By some miracle from the baseball gods, the Milwaukee Brewers are tied for first place in the National League Central Division. Both the Brewers and Reds are 43-38, and both have negative run differentials (-21 for Milwaukee and -16 for Cincinnati).
In fact, the only team in the division with a positive run differential is the fourth place Chicago Cubs (37-42 with a +32 run differential). The big question for Milwaukee, as the trade deadline draws closer and closer, is should they buy or sell at the trade deadline?
Obviously, last season’s trade deadline deal that sent Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres was an unmitigated disaster. While the organization may be wary about messing with clubhouse chemistry again, it is unclear whether or not a trade will even fix the problems this team has.
This is the prognosis given to Milwaukee, also, by Major League Baseball insiders writing for The Athletic.
Are Any Milwaukee Brewers Trades on the Horizon?
The Brewers currently have the second-worst team batting average (.226) in baseball, trailing only the Oakland Athletics. They rank 25th out of 30 in team on-base percentage (.305) and 28th in slugging percentage (.370). Their .675 team slugging percentage is 26th in baseball.
In other words, the offense is terrible. There is no way to sugarcoat it. It is incredibly disappointing.
Of what they team could do at the trade deadline, The Athletic insiders wrote:
“Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Brewers’ offense is bad. Bad bad. Like last-in-the-NL-in-every-triple-slash-category bad. And yet, they’re in a (pillow) fight for first place!
“The clock is ticking. A boatload of Brewers hit free agency after next season — Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Willy Adames, Eric Lauer, Adrian Houser — and so Brewers GM Matt Arnold must decide whether to go for it in a winnable division or trade the likes of Burnes and Adames now to maximize the return.
“My guess is the Brewers will hold onto their top guys, get a rental bat like C.J. Cron and start talking about how getting Woodruff back from the IL is a big deadline acquisition. Thread that needle.”
The real question here is: can the Brewers make a series run to the World Series as is? The simple answer is, “No.” If Milwaukee makes the postseason as is, it will be just another quick out in the divisional round with no offense from Brewers bats.
On the other hand, they are still in first place. Perhaps adding a bat or two can provide a jolt to the lineup as a whole.
What Would the Milwaukee Brewers Have to Give Up for CJ Cron?
CJ Cron was an All-Star last season and finished 2022 hitting .257/.315/.468 with 29 home runs and 102 RBI. This year, though, he has appeared in only 39 games and is hitting .233/.278/.418 with six home runs and 21 RBI.
That does not seem like the boost Milwaukee needs, but he is hitting .279/.326/.465 against left-handed pitching, which is probably the biggest weakness on the Brewers’ woeful offense.
The good news is that Cron should come cheap. According to Baseball Trade Values, he has a -1.1 trade value, meaning that the Brewers should be able to give up a low-level prospect for him, in theory. The reality may be more difficult, but the point is that it should not cost the team a big-name prospect.