Posts Tagged ‘Trade Deadline’

Tim Kurkjian HATES the 2009 Brewers…

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

…or is at least very disappointed in them like most of their fan base is.

I hate how much I'm disappointed in you...now go to your room, Brewers

I don’t know if Timmy had money on the Brewers or what, but for two nights in a row he has put his ripped into the team and organization. First, on Thursday’s “Cold Hard Facts” he said that the Brewers were the team most in trouble in all of baseball. He said their inability to find pitching help after the loss of CC and Sheets has caught up with them and they won’t be able to catch the Cubs and Cards.

Then on Friday, because he didn’t have it out of his system I guess, he said the Milwaukee Brewers were the biggest losers of the trade deadline. He said due to financial constraints and the fact that the team gave up 4 minor league players for CC the year before, the Brewers weren’t able to get anyone. You hear that Claudio? Timmy Kurkjian doesn’t think you even exist!

At first, I was slightly amazed that the Brewers were blasted two nights in a row, but I must say… it’s not like they don’t deserve it.

Let’s Make a Deal (of Some Kind)

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Whether you take a half empty view of the Milwaukee Brewers who have lost 15 of 22 or a half full view of a team who, though struggling of late, still sits a mere four games from the NL Central driver’s seat - one thing is apparent… the Brewers need to make a trade.

A week ago, certain awesome Web sites were buzzing with mention of Milwaukee’s interest in Roy Halladay. At worst, Doug Davis or Erik Bedard seemed possible targets of an above .500 and Wild Card contending team. This past weekend found the Brewers dropping two games to Atlanta; suddenly Jarrod Washburn floated into the picture. And with the month that was(n’t) in Brewers baseball encapsulated in Monday’s embarrassing 14-6 bedshitting against the laughable Nationals, selling may seem a better option if trades are to be made.

I don’t intend my use of that nasty word “sell” we’ve all been introduced to during our purgatories lives as Brewers fans to indicate I personally want to sell parts and gear up for next season. I still think the team is a small part or two short of making some noise and knocking on the division’s door - and the acquisition of Felipe Lopez proves Milwaukee’s front office wants to address that. But I do admit the prospect of, well, prospects is crossing my mind a bit more of late. 

I for one am glad Melvin and Co. seem to have backed off the Roy Halladay bidding war. Based on reports of Toronto’s bartering with Philadelphia, it’s not a transaction worth Milwaukee (or anyone) getting into. But beyond the anti-Halladay sentiment I know I possess, I teeter ever more on the fence of wanting the Brewers to remain “buyers” or become “sellers” with every lost series.

Smart Shoppers
• If a 4th place team who intends to start Carlos Villanueva (IN AN ACTUAL GAME IN LATE JULY) intends to add a pitcher, you can be sure it probably won’t be one of astonishing variety. Jarrod Washburn is about the biggest name I’d expect to float in to town, but I don’t even expect that kind of name.

• Oakland’s Justin Duchscherer should be rehabbed and ready to pitch within two weeks. He earns under $2M this season, will be a free agent after this season (Type B possibly?) and can reportedly be had for “a modest prospect”. The risk of trading for a player coming off injury is certainly there, but losing a “modest prospect” to get a cheap No. 2 or 3-caliber rental could be a rewarding move.

• Lure Paul Byrd or Kenny Rogers out of retirement. What’s that? Kenny Rogers isn’t retired!?! Oh. Keep an eye out for some recently waived or newly-retired pitcher to join Milwaukee in its pennant race. I don’t see it as likely, but The Moustache’s milkshake has managed to bring many a retired boy to the yard before.

Buyer Beware
• When names like Mike Burns and (pukes while crying) Carlos Villanueva are being scribbled on lineup cards, names like Jarrod Washburn, Doug Davis and Carl Pavano suddenly look a lot better. But deep down, you know these guys aren’t good pitchers and eventually the marvelous carriage that is their suddenly average pitching skill will revert to its true rotten pumpkin/bloated salaried self. Is it these pitchers you want? Or rather, is it the random change giving the illusion of helping a team that you crave? JARROD WASHBURN IS NOT GOOD. Trust me.

