middle of the 2019 season. In his time with the Crew, Aguilar hit 59 home runs, slugged .492, and earned an All-Star nod in 2018. He also made a Home Run Derby appearance that season. This season, Aguilar is hitting .260 with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs, which is production the Brewers desperately need at first base.
Aguilar’s ability to hit fastballs ungodly distances and fight off breaking balls for base hits is what should attract the Brewers’ front office to him the most. The team has lacked a hitter that can hold his own against any pitch(er) he sees.
With Garrett Cooper and Lewin Diaz as options at first base outside of Aguilar, the Marlins have the assets to afford to move Aguilar. With no real need for outfielders or pitching at the big-league level (or in terms of top prospects, either), Miami would receive two infielders in this deal.
The first player heading to Miami would be Jesus Parra, Milwaukee’s #21 prospect. The 18-year-old middle infielder has played for the team’s Dominican Summer League affiliate in 2019, but did not play affiliated baseball in 2020. Parra hit .247 with six home runs and a .770 OPS in 65 games that season.
He was only 16 years old that year as well. His above-average power and strong fielding arm will make this trade hard to pass up for Miami.
The other piece traded in this deal is third baseman Zach Green. Green has yet to see the playing field for Milwaukee this season, and probably won’t for the rest of the season. He has proven at the minor league level that he can be a contributor on a major league roster. With Miami’s third baseman Brian Anderson being on the 60-Day IL, Green has a true opportunity to flourish with the Marlins. Despite only hitting .235 at Triple-A Nashville this season, his OPS is almost at .800 and he has 10 home runs.
More Pitching Can’t Hurt
The Trade: Brewers acquire RHP Josh Staumont from the Royals in exchange for OF Tristen Lutz (Brewers #12 prospect)
The Brewers’ bullpen is not as deep this year as it has been in years past. With amazing seasons from the starting pitching so far, the bullpen has not needed to be relied on in many games this year.
This doesn’t mean the team can’t go out and get more help.
Josh Staumont of the Kansas City Royals is a player that can immediately contribute in late-game scenarios. He has a 3.10 ERA in 29 innings pitched this year with five saves, and has finished out 14 games as well. Staumont can help replace the late-game dominance that the team has lacked (outside of Josh Hader) since the team traded J.P. Feyereisen to the Tampa Bay Rays. His fastball is one of the best in the league, but his only downside is a hard fastball produces hard hits. His hard hit percentage against is one of the worst in the league, but is made up for by his .196 batting average against.
The Royals need outfield production and they need it bad. Outside of Andrew Benintendi, their current outfielders are hitting a combined .207 batting average. With Kyle Isbel not seeing the field that much this season, Tristen Lutz could have a legitimate opportunity to make the major leagues if traded here. The Brewers’ #12 prospect won’t be seeing the field anytime soon in Milwaukee, so moving him makes sense. He has versatility to play all three outfield positions and plays great defense.
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