As the halfway point of the MLB season approaches, so does the trade deadline. Many contending teams will be looking to add some big names to bolster their rosters for a strong postseason run. Other teams will be going the opposite direction and look to shed talent in order to acquire future assets.
Last year, the Brewers were buyers at the deadline. They added Jeremy Jeffress, Anthony Swarzak, and Neil Walker for extra reinforcement as they pushed for a playoff spot. In early June with a 2 game division lead, we can assume the Brewers will be buyers at this years’ deadline once again.
Milwaukee’s biggest need lies within the starting rotation. Junior Guerra and Jhoulys Chacin have been good at the top of the rotation for the club. Brent Suter has been a perfectly fine #5 guy in the rotation. Guys like Anderson and Davies have been very underwhelming however. Milwaukee needed them to continue their success from last year in order to make up for Jimmy Nelson being out for the first half of the season, and that simply has not been the case.
The crew could also use some help behind the plate. Manny Pina has been hitting below .220 for most of the season and Jett Bandy has been DFA’d. Erik Kratz has been a nice surprise in the backup role, but based on his career track record his success is more than likely not sustainable.
It appears to me, Craig Counsell isn’t content with his middle infield either. Orlando Arcia has struggled at the plate and is finding himself in and out of the lineup. Jonathan Villar has looked better this year, but is still a complete wild card. Hernan Perez has been very mediocre. Eric Sogard has been abysmal at the plate. Tyler Saladino has been great when called upon, but how long does his success last?
The Brewers are already a very solid team. However, I do see room for improvement and there are quite a few intriguing targets that could be available on the trade market. I’d like to see the Brewers make a push for any of these guys (at the right price).
Jed Lowrie : 2B Oakland A’s
Lowrie has had a very weird career. In his 11 seasons, he has only played 100+ games in three of those seasons. Once a backup infielder in Boston and Houston, Lowrie has found a nice home in Oakland where he has played the best baseball of his career. Lowrie is having a career year for the A’s as well (.294/.358/.479) and could be a nice upgrade on the infield. He is a free agent at the end of this season so ideally, he wouldn’t cost the club a whole lot.
Jonathan Lucroy : C Oakland A’s
Another A’s player to make the list. Oakland actually isn’t having that bad of a season. They are just in the really tough AL West and it will be very difficult them to catch the Astros. Lucroy is obviously a former Brewer which makes this idea pop into my mind in the first place. Luc has not been as good as he once was since leaving Milwaukee, but is still a solid guy you can have behind the plate every day. He has always been a well rounded catcher in terms of being able to hit and defend at an above average rate. Another guy who is a free agent at the end of the season and the Brewers could get a nice little deal on.
JA Happ : SP Toronto Blue Jays
I was on this guys’ train last year, I really wish the Brewers would’ve made a move for him last season and then they would’ve had a full season of him this year. Happ has been great since returning to Toronto in 2016, winning 20 games in 2016 and having a sub 4 ERA in the past two seasons. This year he is doing more of the same. His WHIP is down, and his K/9 is up at 11. If there is anything the Brewers need, it’s a guy who can strike guys out and go deeper into ball games. JA Happ can bring both of those to the team. Happ is also a free agent at the end of the year. However, starting pitchers cost a premium at the trade deadline.
Chris Archer : SP Tampa Bay Rays
Archer has been tied in with rumors to the Brewers for almost a year now. He is a guy who has ace potential and has even shown how good he can be. Archer had three amazing seasons to start his career, but has come back down to Earth in terms of ERA in the three most recent seasons. He is a big strikeout guy and you can count on him for 200+ innings per season. Archer is under control until the end of 2021 and that will come with a very high price tag. Archer has potential to be the number one guy in this staff if the Brewers were to acquire him.
What do the Brewers have to offer these teams in return for these players? Milwaukee still has a very strong farm system despite shedding some big pieces in the Yelich deal. Freddy Peralta could be an interesting piece to some teams, especially after an impressive stint in the majors. The Brewers have a log jam at first base once Eric Thames comes back. Ryan Braun is immovable and Thames holds no trade value. Jesus Aguilar may be an intriguing piece to a team looking for a starting first baseman. Another option is Domingo Santana as the Brewers have guys in the farm system who could come up and play the outfield. I’d seriously hate to see any of these guys go, but if it lands us a piece for us to make a deep playoff run, I’m all for it.