• A little known fact about the process of trading: Both teams involved in a trade must surrender something of value to the other team. Though the Brewers may inexplicably harbor interest in any or all of the aforementioned pitchers, so may many other teams - thus rendering the demand for these marginal players greater which, in turn, drives up the value for said marginal players. Think to yourself, “Self, do I truly think getting (insert name of lackluster pitcher on trading block) is worth losing one or some of Alcides Escobar, Taylor Green, Mat Gamel, J.J. Hardy, Angel Salome, Lorenzo Cain, Jonathan Lucroy, Cody Scarpetta or Brett Lawrie?” The answer would surprise you. It’s “no” … or “maybe” in the cases of J.J. Hardy and Brett Lawrie.

Seller now or Cellar in 2012
• We all know the world will end in 2012, but that doesn’t mean our last season of Brewers baseball has to be bad. If the Brewers don’t see the playoffs as being likely, they may as well try to unload a soon-to-be free agent to ensure a more promising future. Al notes Mike Cameron, Braden Looper and Trevor Hoffman will all be free agents going into 2010 (Looper has mutual option). Cameron netting a decidedly rebuilding Brewers club a few decent minor leaugers and some salary relief is more than he’d give them when he’s declining a lowball Brewers offer this offseason and playing elsewhere. In terms of a Hardy or Hart trade though, I’d assume they would be more valuable to teams this offseason.

If at First you don’t Succeed, Trade, Trade Again
• It is quite possible the Brewers front office has no F-ing clue whether the team is of the buying or selling variety at this point, and won’t be Friday’s trade deadline. I mean, I have no clue… I’ve written 1,000 words about this. Luckily, trades (of sorts) can be enacted after the deadline through waiver claims - a la the Adam Dunn trade to the Diamondbacks last season. After July 31, more teams will better know their playoff fate, and values of unsold hacks will reduce to near fair levels presently unseen. Just because the trade deadline elapses doesn’t mean the Brewers are standing pat with their roster.

And if they do go trade free for the remainder of the year, who knows, maybe they’ll get their heads out of their asses and make the playoffs anyway. As is, it’s not a bad team.

The Halladay Special

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

A couple days ago, I said the signs coming from the Brewers front office indicated the flirtation with the Blue Jays front office regarding Roy Halladay appeared to be more than just a passing interest (POST). Today, it looks like I was right. Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman has reported that the Brewers are a “serious threat” to get Toronto’s ace in a trade.

He went on to call the Brewers a “serious player” and stated they were “aggressive” in their pursuit of the talented righty. Heyman even quoted one “Brewers person” (wow, that’s vague…) as saying, “We’re going to be aggressive,” and spoke with two executives from other teams that said GM Doug Melvin has what it takes to get a deal done.

The part of the article that stuck out to me though is that Heyman seems to believe lefty starter Manny Parra would be part of any swap between the clubs. I just can’t see that happening.

First of all, the Brewers are considering a trade for Halladay because of their dreadful starting pitching depth. Including Parra in the trade would improve the front end of the rotation significantly, but they’d still have to start Mike Burns or another replacement pitcher until Dave Bush, who is still weeks away from returning, comes back from injury. The effect would almost be a wash. The team would likely win most of the games Halladay starts and lose most of the games their fifth pitcher starts. Even with Halladay, the Brewers would have to bank on Parra and his recent improvements to help them make the postseason. They can’t deal him away.

Secondly, looking beyond this season, Parra is a 26-year-old starter that the Brewers control for something like five more seasons. Yes, he’s struggled at times, but the reason Brewers fans have been so frustrated with his production is we can all see how much raw talent he has. His ceiling is at least a #2 pitcher, perhaps higher. It’s no shock he’s appealing to the Blue Jays despite his struggles. But the Brewers are starved for pitching in the majors and have very little in the way of pitching in the higher levels of the minors. Can they really afford to deal a young starter that’s already contributing on the big-league team? I just don’t see it happening…

When you consider the other names Heyman mentioned as trade targets for the Blue Jays in the article — prospects Alcides Escobar, Mat Gamel and Brett Lawrie — the trade just becomes too much to stomach. One of those three top prospects as part of a package would be one thing (though I’ve mentioned that I don’t see a scenario where the Brewers deal Escobar), but one of those prospects along with Parra and probably even more? It might not be out of line for the Blue Jays to ask for that, but I can’t imagine that fitting into the Brewers’ plans.

