Milwaukee Brewers 2016 Wish List


1. Trade Remaining Appealing Veteran Contracts

Despite the trades of Carlos Gomez, Aramis Ramirez, Gerardo Parra and other players, the Brewers still have several potential trade pieces for the 2015-2016 offseason. At the top of that list are Jonathan Lucroy, Adam Lind, and Francisco Rodriguez. Of the two Lind is the more obvious trade candidate given his free agent status following the 2016 season. Many assumed Lind would be traded at last year’s trade deadline, but the Brewers decided to hang on to him through the second half of the season. Lind had a good second half and it seems his value will be at its height this offseason. He won’t need a huge return but its worth the return on the investment.

In the case of Lucroy, the Brewers have a more interesting option. Lucroy is signed through next year, with a team option for 2017, and could be an interesting trade piece this winter. The only problem with Lucroy is his injury problems in 2015, which amounted to a poor overall season and a diminishing of his value as a potential trade piece. While the Brewers could sell low on Lucroy this winter, it seems more likely that they can afford to be patient with him and give him the first half of next season to potentially rebound. There is the risk that Lucroy’s value may tank even further, however, which increases the probability he may be dealt this offseason.

In the case of Francisco Rodriguez, the Brewers have a good late inning option that may be a good fit for a contending team. Rodriguez is signed through next year with a 2017 option, so the Brewers may try to get value out of him while they still can.

Beyond the three most obvious offseason trade options, the Brewers also could entertain potential trades of larger, long-term contracts such as those of Ryan Braun and Matt Garza. These are really the last two big contracts the Brewers have on their payroll, with the departures of Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Gomez and Kyle Lohse. While both of these guys have large, long-term contracts that the Brewers wouldn’t mind getting off their payroll, it may be hard to trade either given those contracts and their diminished value.

Ryan Braun signed an extension, which  begins next year, which will pay him $105 million over the next five years from 2016-2020. While Braun did have a good 2015 year, one in which he was able to stay healthy, the large sum on his contract, his increasing age, and his past history make it unlikely that the Brewers will be able to find a trade partner for his large contract without taking a financial hit. It seems more likely that the Brewers keep Braun and either attempt to rebuild the team with him as the face of the franchise going forward, or they could also hold on to him long enough for him to gain some more value back and then trade him. Either way, it seems likely that the Brewers listen on Braun this offseason.

On the other hand, Matt Garza is entering his age 32 season, on the third year of a four-year contract with a vesting option for a fifth year. Garza is due to make a combined $25 million over the next two seasons, with a possible $13 million vesting option or $5 million team option if the conditions are not met. At age 31, Garza obviously still has some gas left in the tank, but it is unclear what kind of return the Brewers will be able to get for Garza with so much pitching available this offseason. Matt Garza had a very shaky 2015 season, and the Brewers may attempt to hang onto him in order to attempt to rebuild his value this season.

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