Creative Trade Deadline Ideas | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

The Brewers went down again on Wednesday night, this time 4-1 to the Phillies. The defeat marked the Brewers’ eighth loss in the last nine games. With a few exceptions, the pitching is still keeping the team in games, for the most part. It’s the offense that has slowed down considerably, averaging a mere 2.6 runs per game over the recent losing skid.

Watching the Brewers’ right-hand-heavy lineup struggle to make hard contact against Drew Huchison, Homer Bailey, and Mat Latos once again underscored the fact that the team could surely benefit from adding a left-handed power bat or two as the deadline approaches. The continued struggles of Brandon Kintzler and Rob Wooten leave the Brewers with few reliable late inning options from the right hand side, at least until either Tyler Thornburg or Jim Henderson are able to return.

The NL Central race is tightening up, with the Cardinals, Reds and Pirates all above .500. Even though they don’t have major obvious deficiencies, the Brewers could use some help in keeping their distance from the rest of the pack in the division. In that spirit, let’s take a look at some potentially creative solutions for the Brewers to plug some of the admittedly small holes they have in their roster.

Trade Wei-Chung Wang

This idea was broached by our own Vineet Barot on last week’s Disciples of Uecker Podcast, and it’s one where the more you think about it, the more sense it makes. The Brewers have kept Wang on the roster all year in hopes that he can someday provide value to the team. The standard line of thought on that was that this value would come in the form of him performing for the Brewers somewhere down the line. That might be too limited a way of looking at his value, though.

According to major league baseball rules, teams are allowed to trade rule 5 picks, though the team they trade him to must abide by the same rules as far as keeping the player on the roster all year as the drafting team. For a team that is out of contention by the end of this month, trading for Wang could make quite a bit of sense. For a team already out of the running, spending a roster spot on a not-yet-major-league-ready Wang is hardly a major imposition. Every team is also allowed to expand rosters as of September first, at which point having him around becomes basically a non-factor for the roster.

On the Brewers’ side, they can accomplish several goals by moving Wang. If they find the right trade partner, they can potentially add a useful bench bat or relief pitcher to help them down the stretch. They can also clear Wang’s roster spot, giving them more flexibility to add a player who might have been too limited in use to justify a roster spot when Wang was taking up one of the twenty-five. Depending on what sort of player comes back for Wang, there are quite a few possibilities that could open up, such as calling up Caleb Gindl or Jeremy Jeffress.

Trade For Adam Dunn

Ok, hear me out on this one.

Yes, he’s basically a DH at this point, doesn’t hit for contact and offers nothing on the basepaths. That’s all true, but he’s also still able to do two very important things at the plate: he slugs the ball and knows how to control the zone to help draw walks. The difference between him and Overbay at the plate is quite large.

Average On-Base Slugging wOBA wRC
Adam Dunn 0.226 0.365 0.435 0.354 122
Lyle Overbay 0.243 0.321 0.355 0.301 88

The other factor working in their favor here is that they’re not replacing a plus defender in Overbay. Despite the fact that his reputation is good, he’s actually been somewhere between average to below average for quite a while according to various defensive metrics. Given that Dunn would be limited to starting only against right-handed pitchers and could be pulled late for defensive purposes on a regular basis anyway, some of the defensive limitations would be mitigated.

The White Sox would have to pick up most of his salary for the remainder of the year and accept a minimal return in the prospect department, but that shouldn’t be a huge problem if the Sox are actually serious about trying to move him. This isn’t an ideal solution, but it would at least constitute an upgrade to the current roster. That’s the name of the game this season: trying to find reasonably priced, small targeted upgrades.

Look For A More Long-Term Solution To A Problem

Major League Players traded in the summer tend to fit into a pretty limited category when it comes to service time, namely: they are most often in the last year of their current contract and will be free to hit the open market in the offseason. Sure, lots of prospects and a few players with limited service time will move, but those are generally a deal from the players’ “buyers” to “sellers” in order to get help for now as opposed to players that could help a contender now and down the line as well.

