The trade deadline is a little over a month away, and the Milwaukee Brewers currently sit in fourth place in the National League Central with a 31-37 record. They are only five games back of the second wild card spot, but the odds of them playing postseason baseball are very slim.
With the deadline on August 1 rapidly approaching, teams are starting to make decisions on whether they will become buyers or sellers. The addition of the second wild card has given more teams optimism, but the best bet for teams like the Brewers are to move veterans for young talent that can help them going forward. At last year’s deadline, they moved outfielder Carlos Gomez to Houston, and last winter they moved shortstop Jean Segura to Arizona. In 2016, the Brewers should continue the same trend, and build for the future.
Here are some players that the Brewers should listen on and strongly consider moving in the right deal.
Lucroy would most likely generate the strongest package in return out of all the Brewers. He is batting .312 with 10 home runs and 34 RBIs in 63 games. Lucroy’s contract expires at the end of this season, but there is a team option for 2017.
It has been reported earlier in the year that the Brewers talked to the Texas Rangers about a potential Lucroy trade, and it is still possible that the two teams can revisit these talks. The Rangers currently sit in first place in the American League West, but they seem to be a player or two short from being World Series contenders.
The New York Mets have also been considered as a potential Lucroy suitor, and these teams talked last year with the Gomez deal that later fell through. Travis d’Arnaud struggles to stay healthy, and if the Mets are willing to move pitcher Zack Wheeler like they were willing to last year, there definitely could be a match.
Braun is an intriguing candidate for teams to consider since he is putting up strong numbers in 2016 after an All-Star 2015 season when he had 25 home runs and 84 RBIs in 140 games. This season, Braun is batting .315 with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs in 56 games. Braun does have a steroid past, and his back might shy teams away from dealing for him. Despite those issues, this is Braun’s second straight season of performing like his old self, and he can make an immediate impact to a lineup. Braun is in the first year of his five-year extension that will keep him under team control through 2020.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Brewers and the San Francisco Giants had preliminary discussions on a Braun trade. Hunter Pence is currently out for an extended period of time, which has opened up the need for a corner outfielder. It seems that Braun has rebounded nicely the past few years and would be one of the premier names on the market if the Brewers become serious about moving him.
After Carter was non-tendered by the Houston Astros, he did not sign until the first week of January despite having monster power numbers in his three seasons with the Astros. Carter continues to show off his power with his 18 home runs, tied for sixth in the league.
The asking price for Carter might be higher than it would have been in the past, but for a team looking for a right-handed power bat, Carter can contribute as a short-term rental.
Garza has bounced around in the league throughout his 11-year career, spending time with the Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, and Brewers. He was battling a right lat strain, which delayed the start of his season to June 14. Garza has pitched 10 innings in two starts, allowing just one run.
The Brewers do not have much of a need for Garza anymore, with young pitchers like Zach Davies and Chase Anderson taking over the top of the rotation. Garza is signed through 2017, and for a team that needs starting pitching depth, he is a veteran who shouldn’t be too costly to trade for.
In just nine games so far this season, Smith has a 0.96 ERA in 9.1 innings of work. In 2015, he had a 2.70 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 63.1 innings of work.
Robert Murray of Today’s Knuckleball reported that the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, and Washington Nationals are all trying to improve their bullpens.
Left-handed relievers are always a luxury to have in a bullpen, and for teams that are interested in Yankees’ left-handers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, Smith becomes an option for those teams who are unwilling to meet the Yankees’ asking price.