Playing GM

3 07 2008

ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark has an article about the Trade Deadline. He has some compelling evidence that buying rentals does not do any good, other than gaining draft picks. I’m beginning to believe that C.C. Sabathia is not the direction Milwaukee needs to go.

What should Milwaukee do then? This is wishful thinking, I’m sure, but Doug Melvin should consider these deals.

Deal #1

Milwaukee receives:

  • RP Tony Pena
  • Low-level pitching prospect

Arizona receives:

  • CF Mike Cameron

This would be a big move to improve Milwaukee’s bullpen. Tony Pena is a young right-hander with a big arm. At only 26-years old, the Brewers would control the young man for the next four years. He even could project to be a big league closer in a few years. His fastball-slider combo is electric. Pena’s WHIP has been fantastic since coming into the big leagues. This year, it is at a very respectable 1.231 with a 3.23 ERA. That would be a welcome addition to the Brewers bullpen.

In return for Pena, Arizona would get Mike Cameron. Since LF Eric Byrnes may have injured his hamstring for the season, the D’Backs are thirsting for offensive help. Cameron has been playing much better as of late, and would provide Arizona with a legitimate 20-20 caliber player. He already has 13 home runs, after all. His Gold Glove defense would also be welcome in the outfield. The D’Backs would also have an option to keep Cameron after the season is over.

Cameron is a proven major league starter, and above average in the outfield. I would think that the Brewers are giving up more than are the D’Backs. They should include a low-level pitching prospect to even it out. Gabe Kapler has played fantastically in the outfield. He even has been playing nice defense in center. If Doug Melvin does not want Kapler to play against right-handed pitchers, the team could call up Tony Gwynn Jr. The two may not provide as much power, but the batting average would be higher. It would be a very positive trade for both teams.

Deal #2

Milwaukee receives:

  • RHP Matt Cain

San Francisco receives:

  • 2B Rickie Weeks
  • 1B Chris Errecart
  • OF Lorenzo Cain

This would be a huge move for the Brewers. It would bring in a legitimate #2 pitcher that could be a mainstay at the top of the rotation through 2011. A acquisition like this would allow the Crew to make a push for the 2008 post-season, but it would not mortgage the franchises future. It would be a controversial move, indeed, but it could get a top-flight pitcher to Milwaukee.

Cain has great stuff, and the stats to back it up. At only 23-years old, the San Francisco right-hander has never had an ERA over 4.13. That is in four years of work. Not bad for such a young pitcher. He even threw 200 innings last season. Needless to say, Matt Cain is a stud. Milwaukee would be wise to inquire on this move.

San Fransisco has plenty of pitching in their minor league system, but it is incredibly thin on the offensive front. Ray Durham is way past his prime, and it could be time to find a young replacement. Rickie Weeks has more potential than almost any second baseman in the game. Obviously, he has yet to realize that potential. Brewers fans know all about how Weeks teases, yet doesn’t produce. Perhaps a change of scenery is all he needs. He is a supreme talent.

Chris Errecart has been overlooked in Huntsville because of the other fabulous prospects down there. His power potential is obviously undeniable, and San Fransisco does not have a decent first base prospect. Errecart could give them a hitter that could turn in 25-30 home runs per year with a .270-.285 average. Not a bad catch at all for the Giants.

Finally, Lorenzo Cain could be a sleeper pick-up for San Fran. Cain is due for a promotion down in Brevard County, and it would be a little ironic to trade two players with the same last name. Cain is a legitimate five-tool prospect that could fly up the farm system with the Giants. With more aging players in the outfield, like Randy Winn, Cain could be one that mans left field or right field in just a couple of years. It would help give some much needed offensive depth in the Giants system.

Overall

This would be Milwaukee’s lineup:

C Jason Kendall
1B Prince Fielder
2B Joe Dillon/Craig Counsell
SS J.J. Hardy
3B Bill Hall/Russell Branyan
LF Ryan Braun
CF Gabe Kapler
RF Corey Hart

SP Ben Sheets
SP Matt Cain
SP Manny Parra
SP Jeff Suppan
SP Seth McClung

RP Brian Shouse
RP David Riske
RP Eric Gagne
RP Mitch Stetter
RP Carlos Villanueva
RP Tony Pena
RP Salomon Torres

This obviously weakens Milwaukee’s offense a bit, but the batting average and on-base percentage should go up with Kapler and Dillon at the plate regularly. Platoons are never desirable. That is undeniable. It could, however, potentially help some of the batting average with runners in scoring position. Kapler has been just as productive as Cameron thus far in 2008. Dillon has been swinging a very hot bat in the past month or so, and it presumably will only get better with more plate appearances.

The starting rotation is obviously better. It will alleviate the pain Ben Sheets’ departure will bring next season. Yovani Gallardo and Matt Cain will be a legitimate #1 and #2 combo. The best thing part of the deal is that Cain and Yo would be atop the rotation through 2011. Add the rapidly improving Manny Parra to the mix, and Milwaukee will have a very, very good starting rotation.

