The Brewers took out quite a bit of frustration on the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon at Miller Park, snapping a seven game losing streak with an 11-2 victory. Starter Wily Peralta cruised through seven rather uneventful innings and recently recalled Elian Hererra had a career day, notching five hits. It was a pleasant way for the struggling Brewers to head into the badly needed all-star break.
When play resumes on Friday night in Washington D.C. the Brewers could potentially have a new addition:
— Max Wildstein ⚾️ (@MaxWildstein) July 14, 2014
This isn’t exactly a new rumor, but progress does seem to be being made towards some sort of resolution. Considering all the talk and the fact that Doug Melvin has made a trade either over the break (Francisco Rodriguez in 2011) or right after it (Ray Durham in 2008) each of the two years the Brewers have made the playoffs under his watch, don’t be shocked if something happens here in a relatively short time period.
If the Brewers do end up with Peavy, expectations are going to need to be relatively modest because he’s simply not the pitcher that he was back in his days as the ace of the San Diego Padres. He sports a 4.59 ERA along with a 4.71 FIP, and while neither number is terrible, they pale in comparison with his younger self. Now 33 years old, his strike percent has dropped while his walk percent has risen each of the last three seasons. His fastball now sits just shy of 90 MPH on a regular basis and he gives up a lot of home runs, already the most common weakness of Brewers pitchers.
None of that is to suggest that he couldn’t be at least somewhat useful for the Brewers down the stretch. Peavy still features a solid five-pitch mix and has been inducing more ground balls this year than in his recent past. He’s a crafty veteran at this point, and could quite possibly benefit from a move back to the National League and getting to use the bottom of lineups to his advantage in getting out of scrapes. If Peavy is healthy (always a big “if” with him), he would give the Brewers another experienced pitcher for the stretch run in what has quickly become a close NL Central race.
So, as with most trades, whether or not it makes sense to acquire Peavy will come down to what it costs. In this case, cost has to be measured in two ways: what players the Brewers will have to give up and how much of his $14.5 million salary this year they’ll have to pay. The two will almost certainly end up related, with whatever offer ends up getting the deal done probably being the best combination of prospects and salary relief. Given that it’s the wealthy Red Sox on the other end, chances are good they’ll be looking more for prospects than the salary relief.
The Brewers are pretty much set at four of their five rotation spots with Kyle Lohse, Yovani Gallardo, Matt Garza, and Wily Peralta not going anywhere barring injury or complete collapse. The fifth spot is in flux at the moment, with Marco Estrada’s home run proclivity pushing him to the pen in favor of top prospect Jimmy Nelson, so there is at least something of an opening for a guy like Peavy to potentially join the rotation and give the team even more depth.
Ultimately, this is where I think the deal starts to really make less and less sense from the Brewers’ end. Peavy will need to prove to be enough of an upgrade over either Nelson or Estrada to either justify giving up a meaningful prospect or two and/or the Brewers will need to use a good amount of whatever cash they have available for upgrades this summer. If Peavy pitches like he has thus far in 2014, or gets hurt, there is a substantial chance that the Brewers gain nothing or next to it in the deal.
There is value in depth in a pennant race, especially when it comes to pitching, and Peavy certainly could get hot and be something of an impact player down the stretch for the Brewers. Of course, they also may not need that depth, and there is a chance that either Nelson or Estrada could have that impact second half too. If the cost is anything more than a prospect like Mitch Haniger or Taylor Jungmann and a few million dollars, it would probably make sense for the Brewers to pass and refocus on an area of more need, like right-handed relief pitching and left-handed power at the plate.