It makes sense that these would be the sorts of transactions would dominate the deadline, but that doesn’t mean they are the only kinds that can happen. Sellers may not be looking to deal more long-term assets, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll turn down a good offer if it comes along. The Brewers currently lack immediate and long-term solutions in a couple of areas, most notably at first base and utility infielder. They could also probably use a left-handed-hitting outfielder with a little pop and the ability to play all three positions. If they were to pick up someone who plays one of these positions and had a few years of service time left, they wouldn’t be blocking anyone of significance, at least for a while.

As for who this might actually be, that’s tougher. We could talk names and invent scenarios where they make sense in deals, but those would almost certainly be wrong. The point here is more the general idea of broadening the search for upgrades from the names that show up constantly on MLB Trade Rumors this time of year and considering players that aren’t even really mentioned as trade candidates.


None of these things is likely to happen, but the goal wasn’t to talk about things that are likely. Rather, the point was to think more out-of-the-box. Something much more ordinary and predictable is probably going to happen, and it’s going to be a reasonable upgrade to the roster but it will hardly be exciting. To pull out of the current funk they’re in, the current roster is going to need to get back to doing the things they did so well over the first three months, not rely on outside help anyway.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Eric Cumming says: July 10, 2014

    Love the Dunn idea, as the value he adds with the bat would far outweigh his defensive limitations IMO, especially in a platoon with Reynolds. But… What about recently DFAd George Kottaras as the left handed side of that platoon. He couldnt be worse than Dunn at first, has plenty of pop (even if that comes with no hit) and provides at least some defensive flexibility. Plus having another guy that can cover catcher opens up the possibility of using Maldy/Lucroy more in a PH role with less risk.

    • Cory D says: July 10, 2014

      ^^ I dig pickin up Kotty.

      • Josh says: July 10, 2014

        Me too. Maldy has been one of our best bench bats when he actually gets one. This relieves that a lot and way cheaper than Dunn. The problem with Dunn is he is a defensive liability. Overbay’s defense makes up for his inferior bat compared to Dunn. Though, I would much rather get Morneau.

        And Weeks needs to be gone, he is costing us too much. Every time he platoons is another AB that Scooter isn’t getting.

        I am not really for trading Wang, he has too much upside. I’d rather trade some combination of Fiers/Blazek/Wooten for a corner infield like Morneau.

        • Ryan Topp says: July 10, 2014

          Weeks is a much better option against LHP than Scooter. You don’t drop Weeks unless you pickup a better hitting utility IF to take his spot on the roster.

        • munchtime says: July 11, 2014

          2B is a platoon. Gennet plays against RHP, and Weeks plays against LHP. Just look at their splits for the reason why.

          Against RHP: Gennett has .887 OPS (139 wRC+), Weeks has .616 (71 wRC+).

          Against LHP: Gennett has .308 OPS (-23 wRC+), Weeks has .777 OPS (118 wRC+).

          Weeks is a valuable member of the Brewers, because Gennett can’t hit LHP. At all.

        • joe says: July 13, 2014

          Josh…Right now the Brewers would have to give up Fiers just to get someone to take Blazek and Wooten. Fiers would have to be an addition in a bigger deal. The Crew would have to come up with a lot more to get Morneau.

    • Ryan Topp says: July 10, 2014

      Huh, interesting thought on Kottaras. I wouldn’t be opposed to it at all.

      • joe says: July 13, 2014

        ryan.. last year Kottaras hit .183 and struck out FORTY-TWO times in only 100 ABs. He makes Reynolds look like Lucroy. This year he is striking out 50% of his ABs. Plus his defense is between bad and terrible. NO Thanks.

  2. Nicholas Zettel says: July 10, 2014

    Dunn sounds great! He seems like such an obvious trade target for the Brewers: fills a need, improves the team, and won’t (shouldn’t?) cost much.

    Kottaras also seems intriguing, especially since he already has career MLB appearances at 1B / 3B / RF. He could be a strange type of bench improvement for the Brewers (lefty power off bench) or platoon partner.

  3. Doug says: July 10, 2014

    What about Justin Morneau? He fits the bill – lefty, average defensively, high OBP.

