There’s not a lot of trade rumors on the wire today, so I thought I’d pitch in a few semi-original thoughts.
As most of you probably know, the Brewers have the best record in baseball, largely thanks to great depth and a solid bench. Ryan Braun and Yovani Gallardo are knocking hard at the door to the big leagues, suggesting that Doug Melvin will soon have some decisions to make. There aren’t any glaring holes for the Brewers at this point (except for third base, which could be solved by promoting Braun), but there are some players who could find other homes before the trade deadline.
The most likely candidates are Tony Graffanino and Craig Counsell. Only one will be dealt, but when Braun arrives, one almost surely will be dealt, and that one is likely to be Graffanino. (Counsell is a better shortstop, and he’s signed to a two-year deal.) Graffanino arrived via trade from the Royals last year for Jorge de la Rosa, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he brings a similar haul this year: a decent-upside pitcher with no home in his current organization.
It’s also a safe bet that Kevin Mench and Geoff Jenkins will keep coming up in rumors. Mench has been connected recently with the Angels, and has seemingly been in trade rumors for the majority of his career. Mench has the more tradeable contract, but Jenkins is the more expendable player: the Brewers currently have three left-handed outfielders on the club, including Gabe Gross, who is probably about as good as Jenkins will be when he cools down.
But if a serious need arises for Milwaukee, neither Mench nor Graffanino is likely to get a deal done. That’s where the team’s pitching depth is likely to come in handy. Carlos Villanueva is currently pitching well out of the bullpen, but could start for many MLB teams. Gallardo and Zach Jackson are both pitching in Triple-A right now, and while Gallardo is by far the better prospect, Jackson has a 3.61 ERA and threw a complete game one-hitter last night. At number eight on the depth chart, his future may be with another organization. If everyone is healthy when Gallardo gets called up, Claudio Vargas may end up on the block, as well.
There also may be bullpen arms to spare: Brewers fans aren’t excited about current occupants-of-roster-space Elmer Dessens or Chris Spurling, but there may never be room for both Greg Aquino and Jose Capellan. The market for Capellan thus far apparently hasn’t done much for Doug Melvin, but things could change as injuries continue to hit contending teams.
As I mentioned above, there are no current glaring needs that would lead Melvin to move any of those players. Nearly everyone in the organization has publicly said that the team is no longer planning for the future at the expense of the present, so it seems unlikely that, say, Mench would be traded for a couple of Double-A pitchers. The most likely scenario is that an injury would strike and Melvin would quickly deal from strength to plug the hole.
Brewers fans may be excited at the prospect of being buyers at the deadline for the first time in decades, but as it looks right now, teams are much more likely to call Melvin with an eye on what he has to offer.
By Jeff Sackmann
Brew Crew Ball