Yes – I get it, the Brewers got swept by the Reds.
The death knell is sounding throughout Brewer Nation, and there isn’t any reason why that shouldn’t be the case. Milwaukee’s playoff hopes are being dashed almost daily by what seems to be an endless supply of heartbreaking losses.
I’ll state it right now, and reiterate this point over and over again:
selling on this team is being minute wise and hour foolish.
Let’s say for a minute that everything we hear is true. Then that means by this time next week we can expect Zack Greinke, Aramis Ramirez, Corey Hart, Francisco Rodriguez, Randy Wolf, and Shaun Marcum to be wearing a different uniform.
Not only would that be one of the single greatest instances of a team mortgaging their future, but it would also be – wait, no, it would just be that first thing.
Well that, and a completely unabashed middle finger to a fanbase that have dedicated themselves to a franchise most baseball fans rarely think twice about.
Right now, as far as we know, an extension has been offered to Greinke – and quite a good one, at that. If he accepts, he’ll be here for another five years. Aramis is here for another two years regardless. Corey Hart is under contract until 2013. Jonathan Lucroy is under contract until 2016, with an option for 2017. Aoki will be a Brewer until at least 2014. Ryan Braun will likely enter a nursing home in a Brewers uniform.
This is what you call a foundation. This is a core group of people from which you can build a championship-quality team around. Before Mat Gamel, Lucroy, and Alex Gonzalez went down with long-term injuries, would any fan be whispering the words “fire sale?”
The answer is almost definitely no, which is why the germane answer to the question of “should the Brewers be selling” is also no.
I can understand looking for trades with Shaun Marcum and Randy Wolf – both can offer some stop-gaps to the bullpen in return, and a serviceable restock of a few prospects. Neither one is performing very high, so options are limited as far as what can be taken in return for the embattled starters.
In the question of Ramy and Greinke being moved, the only real rebuttle is why? Sure, you can get a lot of prospects for them, and maybe even a few Major League-ready players or established veteran help. Prospects are a dime-a-dozen, literally. If Greinke moves for only half the year without being signed to a long-term deal, the team that picks him up gets zero compensation after he high-tails it out the front door. That’s not a huge help to another team. If he stays and doesn’t sign the extension, and leaves for free agency in the off-season – then Milwaukee gets another draft pick in a year when they already have an additional supplemental draft pick thanks to the new Competitive Balance Lottery. I’d take two extra draft picks just as quickly – if not quicker – than I’d give up Greinke mid-season for a boatload of prospects.
Here’s a short list of people drafted by Milwaukee:
That’s what drafting got us. And, I think it’s safe to say that Milwaukee’s piece of the media market isn’t getting bigger any time soon, so we have a chance at an extra draft pick nearly every season – with our chances going up if our win-loss record continues to slide. If you want to restock the farm system, this is a simple, albeit longer term solution that has a proven track record of results for this club (not that trading for prospects is any kind of quick fix to begin with). The best part is: we wouldn’t have to sacrifice any current talent to do it.
I, like all Brewers fans, want a consistently competitive ballclub. And there’s little reason to suspect that this current core of players can’t become that. Francisco and Axford are having down years, Rickie and Corey are struggling, and the bullpen needs work. That’s all true, and no one would even begin to deny that. But a fire sale isn’t the answer – just look at teams like Houston, who had some very successful seasons in the last decade and early part of the 2000’s and then overspent and over-traded trying to chase that high. They are simply one of dozens of teams who falter by giving themselves up to the market. Milwaukee doesn’t need to be one of those teams – not now, not ever.