The Milwaukee Brewers are hurting. This might be putting it softly, but at the same time the current MLB season is still quite young. There is still a lot of time to improve in 2015.
Moves are being made at the upper levels such as manager Ron Roenicke getting the boot this week. He had an abysmal record ending the 2014 campaign and then started 2015 with a 7-18 record before getting his walking papers. Former Brewers infielder and World Series winner Craig Counsell has been hired on with a three year deal to hopefully make improvements with their infield talent. Doug Melvin, the Brewers general manager, still has his work cut out for him though, since their current roster of on-field talent doesn’t seem to be “cutting it” individually or as a team. The Milwaukee brass has already come forward and mentioned that they would not only entertain trade discussion and propositions but that anyone in the system is fair game, save one player: Jonathan Lucroy.
Lucroy, 28, is the Brewers’ All-Star catcher who also finished fourth in the MVP voting last season. He’s on the 15-day disabled list for right now because of a fractured toe on his left foot that occurred a few weeks ago. He’s expected to miss four-to-six weeks because of the injury but this shouldn’t keep him from trade talks. Not that this is the only reason that the Brewers would keep him out of talks. As I just mentioned, he’s also an All-Star and MVP calibre player. But realistically speaking, when trying to improve your team to the point of at listing somewhat competitive this season, is keeping one of your only assets under wraps the best move a team could make?
There are plenty of teams in need of a good catch: Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, Miami Marlins and the Tampa Bay Rays to name a few. Many may be willing to pay/ trade handsomely for Lucroy’s quality of play. Not to mention that aside from maybe Jean Segura at shortstop there is an abundance of needs for the Brewers, especially their farm system.
The stocking of farm systems is very key to the success of a Major League ball club. The Brewers’ best Minor League asset is Tyrone Taylor, a center fielder who’s current talent level is Double-A at best. The jury is still out on if he could ever compete at the Major League level. There is a short stop and a catcher down there too, but the depths nothing to write home about. Fact is a starter ready catcher could get a lot in return as far as trades go, and since this season may be a wash, it could be best to start rebuilding now.
If you keep Lucroy and build around him, he may be 33-35 before the rest of the team is playoff ready. I say the Brewers should get something for him now. I know he’s a crowd favorite but last season’s playoff push depleted this squad more than (at the time, or even now) they wanted to admit.
Baseball is an ever changing landscape. A great example of this is their division foe, the Chicago Cubs. A depleted farm system took years to restock on Chicago’s North side, not to mention bolstering the current Major League roster with free agent talent. If the Brewers start now and make some risky (yet successful) moves playoff contention may only be a few years away. But if they wait, and never really at least entertain the option of moving an asset such as Lucroy, then they might want to get used to the view from the cellar of the NL Central.