The Milwaukee Brewers dropped their second straight game on Monday night, a 2-1 heart breaker against the Rays in Florida. The loss spoiled another fine start from a Brewers starter. This time it was Kyle Lohse, who struck out six against three walks over six innings. Continuing a trend of low scoring outputs, the offense struggled against former Brewers farm hand Jake Odorizzi and a pair of relievers, only scraping out three hits. Mark Reynolds continued his recent power binge with a solo home run that accounted for all of the Brewers scoring. At least we’ll always have this:
On the positive side, the Brewers still lead the NL Central by 1.5 games over the idle Cardinals and 2.0 over the Pirates. There also is reason to believe that help is on the way, as Adam McCalvy pointed out on Sunday:
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin has been downplaying the urgency to make a deal ahead of Thursday’s 3 p.m. CT non-waiver Trade Deadline, but history says the likelihood of some sort of move is high.
In seven of the past eight seasons, and in nine of his 11 full seasons on the job, Melvin has made at least one July trade involving a Major League player — some when the Brewers were buyers, some as sellers and some in-between. This season, they are clearly in “buy” mode, with opportunities available in the bullpen, and at minimum a worthwhile debate at first base.
As McCalvy pointed out, the Brewers certainly have some needs worth addressing. So let’s play some odds makers here and assess the Brewers percent chance of making each of the following types of moves:
- Right-Handed Reliever (75%)
You can file this one under “where there is this much smoke, there has to be fire.”
The Brewers have been connected to quite a few different right-handed relief arms in the last few weeks. LaTroy Hawkins and Chad Qualls have both been repeatedly mentioned in media reports, though according to Tom Haudricourt their respective teams don’t seem that interested in moving them for some crazy reason. Brad Ziegler and Koji Uehara‘s teams are feeding the same line to reporters about not being interested in moving them. Jonathan Papelbon wants assurance he will close wherever he is traded, has a big contract and a vesting option.
Not that any of this means nothing is likely to happen. Teams have been known to posture, especially when it’s fairly obvious that they need to trade someone and they just want to make potential buyers come with their best offer. Even if the Brewers don’t do something before the Thursday deadline, don’t be surprised if a waiver trade happens sometime in August. Relievers are among the most common players dealt through waivers in August, along with….
- Utility Infielder/Bench Bat (40%)
This is just a hunch, but I have a feeling that the Brewers will snag some sort of a bench player before the final bell rings on all trade activity at midnight on August 31st. I just think there is a pretty good chance they’ll wait for a few more teams to truly fall out of it and grab someone through waivers later on. One particularly interesting name on this front is Cubs super utility man Emilio Bonifacio. The switch hitter has played every infield position except first base, though he’s primarily been in center or second this year. Intradivision trades can sometimes be a bit tricky, but when the player being discussed is less impactful, these things have a way of getting done much more easily.
- First Basemen (20%)
- Big Name Starting Pitcher (5%*)
This isn’t going to happen. David Price would cost an arm and all of the legs the Brewers have above rookie ball, he is set to make around 20 million in 2015 before becoming eligible for free agency, and the Rays are getting back into the race as we speak. Jon Lester is a two month rental who would also require a gutting of the upper levels of the farm system. Cole Hamels has four years left on his contract after this, but is owed over 22 million per year each of those years. Cliff Lee’s contract is set to pay him the GDP of a small nation over the next couple of years that we know of, and knowing how Ruben Amaro works, there is probably some poison pill trade clause in there that would cede majority ownership to Lee for any team he might be traded to.
So like I said this isn’t happening. Except that we know the Brewers have at least talked to the Rays about Price and they have a history of unloading huge prospect packages to rent other team’s aces for a little while. So maybe it’s not completely crazy. Hell, let’s go 6.8%* on this one, just for fun.
- Chance I Haven’t Named Any Player The Brewers Actually Pick Up (99%)
You know, because You Can’t Predict Baseball.