In the weekend leading up to the Trade Deadline, all signs pointed to the Brewers opening the floodgates and letting go of whatever contract money they could in order to rebuild for the future. Doug Melvin said in no clearer terms that the Milwaukee Brewers were ‘Open for Business.’
Zack Greinke left for the Angels. George Kottaras left for Oakland.
Then, something strange happened: nothing.
The Non-Waiver Trade Deadline has officially washed over Major League Baseball, and though there were plenty of big deals going down across both leagues – the Brewers weren’t in on one of them.
Here are a couple of reasons we think that the Brewers have stood pat during the waning hours of open trading:
Doug Melvin Got What He Wanted
It’s very possible that Doug Melvin and the rest of the Brewers Front Office just weren’t looking for that
much. During the trading season, a lot of what is said is simply to test waters and find out who’s biting on what, and for what cost. It seems ever more likely that this was Doug’s plan all along.
He got a boatload of good prospects – including one that could be a long-term solution for a long-term problem at the middle infield in Segura – and the only person who could net him that kind of return was Zack Greinke. It’s not every day that the top half of a team’s prospect list falls in your lap, after all.
After that was done, I imagine there were calls made on Ramirez and Hart, along with a few other players – but the price just didn’t seem right. I’m guessing the talent didn’t line up on both sides of the line, and losing all your current talent for future players is not a sound strategy to sell tickets.
In the end, Melvin scored one good deal, made a necessary though not spectacular deal, and then rested on his laurels content to see who bit on the rest of his bait.
You Can’t Sell What a Team Won’t Buy
Of course, it’s equally possible that nobody wanted what Melvin wanted to sell.
Corey Hart is playing well lately, and is one of the top defensive first basemen in the National League – it seemed like it would be an easy sell. But Hart has problems well-noted in both consistency and health that could scare off a few teams. Not to mention the pending free agency.
Randy Wolf might have been tossed around, but let’s be honest. You don’t accumulate numbers like his just by being a hard-luck pitcher. Ask Mike Fiers about that one. He’s also notoriously fickle on the mound and with his catchers, which would turn him off even on teams looking for veteran pitching – which are hard enough to find.
Rickie Weeks is – well, Rickie is Rickie and though he is high-profile and capable he’s effectively made of glass. And considering the price a team would have to pay for a Mendoza-line player, unless Milwaukee really needed a new Juggs machine or some fungos there was little chance of anything ever materialized.
Manny Parra was thrown around as a possible trade as well, but word is the Brewers want to “try him as a starter again.” Which sounds more like the Brewers don’t know what to do with him, thus meaning other teams don’t know what to do with him either. Why buy what you can’t use?
Aramis seemed like a lock for a while, but I suspect that his lower power output this year had more than a few teams sour on that deal. Either that, or the Brewers simply wanted too much for the 34 year-old third baseman.
Rearrange Rather Than Rebuild
After all those scenarios played out (to whatever degree of veracity contained therein), it was time for Doug Melvin – for better or worse – to return to his second goal of the season, that being to try and win games now in addition to rebuilding for the future.
So, taking stock of what was gained and lost, players were simply shuffled about in order to optimize
progression and performance. You can see a full list of the transactions made here, but here are some highlights:
- Maysonet and Kjeldgaard were spared the blade of the DFA and simply outrighted to Nashville and Brevard County, respectively
- Tyler Thornburg was optioned to Nashville to “stretch out” into a starter again
- Shaun Marcum went to the 60-day DL in order to make room
- Mike McClendon was called up to the bullpen
These are just a sampling of what the Crew is trying to do to right the ship and bring it safe in (at least) fourth place in the NL Central. It’s nothing flashy – but then again progress rarely is. It’s a slow process that, when done correctly, often doesn’t look like much is going on at all.
All or part of all of these reasons make sense as to why the Brewers didn’t simply throw caution to the wind.
Of course there’s always the fact that the Brewers Front Office thinks the team is better than the way they’re performing. While there is truth to that argument, it could be as dangerous a proposition as selling to your heart’s content.
Why do YOU think the Brewers didn’t sell? Give us your own reasons below.