Meanwhile, as these Parra rumors surface, Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi continues to say a deal for Halladay is unlikely, but don’t be fooled. Halladay will be on another team by the end of the month. His value is as high as it will ever be and the organization cannot put the team and the player through this grueling process again. When it comes down to crunch time as the trade deadline approaches, the Blue Jays will have to accept the best deal and move on.

Ricciardi said today that four teams are “serious” in competing for Halladay. Rumored teams include the Brewers, Phillies, Cardinals, Angels and Dodgers. The most mentioned destination, Philadelphia, might actually be losing steam as the Phillies are rumored to have moved on after not being open to including top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek in a trade. The Cardinals probably don’t have the prospects to finish a deal. And the Angels and Dodgers seem more like they’re just poking around than serious at this point. That leaves the Brewers. But are they a match?

Halladay would be an outstanding addition for the Brewers and one that could help them this season and next. The Brewers have some nice prospects they could package in a deal that would benefit both sides and the team might even be willing to include shortstop J.J. Hardy if the Blue Jays are interested in him. But if I were Melvin, I’d leave Parra off the table. If the Blue Jays won’t pull the trigger on a deal without him, move on. Halladay isn’t the only arm out there.

Brewers ‘Serious Player’ for Halladay

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

This deserves it’s own post.

SI’s Jon Heyman reported earlier today on his Twitter account that the Brewers were being aggressive in their pursuit of Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay. He’s now backed that up with an in-depth article on the Brewers bid for the righty, which might include adding lefty starter Manny Parra to the trade.

More on this later.

Halladay’s Trade Value

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

As is often the case in trade speculation, there is a wide range of opinions on what Roy Halladay is actually worth on the trade market. His perceived value — in the media, amongst fans and on blogs — ranges from obscenely slanted in favor of the Blue Jays (any five players in any minor-league system) to ridiculously weighted in favor of whatever team the Blue Jays trade him to (salary dump for marginal prospects). Obviously, the truth is somewhere closer to the first suggestion, but I still feel Halladay’s perceived value is skewed way too high in general right now.

Luckily, Halladay wouldn’t be the first ace to be dealt in the past few seasons. We have precedence to go on. Johan Santana, C.C. Sabathia, Jake Peavy, Dan Haren and Erik Bedard all have ace-like numbers and have been dealt in recent seasons. Let’s analyze those trades on the surface and see if we can come up with any conclusions.

Johan Santana

The Mets sent four players to the Twins — their #2, 3, 4 and 7 prospects, according to Baseball America.

Santana was younger than Halladay at the time of the trade, has better numbers than Halladay and the Twins offered the Mets a window of time to sign Santana to an extension. The Jays will not do that with any Halladay trade. So, the Blue Jays should get slightly less value in a trade of Halladay than the Twins got for Santana.

C.C. Sabathia

The Brewers sent four players, including their #1 prospect, according to Baseball America, to the Indians. Michael Brantley, a highly regarded AA outfielder at the time, likely would have been in the Brewers’ top 10 this year if he was still in the system and he was ranked #9 in the Indians system. Rob Bryson was a lower level prospect and Zack Jackson was a failed prospect.

Sabathia was younger than Halladay and as good of a pitcher as him, but was just a half-season rental in this trade. The Blue Jays should get more for Halladay than the Brewers paid for Sabathia.

Jake Peavy

Peavy nixed the trade, but the White Sox were prepared to send their #2 and 3 prospects, according to Baseball America, and two players to be named later to the Padres in a deal for the San Diego pitcher.

Peavy is younger and has very similar numbers to Halladay. He is signed to a reasonable deal through 2012 with a 2013 option so any team that would trade for him would be getting him for a handful of years. That increases his trade value to some degree, but the financial risk involved is also greater. I think the Blue Jays should expect a similar return on Halladay to this nixed deal.