    Maybe they could land him for a couple of young arms like Fiers/Thornburg/Wang/Blazek?

    • Doug says: July 10, 2014

      Also – it’s time to end Mr. Weeks time here. He is costing them a valuable bench spot – and with Braun in and out of the lineup they need a corner outfielder with a little pop. Logan Schaefer is beyond horrible – in nearly 500 career AB’s he has an OBP of .285 and OPS of .617.

      If he is you ‘defensive’ back up outfielder – fine. But to have to play him or Elian Herrera in one of the corner outfielder spots kills this team offensively.

      They need to bring up Jeremy Hermida – who is a lefty bat BTW – and has played both left and right at the major league level. He currently has 11HR’s and a .370 OBP at Nashville.

      Of course the time to make these decisions was last week – Melvin could have went for the jugular – but now he will have to make these moves in panic mode.

      • Doug says: July 10, 2014

        Yeah – I don’t know what he would cost – maybe two of those arms? Regardless – I think he would be the perfect fit for the team right now. If I was Melvin – that is the guy I would be pursuing right now.

      • Jason says: July 10, 2014

        While I am certain this will be Weeks’ last season in Milwaukee, I don’t see the point in trading him now. What are you going to get for him? I know it is hard for most people to believe, but Weeks is the first or second choice in a pinch hit situation when he isn’t playing 2nd. You’d need to trade him for results now, not someone with upside and you are not going to get that.

        Ride him out until the end of the season, don’t pick up his option and wish him good luck wherever he plays next.

        • Doug says: July 10, 2014

          But at what cost do you keep the Rickie dream alive? He is costing them an extra roster spot that they could use for an extra bench bat in the outfield.

          With Braun in and out of the lineup that is an extremely valuable spot. How much offense have they lost playing Schaefer and Herrera out in Braun’s place?

          Let me put it this way – would you trade Rickie Weeks for Jeremy Hermida? At this point I would – the lack of offensive options on the thin bench is starting to catch up to this team.

          • Doug says: July 10, 2014

            Just another though to reframe this discussion -

            The question is not what you can get for Rickie Weeks at this point – the question is what is he costing you at this point?

          • munchtime says: July 11, 2014

            If you trade Weeks, who plays second base against LHP? You all ready mentioned Herrera as a bad hitter, so is Bianchi, but both are a better option than Gennett against LHP.

            Forget his contract, forget what he used to be. Weeks is a valuable bench player because he can crush LHP.

    • Nicholas Zettel says: July 10, 2014

      Would it even take that much? The Pirates surrendered Alex Presley (Twins lost on waivers) and Duke Welker (27-year-old non-prospect) for one month of Morneau.

      Granted, Morneau now has more years of control, but still…it’s hard to see him having a high price.

      • Franco says: July 11, 2014

        He’s a lot more valuable than when the Pirates traded for him. He was making $14MM with a .260ish average and .740ish OPS when the Pirates acquired him. This year, he’s making $5MM while hitting over .300 and OPSing a .100 points higher (along with another two years at $6.75MM and a $9MM option).

    • Ryan Topp says: July 10, 2014

      Trying to convince the Rockie front office to deal Morneau, who is locked in through 2015 with and option for 2016, is going to be tough. They refused to deal Cuddyer while losing worse last year, because the GM was talking about not wanting to give up. Getting them to consider it seems like the kind of thing you would have to make a monster offer they just can’t say no too. Don’t want to have anything to do with that if it is the case.

      • Dave from Denver says: July 10, 2014

        I have another interesting thought… The GM/ownership out here in Denver is a joke and a half. They haven’t made a good trade in a while but it sounds like Mr. Owner is finally sick of Mr. GM. If you listen to the “people in the know”, everyone is currently on the trading block. I think that Morneau should be available by the deadline but Carlos Gonzalez could be available too. CarGo, being a left handed corner outfielder, seems to fit the Brewers needs pretty well. Wonder what it would take to pry away CarGo and Morneau?

