Brewers Have Planned to be Buyers

June 25, 2008 at 9:26 am 7 comments

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The Brewers are a hot team right now, winning 8 of their last 9 and they are 20-7 in their last 27 putting themselves within 5 games of the Cubs for the Central and 1.5 games of the Cardinals for the NL Wild Card. The offense has finally come to fruition and the pen is very respectable. The one area they could use a huge lift is starting pitching and they have the pieces to make a big splash, pieces that seem to me have been planned for a major trade.

The Brewers selected Matt LaPorta witht he 7th overall selection in last year’s Rule-IV draft. It was a selection that raised a lot of eyebrows becuase it was considered a reach and he was blocked at the major league level at the two positions (1B/COF) he can play. I thought right away he could be a trade chip for a playoff push that would start as early as this season and I think the Brewers may go that route.

Arguably the two best starting pitchers that will hit the free agent market next season are C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets. The Brewers have the latter and could very well go after the former. Some have suspected the Brewers to be possible sellers and get a ton back for Ben Sheets at the deadline but I believe they are here to stay and they will make a push for Sabathia.

There are two routes the Brewers can go to get a guy like Sabathia. The first would be to offer a package built around Matt LaPorta that can include OF Michael Brantley and SS Brent Brewer or if there is a better package they can put SS Alicedes Escobar in the deal. The other route they can go is to dangle Prince Fielder (suggested by Buster Olney) and get Sabathia and a prospect in return. They could then promote LaPorta if they believe he is ready.

I still believe the Brewers drafted Matt LaPorta because they believed his bat could be the best out of the 2007 draft and I believe they did it with intent to trade him in the future. He is currently in Double-A and hiting .294/.408/.603 with 20 doubles, 2 triples, 19 homers, 50 runs, 59 RBI, and a 39/55 BB/K rate in 262 at-bats.

The Brewers have been grooming the current group of youngsters (Fielder, Weeks, Hardy, Braun…) to be the centerpieces of this franchise and to build a contender around them. If they make the move for Sabathia they will become one of the favorites in the NL and if they reach the playoffs they will have a beastly offense and a rotation of Sheets/Sabathia/Parra-Suppan.

Eric Gagne is rehabbing now and set to be an added piece to the bullpen. Rickie Weeks is back from the DL and the rest may result in another breakout 2nd half. The one addition missing is in the rotation. The pieces are in place to contend and for a major deal to be struck before teh deadline. Don’t be surprised if the surprising Brewers end up with the prized Sabathia in trade and become serious World Series contenders.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. supremesportsjustice  |  June 25, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    Nice job Jonathan. Not sure I see CC as a Brewer, but it makes sense.

    Reply
  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  June 25, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    I’m still not sure I see CC in a different uni other than CLE but I think the packages that will be presented to the Indians will be hard to pass up and I think the Brewers drafted LaPorta for a scenario like this.

    Reply
  • 3. zen of tom  |  July 2, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    agree’d nice job Jonathan. In the week since you posted this, it’s become more clear that GM Doug Melvin has made it clear he does intend to go out and get a top line pitcher. The Brewers are loaded with prospects. That Double AA Huntsville team is a monster up and down the lineup. Having said that I think LaPorta is untouchable & word here in Milwaukee is that Escobar might be as well. As a fan, I would rather see them unload Weeks and Fielder. Prince is a hack on defense and goes to arbitration next year. He is under contract for 3 more years.

    Reply
  • 4. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  July 2, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks ZoT! It just makes a ton of sense to me for them to go after Sabathia. If they can hold onto LaPorta that would be awesome. If that happens they should explore trading Prince in the offseason. Weeks can be the best offensive 2B if he puts it together but how long can you be patient with him? Right now they have no one to take his spot that can produce even as he hits .220. Melvin isn’t scared to do these things and I think he pulls the trigger on someone big like Sabathia or Harden and holds onto Sheets and lets him walk.

    Reply
  • 5. zen of tom  |  July 2, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Agree’d – the current talk here is not to be surprised if Hardy moves to 2nd with Escobar at SS. Not this year but down the road.

    Personally I’m not crazy about a two month rental in Sabathia if it costs two or three of your best prospects. Have you heard about Matt Gamel? 3b for Huntsville. Dude’s batting around .400 but is an error machine – I believe he’s going to be in the futures game with LaPorta.

    Aside from a potential ace, I’d also like to see them send Tony Gwynn Jr. and whoever else to San Diego for Greg Maddox or Randy Wolf. Wolf’s stats don’t look good but he’s lost at least 4 one run games with next to know run support..

    Reply
  • 6. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  July 2, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    If they move Hardy to 2B with Escobar at SS that would be a good offense up the middle and very good defense.

    I love Gamel’s bat! He is destined for corner OF though unless he can make some adjustments. I am looking forward to the futures game for the US side. The world side looks a little weak.

    I think Wolf would be a great fit. I think he has good numbers. 4.13 ERA. 89/37 K/BB in 98 innings pitched. I’ve always liked his stuff. He would be a good addition but I think the Brewers need a frontline guy. I really like the idea of a contender going after Rich Harden (I’ve heard he can be had and not give up the farm) and using him as a starter then converting him to closer next year. That would be perfect for the Brew Crew.

    Reply
  • 7. 3GUYSANDASPORTSPAGE.COM  |  July 6, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    […] and a 45/63 BB/K rate in 302 at-bats. He has 32 homers in 417 career pro at-bats. The Brewers knew what they were doing when they drafted LaPorta last […]

    Reply

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