Dan Haren

The Oakland As received six players, including their #1, 3, 7 and 8 prospects, according to Baseball America, for Haren.

Haren was younger than Halladay, had similar numbers and was signed to a low-cost deal for three years. The Blue Jays should not expect as much as the Diamondbacks paid for Haren if they trade Halladay.

Erik Bedard

The Orioles got five players, including former Mariners #1 prospect Adam Jones (he was entering his second year in the majors at the time) and their #3 prospect, according to Baseball America. The Orioles also received a nice MLB relief pitcher, George Sherrill, and two other minor leaguers.

The Mariners got Bedard for two full seasons. The pitcher was younger than Halladay and had great numbers in 2007, but was less proven and more of an injury risk. The Blue Jays could probably expect a similar return on Halladay.

What Have We Learned?

First of all, this all very subjective since prospect rankings within individual systems depend on how good that minor-league system is, but it can at least give us a general idea of what Halladay is worth.

Based on recent trades of aces, it looks as though the Blue Jays should be able to reasonably expect to get two top 5 prospects, another prospect in the top 10 range and one additional player for Halladay.

What Could the Brewers Offer?

I made a post yesterday about the possibility of including shortstop J.J. Hardy in a trade with the Blue Jays. The tough thing there is it’s hard to peg down what Hardy’s value would be to the Jays or if they would even be interested in him. They definitely need a shortstop of the future, but Hardy is only a season and a half away from free agency. If the Jays thought he could be the answer at the position for them, they could trade for him and hope to work out a long-term deal before he reached free agency. With so many ifs in that scenario though, I’ll go with a simpler proposal for now.

The Brewers could offer third baseman Mat Gamel (the Brewers #1 prospect according to Baseball America), catcher Angel Salome (#5), pitcher Zach Braddock and one additional prospect.

The Brewers could afford to deal Gamel because they have another highly regarded third base prospect, Taylor Green, climbing up the system. Likewise, the Brewers could trade Salome because catcher Jonathan Lucroy is a level behind but equal or ahead of Salome in prospect rankings. Lefty Zach Braddock is having a breakout season this year and has moved up to AA. He was not listed on the BA top 10 before the season, but would likely be near the bottom of the top 10 if they redid the rankings now. In fact, Braddock is the Brewers #7 prospect, according to the most recent BrewerFan.net Power 50. The final prospect would probably someone in the #10-20 range in terms of prospect rankings. A high-ceiling pitcher like Wily Peralta, Cody Scarpetta, Evan Anundsen or Jake Odorizzi would probably fit the bill.

So, What Do You Think?

Should the Brewers offer a deal of something like Gamel/Salome/Braddock/Odorizzi for Halladay?

The Brewers are in a unique position where the top two prospects in that proposal would have other highly regarded prospects at their positions that could move up the totem pole behind them if they were to be dealt. It would make the deal’s blow to the minor-league system a bit easier to take, in that regard anyway.

However, it would hurt to lose the pitching prospects since the Brewers’ minor-league system is starving for pitching at the higher levels and the Brewers hope those players will develop into big-league arms in the coming seasons.

The addition of Halladay would be a huge boost to the team though. The starting rotation is the clear weak spot and an upgrade is necessary if the team is expected to make the playoffs this season. A top two of Halladay and Gallardo would be imposing in regular season match-ups and even more so in a post-season series. The money Halladay is due would certainly be an issue as it would put major constraints on an already tight budget for this season and next, but if the front office can make it work, it’d certainly help set up this team for success. Furthermore, the NL Central and the NL as a whole are pretty weak this season so any boost, and especially an addition as good as Halladay, could mean a big difference in how far the team can go.

Since the Brewers would have Halladay again next season, it would set up well with the window this team has to compete. Many of the key young players will reach free agency years by 2011 or 2012, meaning the Brewers will have some tough decisions to make in regards to contracts and who should be traded to restock the minor-league system by the time those seasons roll around. Realistically, 2009 and 2010 are probably the last years this core group will be together.

The more I think about a move like this, the more I support it. I’m usually not in favor of gutting a minor-league system, but the circumstances seem to be right in this case for the Brewers to make an aggressive push for the postseason.

