What The Milwaukee Brewers Should Do

Overview

Despite taking the first two games of a three game set from the Angels, the Brewers remain eight games back of the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals. Given that they would need to make up that deficit on not one but two teams, the Brewers playoff odds are probably less than 1 in 40. The question, then, is how to go about preparing for 2011. The Brewers have some interesting pieces who could be on the block come July.

Buy Or Sell

The obvious question is what the Brewers will do with Prince Fielder. Fielder is in a bit of a down season, as shown by a .186 ISO against a career mark of .259. Still, Prince has a .397 OBP and a 134 wRC+. Despite a +1.7 UZR in 2009 it’s hard to imagine Fielder as that good on first base. He has a career -6.4 UZR/150, placing him squarely in the DH zone. General Manager Doug Melvin will probably have to be blown away by an offer to trade his slugger. Fielder is under control for one more season, so if the price isn’t right, Melvin will hold onto the chip and wait until either the winter or next summer. On the other hand, if Melvin is offered a package centered around an elite pitcher, be it a prospect or a young major leaguer, he would almost have to pull the trigger, given the organizational weakness on the mound.

The other piece that teams will likely give a look is Corey Hart. Somehow Hart,who hit merely 12 home runs all of last season, is the NL leader in that category with 17, despite receiving limited at-bats through most of April. Hart has had some poor BABIP luck, but ZiPS really doesn’t like Hart’s chances of maintaining the .392 146 wRC+ or, in particular, the .325 ISO. ZiPS projects hart as a .265/.330/.480 type hitter, which is unremarkable for a plodding corner outfielder like Hart. As with Fielder, the Brewers have Hart under control for one last arbitration season, meaning that the Brewers will be able to hold on until winter if they don’t get a package that appeals to them. Again, the Brewers would be seeking high level pitching at any point in their development.

Dave Bush and Craig Counsell are veterans that could potentially draw interest in a trade, but neither would be more than spare parts. Jim Edmonds has had an interesting rebirth, but, at 39, his trade value is likely low. Hart and Fielder are the major chips, as the rest of the team is either young and under team control or is suffering from poor performance, like Trevor Hoffman and Randy Wolf. Still, with the fates of Fielder and Hart up in the air, it could be an interesting summer in Milwaukee. If not, it will surely be an exciting winter.

On The Farm

Any upgrades to the Brewers farm would be welcome. First round pick Eric Arnett was recently demoted to short season ball and supplemental pick Kentrail Davis was demoted to A from A+. Max Walla, another pick from 2009, had one of the worst debuts to a professional career that I’ve seen, striking out 80 times in just over 200 short season at bats. Angel Salome and Jeremy Jeffress have each dealt with their own brands of personal problems. Needless to say, it hasn’t been a good year for Brewers farmhands.

Brett Lawrie, Jake Odorizzi, and Mat Gamel are all solid prospects, but the system lacks both depth and breadth. Any sort of talent infusion would be welcome at basically any level and any position.

Budget

This is where it gets interesting. With the contracts of Jeff Suppan, Trevor Hoffman, Bill Hall, David Weathers, Jody Gerut, Craig Counsell, Claudio Vargas, Jim Edmonds, Dave Bush, David Riske, and Gregg Zaun coming off the books, the Brewers will clear around $45 million in salary for next season. If Fielder and Hart are traded, that would be another $15 million cleared. The Brewers will see some raises for arbitration eligible players, but they should have a lot of money to play with in 2011.



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Felonius_Monk
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Felonius_Monk

Not overly wishing to debate semantics, but this article, and, to a lesser extent, this series of articles in general, doesn’t in any way seem to be addressing or discussing “What TEAM X should do”. It is merely a presentation of their tradeable pieces and a short precis of their farm system. Some analysis and actual suggestions of directions in which the front office should go would be more applicable, really; this article neither suggests what the Brewers MIGHT do nor what they SHOULD do.

None of this makes them bad articles, they just don’t really do what it says on the tin.

Jake R
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Jake R

I think your criticism is premature. They seem to be working in reverse order of the standings. Obviously, articles on bad teams will pretty much just list players they will be looking to move. Generally, you don’t trade major league players for specific pieces so much as the most talent you can get someone to give up. I expect the series will become more interesting as they start to look at teams on the buy/sell threshold and more directed as they start to look at the buyers (who will have specific needs rather than a list of movable parts).

neuter_your_dogma
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neuter_your_dogma

Mortimer, I read this as the Brewers should “sell sell sell.”

Felonius_Monk
Guest
Felonius_Monk

I think that’s pretty clear to anyone with more than a cursory interest in baseball. But who should they sell? And who to? What areas in their minor league system should they be looking to improve? Which teams might be interested in their more moveable assets? What might they be looking to do, financially and in terms of their playing staff, going into 2011?

In no way do I wish to bash a site that offers great free stats and the occasional excellent article, so please take this as (hopefully) constructive criticism, but these articles really aren’t answering any of the questions they pose. Even as a non-Milwaukee fan, I knew most of this already and I imagine a good percentage of the readership here did too.

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