Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Royal Proposition

With the addition of Eric Gagne, the Milwaukee Brewers have only one glaring hole going into the 2007 season: Left field. Since I feel my prowess as a fantasy baseball GM qualifies me to run a real team, I have a suggestion for Doug Melvin: Call the Royals. It's hard to imagine a better match.

Kansas City recently signed Jose Guillen and the team is reportedly high on Joey Gathright for one of the other OF positions. That leaves Mark Teahen and David DeJesus fighting for the other spot. Both are young players with significant upside who hit from the left side, a quality the Brewers desperately need since only one regular starter currently on the team hits left, Prince Fielder. DeJesus has been mentioned in trade rumors this offseason, but I personally think Teahen would be a better match. He has experience at third base so if Braun's defensive struggles were to continue, the team could slide Teahen there and move Braun to the outfield. Teahen can also play first and would be a nice option if Fielder needs a day or two off. DeJesus is a CF. The team would probably have to move Hall to a corner outfield position to accommodate him.

The Royals may be willing to give up one of the two players for pitching. Kyle Davies and former Brewer Jorge De La Rosa are hardly inspiring starter options for KC. A Capuano for Teahen or DeJesus swap would seem to be tailor-made for the two clubs. While Capuano struggled last year, he is only a year away from being an all-star and with starting pitching at such a premium, especially for lefties, his trade value is still high. If the Royals wouldn't bite on a straight swap, a mid-level prospect could be enough to get the trade completed.

Batting Order
1. Weeks - 2B, R
2. Teahen - LF, L
3. Braun - 3B, R
4. Fielder - 1B, L
5. Hart - RF, R
6. Hall - CF, R
7. Hardy, SS, R
8. Kendall, C, R

1. Sheets, R
2. Gallardo, R
3. Suppan, R
4. Villanueva, R
5. Parra, L

Closer - Gagne
Set up - Turnbow
Middle relief - Riske, Mota, Torres, Bush
Situational lefty - Shouse

Gross - OF, L
Dillon - U, R
Counsell - SS, L
Rivera - C, R
Gwynn - OF, L

It looks like the team may non-tender Mench and Wise if they can't trade them in the next day or two. I also think McClung's roster spot is in jeopardy with the recent bullpen additions. The Brewers would have to trade Vargas before the season in my proposal as it appears there is not a role for him on the team barring an unforeseen move (like Sheets being traded).

If the trade for Teahen were made, the Brewers would have one of the most complete teams in MLB from hitting to pitching to the bench. They would be relying on some old/potentially risky arms in the bullpen and some young/unproven arms in the rotation, have a right-handed heavy batting order and would be thin at back-up catcher, but if those were there biggest worries, they'd still be in better shape than almost any team in baseball. With several average fill-in-type back-up options in the minors for the bullpen (Choate, Stetter, Spurling, Aquino) and a former starter on hand in Bush, the team should be able to at least band-aid any problems there. Gross, Gwynn and Counsell can give guys days off or pinch hit late in games to help break up the right-handed hitters in the line-up. And there aren't many teams in baseball who are completely comfortable with their catching situation. If Rivera can't cut it, Wisconsin-born utility man Vinny Rottino might get a shot (which the fans would love) and Eric Munson, who Milwaukee claimed off waivers earlier this offseason, could also be an option.

With the addition of a left-handed OF to this squad, the Brewers would become a very deep, talented team that would be the early favorites to take the NL Central crown in 2008. If I were making the call, I'd target Teahen.


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