If you were the Brewers GM, would you offer Mat Gamel, Angel Salome, Zach Braddock and Jake Odorizzi for a season and a half of Roy Halladay?

J.J. a Jay?

Monday, July 20th, 2009

It’s rare for a team to deal a key member of the team in the middle of a season in which they hope to compete in the playoffs, but the Brewers are in a unique position. With one of the best prospects in baseball, shortstop Alcides Escobar, knocking at the door, the Brewers could choose to deal J.J. Hardy for pitching. It would be a calculated risk that would involve losing a veteran leader and risking clubhouse camaraderie, but it might be in the best interest of the Brewers for this season and possibly beyond.

Danny Knobler of CBS Sports recently reported on the possibility of a Hardy trade:

A team that talked to the Brewers was told that shortstop J.J. Hardy could be available “in the right deal.”

“In a right deal” is a pretty vague term, but one would have to assume a trade involving the Brewers receiving Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay would be the “right deal.” Halladay would give the Brewers the legitimate difference maker in the rotation that they need.

There are many questions surrounding a possible deal involving Hardy, however.

Would Halladay be worth it?

Yes, he’s been one of the most consistent, injury free starters in baseball for the last several years. He’s widely considered one of the best pitchers in baseball and his stats should only improve with a move to the NL.

Could the Brewers afford to go with a rookie at short in place of Hardy if they still want to compete this season?

Hard to say… Escobar might be ready for the jump to the majors right now, but he also might struggle. By all accounts, he is a perennial gold glove talent at short, so the defense should actually improve at least a little (since Hardy is no scrub defensively either). Offensively, Escobar does not have the power or experience Hardy has so there would likely be a dropoff. That said, Hardy is having a bad year at the plate. He’s hitting just .229 this season with only 11 home runs and an OBP under .300. Meanwhile, Escobar, who was once considered a long-term project offensively, has made great strides with the bat in AAA. He’s hitting .295 with three home runs and a .349 OBP for Nashville this season. Those numbers likely wouldn’t translate to MLB at those levels, but one would think Escobar should at least be able to match Hardy’s offensive contributions to this point. He won’t hit as many home runs, but he has a lot more speed (33 stolen bases so far this season). Also, with the recent acquisition of Felipe Lopez, the Brewers have some protection if Escobar were to struggle. Lopez could shift from second base to shortstop in that scenario.

Why not trade Escobar instead of Hardy?

Hardy will be a free agent after next season. As the young Brewers players become free agents over the next couple of years, the team will have to make some tough financial decisions. With Escobar coming at a much lower cost and already on the cusp of the big leagues, Hardy is expendable. The Brewers will control Escobar more cheaply for more years. He is the future at shortstop.

Trading Hardy would also make it a little bit easier for the Brewers to take on Halladay’s big contract (the rest of the $14.25 million he’s owed this year and all of the $15.75 million he’ll get next year).

How much more would it take?

The Blue Jays aren’t going to swap Halladay for Hardy alone. Not even close… They’ll want at least one top prospect and probably two additional high-ceiling types to fill out the deal. I’d say Hardy, third baseman Mat Gamel and two B-level prospects should be close to getting it done. That’s a proven MLB player, one of the top prospects in the Brewers system and two other high-ceiling prospects (probably at least one and possibly both of them being pitchers). The Brewers could afford to trade Gamel since they have some depth at third both in the majors and the minors and there is no guarantee Gamel will stick at the hot corner anyway. The system is thin on starting pitcher prospects in the high levels, but there are a number of intriguing pitching prospects in the lower levels. While it would hurt to lose one or two of the quality young arms the Brewers are trying to build up, it would be worth it for a season and a half of a surefire ace like Halladay.

Will the Blue Jays even want Hardy?

