I understand that it is just Spring Training and that we are a long way off from any speculation of trade deadline talk. However, there are some performances this spring already making some trades appealing to think about. We will mock up two possible trade proposals, and one of them will happen.
The Brewers made a multitude of moves this season, however, none of them focused on the starting pitching. Sorry Josh Tomlin but you are really not a big deal. The Brewers could still be looking into signing Dallas Keuchel, but that appears unlikely. Which, to be fair, there are many young arms in the organization existing that could turn into impact arms this season. No need to spend money on a declining veteran pitcher if you don’t have to. That being said, halfway through the season if the Brewers are where they think they will be, they will likely be in a close division race. While there might be young impact arms, one thing they don’t possess is experience in post-season play or big moments. Literally, every competing team will be looking for starting pitching depth around that time of year. Here is one option:
The Brewers were in heated talks regarding a Bumgarner trade earlier in January, but that has since been extinguished. Okay, no big deal. In fact, it is better this way. Hold onto the prospects until we see he is capable of staying healthy. He is just 29 years old but has thrown less than 130 innings each of the past two seasons following six straight seasons of 200+ innings. He is coming into Spring Training healthy and appears to be in good shape. Now, if Mad Bum is pitching an amazing first half, it presents a double-edged sword. He will cost a pretty penny to acquire, but the Brewers would be getting a front of the rotation ace who, for those who have watched the Giants in the playoffs know, is arguably the best post-season pitcher of all time. This is something the Brewers really could use if they want to win it all. So what would the package look like? I’m thinking something like this:
Brewers receive: Giants receive:
Madison Bumgarner Corey Ray, Aaron Ashby
The Brewers have a ridiculous amount of depth in the outfield which makes giving up Corey Ray something feasible to do. Ashby is a LHP in Single-A who is a 40 Future Value and has the potential for a plus curveball offering. Corey Ray will not be too long before he is MLB ready, and as for the Giants outfield, just try naming an outfielder of theirs. You probably can’t because they are all irrelevant. The Brewers would get a pitcher who has pitched 102 post-season innings with a 2.11 ERA, .899 WHIP, and a 2.74 Win Probability Added in that time. Oh yeah and he possesses three World Series rings. The Brewers may have to give up a lot, but its all worth it for a championship.
Greinke is a bit older than Mad Bum as he is going into his age 35 season. Greinke has also had post-season experience with the D-backs and Brewers, but not to the extent of Mad Bum. For being 35, Greinke has remained, for the most part, healthy and consistent. His ERA last season was 3.21 and in 2017 it was 3.20 while his FIPs remained in the mid-3s. His K% has gone down slightly, but so has his BB%. It is risky to take on an older player, but he seems to be aging quite well. While his velocity has continued to drop each of the past four seasons, he continues to perform the same. Greinke never had an over-powering fastball which has made it easier for him to learn to pitch without it. Over the seasons he has used his Changeup and Slider about 40% of the time and keeps hitters guessing. In addition, he has historically played well in Milwaukee throughout his years as a Brewer in 2011 and 2012, as well as being an opponent. Over his career, he has a 3.32 ERA at Miller Park. What would a trade look like for him?
Brewers receive: D-Backs receive:
Zack Greinke Corey Ray
I think this could just be a one for one deal. While Greinke is signed through 2021 the Brewers would pay his salary of $35 million each of the next two seasons. Again, the Brewers’ depth in the outfield allows them flexibility in trading Corey Ray. Meanwhile, the D-backs are in a rebuilding situation and also would be in the market for trading Robbie Ray. In this deal, the D-backs will be able to get rid of Greinke’s payroll each of the following two seasons and they will get a young outfielder in what is a depleted outfield in Arizona. The Brewers take a risk here on an aging pitcher, but as mentioned earlier, he has shown consistency despite velocity dips and feels comfortable in a Brewers uniform.
Each of these trades has its benefits and downfalls, however, if the Brewers really want to make a run at a championship, they will need to pay a price to upgrade at a weak position. Some young starters in the organization might provide some relief, but given the uncertain recovery of Jimmy Nelson, a true ace will be needed.
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