        • Ryan Topp says: July 10, 2014

          Oof. More than the Brewers are probably interested in spending, I’m sure. That’s a lot of money and a lot of prospects that would need to go back the other way.

  4. Evan (Maryland) says: July 10, 2014

    You say expect the ordinary but whenever the Brewers are in contention they do exactly the opposite and then we typically debate the whole sacrifice of a farm for the preservation of one year’s contention. I’m not saying that’s what is going to happen but I’m optimistic for something somewhat out of the box much like what Ryan is proposing. Although it might not be these exact scenarios, I am hopeful that the Wang experiment bears some sort of fruit instead of some costly prospect taking up service time while we play with a 24 man roster.

  5. Vin B says: July 10, 2014

    What about Garret Jones? Not exactly a power lefty but can play 1st & outfield and has a 106 wRC+ this season and 109 for his career.

    Also, I know that asking, “can player x play position y” is a cliche but…Can Caleb Gindl play 1st? He certainly has the body for it. #Boom

    • Ryan Topp says: July 10, 2014

      Hadn’t thought of Jones. Good one.

    • joe says: July 13, 2014

      G. Jones isn’t anything more than Overbay. He is very weak in the OF and his numbers are similar to Overbay’s. Jones .253/.322 37 RBIs…..Overbay 244/.325 27 RBIs in 136 less ABs.

  6. Schmidt says: July 10, 2014

    Trade ARam and Estrada to Yankees for K. Johnson, A. Romine and a pitching prospect. Then trade Yo, Weeks, Blasek for K. Drebek, C. Rasmus and A. Lind, then swap Rasmus and M. Maldonado to Cubbies for OLT and Baker.

    • Nicholas Zettel says: July 10, 2014

      “To Overrule Rejection, Press Button.”

      • Ryan Topp says: July 10, 2014

        *hits like button*

    • Just Axin says: July 10, 2014

      We got to many windmills already. Olt would be the biggest whiff ot them all.

  7. Justin says: July 10, 2014

    Could we trade Ron Roebuck too?

    • Justin says: July 10, 2014

      Stupid phone *Roenicke.

      • Benjamin Moeckler says: July 10, 2014

        The corner outfield spot is a huge downside right now in terms of health, but I think the lack of production from Segura and the 1B platoon is what’s really bringing the team down offensively. That said there is no way we trade Segura, but adding another guy who can share time wouldn’t hurt or maybe Weeks or Gennett learn how to play SS

    • Ryan Topp says: July 10, 2014

      You’ve got the wrong guy on that one. I like Ron.

      • Benjamin Moeckler says: July 10, 2014

        The one thing I don’t like about RR is that he is sometimes “over loyal”. He refuses to take Estrada out of the rotation and also he remains very calm and relaxed despite the fact that his team has lost 9 out of it’s last 10 games.

        • Ryan Topp says: July 10, 2014

          Those are two of the qualities I like most about him. He doesn’t panic. He doesn’t lose his cool. Over the course of 162, I think that really helps teams.

          I also think the “overly loyal” thing is 1) something everyone feels about their manager 2) more about the GM/front office than the manager anyway. Daily lineups are one thing, but roster decisions and long term playing time choices are made more by the front office and GM than by the manager these days anyway.

          All in all, they’re pretty good about that stuff, I think. Melvin likes stability, and that isn’t a terrible thing.

  8. Samcam says: July 11, 2014

    Looking for creative trade deadline moves?
    I really don’t want to see us trading away future talent.

  9. Dave from Denver says: July 11, 2014

    What are the thoughts on Ben Zobrist? Pros: super utility guy, switch hitter, kinda old (should be cheapish) Cons: He’s in Tampa, doesn’t hit for power

    • Doug says: July 11, 2014

      Maybe Loney and Zobrist make sense?

    • joe says: July 13, 2014

      Dave… another con would be Zobrist is making $7M and $7.5M next year. He would be a great addition, but the money is too much for a bench player. The Crew is already over $103M and needs to add bullpen help. Re-signing KRod and Smith plus the raises due Gallardo, Braun, Luc, and Gomez will eat up the money they save with Weeks gone next year.


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