Most reports say that the Blue Jays are interested in Escobar, which isn’t surprising, but the Brewers aren’t interested in moving him. So, would the Blue Jays want J.J.? Hard to say… Hardy has struggled this season so far, but was an All-Star two years ago and had an All-Star-caliber season again last year. He has significant power for the shortstop position and is above average defensively. He’s still young and you have to believe he’ll shake out of this slump at some point, especially since he’s a notoriously streaky hitter. He has one more year of arbitration left after this season, so the Blue Jays would have him through the 2010 season. The Jays could hold onto Halladay through the 2010 season if they wanted, so with Halladay on the trading block right now, it’s unlikely they view 2010 as a season to go for it. That said, the organization needs a shortstop of the future since Marco Scutaro is not a long-term answer. They could view Hardy as the man. While the Jays would have a hard time coming up with the coin to lock up Doc Halladay for the long term, they could likely sign Hardy to a multi-year deal if both sides were interested.

So, what if the Blue Jays don’t want Hardy?

I think Hardy remains the Brewers’ best trading chip (both in terms of what other teams value and what the Brewers can afford to give up), so if the Blue Jays aren’t interested in Hardy, the Brewers should shop him elsewhere.

Would the Red Sox swap Clay Buchholz for Hardy? That deal would benefit both sides as the Sox would upgrade a major team weakness without giving up a player on their MLB roster and the Brewers would get a talented young starter that they’d control for the next several years. Buchholz has proved he’s ready for the bigs again and could have a strong second half in the majors.

A well-known Mariners fan blog suggested last week that a trade of starters Erik Bedard and Wisconsin native Jarrod Washburn, both free agents to be, for Hardy would make sense for both teams. Would former Brewer head scout and current Mariners GM Jack Z actually consider this? If so, that’s a great alternative for the Brewers. They’d get two quality starters and could collect some draft picks when the pitchers leave in free agency after the season.

Asdrubal Cabrera is a pretty nice option at shortstop for the Indians, but he can also play second base, where the Indians don’t have a solid starter. Would the Indians be interested in taking Hardy as part of a Cliff Lee deal?

I wouldn’t give up Hardy for other options that are out there right now (Brad Penny, Doug Davis, Jon Garland, etc.), but who knows what else might happen before the trade deadline. The Brewers should keep all options open.

The Bottom Line

Hardy is a fan favorite and a respected veteran in the clubhouse. Dealing him in the middle of the season would shake up the fanbase and the clubhouse, but if the team can get quality starting pitching for him in a deal, it might be the right move to set the team up for a big second half.

There’s Smoke on Halladay

Monday, July 20th, 2009

I’m not saying Doug Melvin is about to lock in a trade for Roy Halladay, but it is clear the Brewers are very serious about trying to land the ace. And it’s Melvin’s increasing levels of vagueness that are tipping his hand.

Does anyone else recall last season when Brewers GM Doug Melvin repeatedly denied the Brewers and Indians were closing in on a deal for CC Sabathia? For a little refresher, here’s a blurb from an article that was printed less than a week before Melvin finalized that trade last year:

Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin laughed Monday when asked if his team really was the leader in the C.C. Sabathia Sweepstakes.

“Just the same old rumors,” Melvin said.

Sound familiar?

Most Brewers fans should know by now that Melvin is the master of deception on trade dealings. He won’t lie, but to truly get to the bottom of trade discussions, you have to read between the lines of what he’s saying.

First off, if there is no possibility of a trade or no interest in a trade on the Brewers part, Melvin will flat out say that. In this case, he has actually admitted there is interest.

Melvin will also indicate whether he’s had discussions with a certain team, which usually helps determine the Brewers interest. He has admitted the Brewers and Blue Jays are discussing Halladay.

But the most telling characteristics seem to be that the closer Melvin gets to a deal, the more he shoots down the possibilities of trades in the media and the more he speaks in generalities. In this case, he’s been noticeably vague and less than optimistic, especially this week:

  • July 8: “When a general manager says he is listening to offers, yeah, I’ll call,” said Melvin. “I haven’t called yet.”
  • July 17: “We’ve had a conversation with them. I don’t want to get into the details. I don’t want to characterize it at this point.”
  • July 17: “I’ve said it would be highly unlikely (to trade either Alcides Escobar or Mat Gamel),” Melvin said. “They are as ‘untouchable’ as any player can be. I don’t want to say anything more.”
  • July 19: “I know what their expectations are and I don’t know if I want to meet them,” said Melvin, who has said he does not want to trade Gamel of shortstop prospect Alcides Escobar. “Teams are asking a lot for pitching.”

