Another day, another loss for he Milwaukee Brewers. While the team has been playing better baseball of late (5-3 in their last eight games), the lowly Brewers’ still find themselves in the cellar with a dismal 9-20 record to this point in the season. Though Ron Roenicke was dismissed and Craig Counsell was installed as manager in effort to jump start the team, the fact remains that Milwaukee has already fallen 12.5 games back in the NL Central and six games back of the second Wild Card. Given the Brewers’ unexpectedly awful start, “rebuild” has become a hot button word around Milwaukee.
The Brewers do have several possible trade pieces, including superstars like Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez, as well as solid contributors like Gerardo Parra, Kyle Lohse, and Francisco Rodriguez, among others. While there seems to be some varying ideas about how grand of a scale this impending Brewers’ rebuild will be, Doug Melvin is “open to everything” according to a report by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Lucroy and young infielder Jean Segura are noted as the least likely to be moved at this point, but it doesn’t sound like anyone is exactly “untouchable.”
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One player mentioned that has already drawn interest is Brewers’ second baseman Scooter Gennett. According to Heyman: “Milwaukee turned back at least the Angels’ winter overture” in regards to their young keystone, meaning that there could have been further interest from teams other than the one in Anaheim.
Gennett would have likely been an excellent fit with Los Angeles, especially considering that the team traded longtime second baseman Howie Kendrick to the cross-town Dodgers during the winter. The Angels are currently employing former Royal Johnny Giavotella at second, who owns a career .246/.289/.340 line over parts of five seasons. While both are regarded as solid defenders, Giavotella‘s .278 career wOBA is more than 50 points lower than Scooter’s .334 mark, and Gennett makes “hard contact” on the ball at a rate nearly 8% higher than his counterpart in LA.
Of course, there are plenty of reasons for the Brewers to hang on to Scooter. Just 25, Gennett likely won’t be eligible for arbitration for another year after this one, and isn’t able to become a free agent until after the 2019 season. Up the middle talent can be difficult to come across, and Scooter has already produced fWAR marks of 2.0 and 1.8 in his first two seasons in the major leagues.
Gennett, who swings lefty, has gotten off to a slow start this year and does have a noted deficiency at hitting left handed pitching. He missed a little over two weeks after injuring his hand in the shower, but all it will take is a little hot streak to turn around a .225/.295/.300 start through his first 44 plate appearances. Given his solid track record overall in the majors and years of team control, Scooter would be able to net one or two solid prospects if he’s put on the block.
Should the Brewers decide to move Scooter, they do have several in-house replacements to employ at second. Both Hector Gomez and Elian Herrera have had modest success in the majors this season, and prospect Luis Sardinas (currently in AAA) can play second base as well. One interesting idea could be trading Gennett and moving Jean Segura to second, given the Brewers’ glut of talent at shortstop.
The rebuild is coming, Milwaukee. Are you ready?