If any team is a sure bet to be heavy buyers at the trading deadline it’s the Milwaukee Brewers.
Because they have so much invested in this season and aren’t going to be able to keep Prince Fielder as a free agent, they’re all in for 2011.
There are other reasons why the Brewers are going to be super-aggressive at the trading deadline.
Presumably Brewers GM Doug Melvin knew how promising Brett Lawrie was when he traded him to the Blue Jays for Shaun Marcum. Marcum has been terrific so far this season and is under team control through next year. The Brewers needed starting pitching; they had Casey McGehee to play third and Rickie Weeks at second; and they were forced to take Yuniesky Betancourt‘s contract from the Royals to get Zack Greinke.
There was no place to put Lawrie; he’s never played shortstop and beyond doing something truly outside-the-box and trying to shift Weeks to short to make room for him, this was a mutually beneficial and necessary move. The Blue Jays had a lot of pitching and the Brewers had a prospect the Blue Jays coveted.
Lawrie is expected to be recalled soon; he’s been destroying the ball at Triple A Las Vegas with 79 hits, 38 extra base hits including 15 homers, and a 1.092 OPS in 52 games.
It was a “win now” trade for the Brewers and it’s working; they still need some upgrades.
With that in mind, expect something major to improve the offense, infield defense and bullpen before the trading deadline. I’m talking about any of the three potentially available Mets from Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and Francisco Rodriguez; Heath Bell from the Padres; or Jason Kubel from the Twins.
The Brewers are in a very winnable division and the Wild Card will also be available. With their starting pitching of Greinke, Marcum and Yovani Gallardo, they’re a major threat to anyone in the playoffs already; if they do something bold like acquire any of the above-mentioned names, they’ll be truly dangerous.
Fielder’s basically gone and Lawrie’s ready for a recall from the Blue Jays. The Brewers know what they have to do—they have to win and they have to win now.
Melvin will do everything necessary to make a playoff run because, given the circumstances, he doesn’t have much of a choice. And he’s right to do it.
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