Another sign that this is more than a passing interest on the Brewers part is how Journal-Sentinel Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt is covering the rumors. There might not be anyone closer to the team (without being employed by them) than Haudricourt. Earlier this season, he basically said there was absolutely no chance of the Brewers pulling off a deal for Halladay. Take a look at how quickly he’s changed his mind over the past couple weeks:

  • July 8: “Melvin said Wednesday he would make a call to Toronto’s J.P. Ricciardi, who announced he will listen to offers for ace Roy Halladay.”
  • July 11: “If Brewers general manager Doug Melvin holds true to his promise of not trading top prospects Mat Gameland Escobar, don’t look for Roy Halladay to be wearing a Milwaukee uniform in the second half.”
  • July 17: “Melvin has said he considered Gamel and Escobar “untouchables” in any trade talks but hedged ever so slightly on that characterization Friday.”
  • July 17: “Because I knew what Toronto would want in exchange for right-hander Roy Halladay, I initially thought the Brewers had no chance of jumping into the bidding. But, after speaking with general manager Doug Melvin today about Halladay, I’m not so sure.”
  • July 17: “So, it’s obvious the Brewers are looking at all the angles regarding Halladay, which indicates more than casual interest. Whether they would pony up what it would take to get him, much less outbid other serious suitors, remains to be seen. But it seems as if they are kicking the tires pretty hard.”
  • July 18: “The Brewers see themselves as a perennial contender in the NL Central. Let’s see if they can convince Halladay of that and come up with an acceptable package for the Blue Jays.”
  • July 19 via Twitter: “Dick Groch, the top scouting asst. to Brewers GM Doug Melvin, is in Toronto today, watching Halladay pitch. Brewers definitely interested.”
  • July 19: “When Groch is around, the Brewers have serious interest.”

The national media has even started to notice the Brewers as serious suitors for Halladay. Within just the last couple days, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has said, “The Brewers are one of the teams flying under the radar for Roy Halladay” and  Danny Knobler of CBS Sports has said, “The latest news is that the Brewers were set to have two high-level emissaries at the Rogers Centre Sunday, when Halladay faced (and beat) the Red Sox.”

I don’t know that a deal will get made (in fact, I’d still say it’s unlikely), but there is definitely “smoke” on these trade talks. The Brewers are more than a casual suitor here. They are most likely preparing an offer for Toronto, if they haven’t already made one. And we’ll know within the next 10 days or so if it’ll be enough.

In the meantime, the debate will rage among Brewers fans (much like with CC last year) if Halladay is worth the high price he’ll command in a trade…

Braun’s Comments

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

By now, I’m sure you’ve all read them, but here’s a recap of some of what Braun said today after the game (cut out of the JSOnline article and the Brewers.com article):

“We’re at the point right now where it would be important for us to go out there and acquire somebody.”

“I know (Melvin) is trying to make our ballclub better. I know he recognizes the importance of making a move and making it soon, but at the same time I think everybody’s recognized there’s a lot of teams that are still in the race.”

“With that being said, it would be nice to make a move to help us out for the time being. The sooner we do it, the better.”

“It’s always important to have some momentum going into the second half and to show everybody that we’re for real so we can go out there and make a move and improve our ballclub. We want to be headed in the right direction, not the wrong direction to go out and do that.”

“(The Cubs) threw the ball a lot better than our starters did. They certainly swung the bats better than we did as well. Clearly, they were the better team.”

“Their starting pitching was clearly a lot better than ours in this series. All four guys we saw in this series are No. 1, worst-case, No. 2-type starters. They make big pitches in big situations. You’re not always going to get hits in those situations.”

“We need to find a way to throw the ball a little better to have success. When you’re constantly behind in games, it’s not easy. It’s not fun. Their starting pitching was clearly a lot better than ours this series.”

Personally, I don’t have a problem with anything Braun said. I don’t think his comments will make him any tighter with Seth McClung or Mike Burns, the players he seems to be calling out, but McClung seems like the kind of firey guy that will react positively to comments like this (although he’s likely ticketed for a return to the bullpen) and Burns, well, he’s really just a warm body they can throw on the mound right now anyway… Melvin probably isn’t too keen on being called out by his own players, but I’m sure he respects Braun’s intensity. Afterall, they both are after the same thing — winning.