Finally, you may notice that Guillermo Mota is not in the bullpen in this scenario. If Pena were acquired, Mota would not have a place in the ‘pen any longer. Milwaukee could attempt to send him to Nashville, but the big righty would probably refuse that. I commend Doug Melvin for making the move for Mota in the off-season. It could have been a great pick-up, but Mota has been nothing but a train wreck the past month and a half. Pena gives the Brewers a future closer that would be able to take over the eighth inning role. Cameron would be missed, but Kapler should be able to fill the role for now.

If Milwaukee truly wants to make the post-season, they must improve one thing that never goes into prolonged slumps. Pitching. Offense will always go through its ups and downs, but pitching is what takes a team to the next level. The starting rotation would be much improved. Matt Cain is obviously much better than Dave Bush. The bullpen would also be much improved.

All of this could be done without sacrificing any of the “Huntsville 5.” This could all be done without trading for a rental. These two players will be very tough to get out of their respective teams, but it can certainly be done. The 2008 Milwaukee Brewers will improve, and future Brewers teams will benefit as well.

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7 responses

3 07 2008
Bernie Carbo

One thing about Cameron in Arizona….20/20 means nothing. Do tou know who leads the Diamondbacks in steals?

Conner Jackson with 6. Manager Melvin out there has done nothing to alter their offensive approach…He re-arranges the batting order real well, but takes very few risks..These last few games against those D-backs has been fun because the Brewers are running and causing a little havoc out there…me thinks

3 07 2008
Jim Breen

The thing is…do you want Mike Cameron or Chris Burke in the outfield if you are Bob Melvin? That’s an easy question to answer.

3 07 2008
Aaron

Arizona isn’t going to get rid of Pena, especially since they shipped out Valverde this winter. They planned on relying on this guy for years to come so they could invest in Webb, Haren and Davis. The couldn’t afford anything like that. The Brewers have Rickie Weeks as an untouchable, at least I still think they do. He still has the physical talents to be an elite second baseman. When he becomes consistent in the years to come, he’ll be unbelievable. I would love to get Matt Cain though. If there was any truth to that, I’d be gung ho.

By the way, the Cards and the Cubs lost last night, so the Brewers stayed on pace. That’s huge.

3 07 2008
Jim Breen

Stark says Rickie Weeks is available if the price is right. I would be more inclined to think J.J. Hardy would be available, as Escobar is ready to step up as early as next season. We will have to see.

Pena is darn near untouchable, but Arizona might pull the trigger in that Cameron deal. If not, someone like Juan Cruz would be intriguing. Although, a better prospect would be in order. The bottom line is that Arizona needs OF help, and the Brewers need help in the ‘pen. It makes a certain amount of sense.

3 07 2008
Jim Breen

Another MLB article says that Cain/Greinke will be available during the off-season. I’ll link to it tomorrow, but Milwaukee could be major players for both of them.

4 07 2008
Bernie Carbo

Arizona outfield….Chris Young in CF with a brand new contract….Justin Upton in RF and his poster boy status …….Conner Jackson in LF who is not exactly a gold glove, but isn’t left field where Jack Cust and Pat Burrel play?

Whu would teh Diamondbacks trade a significant member of their bullpen for Cameron who would be forced into a 4th outfielder role. I don’t see Burke startin in AZ with or without Mr. Burns.

And 1B is had by Chad Tracy…

And anyway, I don’t understand the sudden switch in emphasis from Brewers getting a starter to getting a reliever….We need one more starter in my opinion. That’s what we should focus on….Depending on McLung, Parra, and Bush to be consistent as the long season rolls on is asking alot.

I’m sure Doug Melvin is not so sure about trading for middle relievers after Linebrink was acquired for rent last season…which explains his signing and stockpiling of Riske, Torres, Gagne, Mota(cough cough)..

If we’re gonna trade any of our bashers from AA, it has to be for Cain, Greinke….And if we’re gonna make smaller trades, I beg Melvin to please stay away from Randy Wolfe..

I wish the JJ hardy talk would stop completely. OK, he’s having a repeat of Apil and May, 2007….but hitting surge aside, I ask you to find a shortstop in baseball with his combination of range and arm? Please leave SS alone. There’s no such thing as “can’t miss” prospects. It’s an illusion. Sacrificing someon like Hardy because Alcides Escobar is waiting in the wings makes no sense to me.

Trading Cameron or Gwynn or Hall if anybody wants him and one or two attractive prospects should produce what we need….a starting pitcher….This team was projected by most Brewer fans to be 1st rate and then we lost Gallardo. McLung’s emergence replaces maybe half of Gallardo…Let’s find the other half now.

4 07 2008
Bernie Carbo

Oh yeh and if they want consider trading for Maddux as it reports as a possibility in the JS…..then, go for it….Trade Gwynn and do the kid a carer favor and let him go replace Jody Gerut and play in fronto of his pops out in San Diego…and we get our Don Sutton like 1982….Maddux me thinks for sure has 10 more good starts in him before his last 2 outings becvome more the norm than the rarety.

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