What I think has been lost a bit in the comments is that they should work to rally the team too. Braun has done this before. Remember the Red Sox series at Fenway last year and the “I almost felt like this series, we didn’t expect to win” comments? The Brewers aren’t nearly as bad off now as they were then, but Braun’s comments can serve the same purpose: To unite the team, refocus them a bit and get them fighting together again. The Brewers turned things around after Braun called his teammates out last year. Why not this year too?

Dave Bush and Manny Parra should return in the coming weeks and that will help. Plus I think we all believe Melvin will do something before the trade deadline, and whatever players he does acquire will serve as an additional boost to the team. The Brewers are a game out of first place and have the first place team coming to town. It’s time to rally, not panic. Braun’s comments could help push the Brewers to a strong finish to the first half of the season and give them some momentum before they get to the stretch run.

It’s a GD Arms Race

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Things aren’t looking too hot for pitching  acquisitions for the Brewers this year. Most Brewer fans I’ve talked to were so sure the team was going to get Peavy and now it looks like no one is going to want him this year. Let’s take some time and look at some at some of the Brewers options for pitchers that could possibly be acquired. The first five are difference makers and the rest are, well, the rest:

1) Jake Peavy - Pros - The Brewers would have him for more than just half of a season, he’s a certified ace
Cons - He’s hurt, might not be himself the rest of the year, and oh yeah, has a no trade clause.

2) Roy Halladay - Pros - Absolute stud of a pitcher, has earned the Cy Young Award in the AL (much like another acquisition)
Cons - Also hurting, a lot to give up for another rent a player

3) Eric Bedard - Pros - Lefty with ace-like stuff, never played in the NL (many pitchers do better in the NL), Brewers do like their Canucks
Cons - Also hurting with a shoulder inflammation

4) Cliff Lee - Pros - Stop me if you heard this before…Lefty from Cleveland, former Cy Young award winner, great ERA, is 12-2 against the NL
Cons - He isn’t CC and there would be a lot of pressure on him to be one, sure he won the Cy Young but he also was sent down to the minors the year before

5) Brandon Webb - Pros - Great sinkerballer, former Cy Young winner
Cons - Has been hurt all year, might not be himself the rest of the year

6) Ben Sheets - Pros - Former Brewer ace, great guy to keep in Milwaukee, won’t cost a prospect
Cons - Don’t know what you’re getting, will probably be injured again, doesn’t seem to want to be in Milwaukee

7) Pedro Martinez - Pros - Veteran Pitcher with Post Season experience, Won’t cost a prospect
Cons - Old, Hurt, Expensive, Would do more positive as a coach than a pitcher probably

8) Johnathan Sanchez - Pros - Young Lefty possibly on the cheap
Cons - Do we really need another Manny Parra?

9) Brad Penny - Pros - None
Cons - Everything

10) Tom Glavine - Pros - Veteran Pitcher with Post Season Experience, Won’t cost a prospect
Cons - Don’t know if he can last till the Post Season

11) Justin Duchscherer - Pros - Had an amazing season last year, probably cheaper than most others
Cons - Hurt this year, hasn’t proven to be a consistent and healthy starter

12) Dontrelle Willis - Pros - Could be a cheap difference maker
Cons - Probably a cheap headache, hasn’t been dominant for a couple years now

13) Jarrod Washburn - Pros - Former UWO boy comes to his home state, veteran lefty, cheaper than Bedard
Cons - He’s doing well now but hasn’t done well in previous years, can veto a trade

14) Nate Robertson - Pros - Cheap Lefty Arm, could be serviceable
Cons - Not worth much anyway

15) Doug Davis - Pros - Former Brewer, lefty, having a good year, probably fairly cheap
Cons - Not a difference maker

16) Ian Snell - Pros - Young pitcher that can strike out a lot of batters
Cons - He reminds me of Oliver Perez which means he can’t be trusted, Pirates won’t trade him to a team in the central

Insomniac Ink