Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Angels in Trade Talks?


The Milwaukee Brewers have been playing some exciting baseball of late, winning their last seven games in a row thanks to a rejuvenated offensive attack (and perhaps some substandard competition). Even with their recent hot streak, the Brew Crew still finds themselves sitting at just 35-48, the worst team in the National League Central and the third worst record in baseball. Most reports have indicated that Milwaukee is acknowledging their role of “seller” as we trudge towards the non-waiver trade deadline, and they should have several players that contending teams will find intriguing.

At 43-38 and currently in control of a Wild Card spot, the Los Angeles Angels would fit the definition of a contending team. The Angels have experienced plenty of tumult within their ranks of late; a reported rift between management and front-office led to the resignation of long-time General Manager Jerry DiPoto. Former GM Bill Stoneman agreed to run the ship in the interim, with a full-scale search for the next General Manager to take place this offseason. In the meantime, however, Los Angeles has a pennant to chase, and they have reportedly been in the market for a left-handed, high OBP bat who can handle either outfield or designated hitter.

As it happens, the Brewers possess two players who could potentially fit that mold, and it appears that the now former Angels GM recognized that fact. Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that prior to his resignation, DiPoto and the Angels discussed both OF Gerardo Parra and 1B Adam Lind with the Brewers as potential trade targets.

Parra is in the middle of what would be the best offensive season of his career, having put together a strong .306/.344/.467 batting line through 277 plate appearances this season. He has performed about 20% better than league average offensively, with an OPS+ of 121 and a wRC+ of 119 in so far in 2015. He’s already slugged 27 extra base hits this season (including 6 home runs) and currently boasts a career high .161 ISO. Parra has appeared at all three outfield spots this year and comes with a strong defensive reputation having won two Gold Gloves in his career, though he grades out below average this season by both UZR and DRS.

Parra would immediately be an upgrade over Matt Joyce in left field, who has managed only a .593 OPS this season while playing subpar defense. The Angels Opening Day payroll was nearly $20 mil lower than where they ended last season, and playing in one of the game’s largest markets should allow them the flexibility to take on some more money if needed. Parra is owed about half of his $6.3 mil salary this year, so his contract shouldn’t be much of an impediment in a deal. The Brewers gave up a lefty pitching prospect and an athletic outfielder to get Gerardo from Arizona last year, but if they could get a big, projectable pitcher like Christopher Ellis in return this season, the Brewers would probably pull the trigger. Unfortunately, word on the street is that the Angels would like to add a bigger bat to their lineup than Parra, who has been slightly below average at the dish during his seven year career (92 wRC+, 96 OPS+).

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Perhaps that is where Adam Lind comes in. The Brewers’ first baseman came over via trade this past offseason, and has done nothing but become Milwaukee’s best hitter since his arrival. In 78 games for the Brewers, Lind has slashed .295/.370/.507 with 13 home runs. He is currently walking at the highest rate of his big league career (10.9%), and his .877 OPS is the highest he has posted since his 35 home run campaign in 2009. Despite playing mostly as a DH over the past few seasons in Toronto, Lind has actually performed admirably at first base this year, having posted a 0.8 UZR and 3 DRS to this point in the year. After DL stints in each of the last four seasons, Lind has yet to experience any issues this year and has been nearly an everyday player.

Adding a left handed power bat like Lind would make perfect sense for the Angels, whose designated hitters have posted the 3rd worst fWAR in this league this season. Adam could split time between first base and DH with Albert Pujols, allowing each the rest they need to stay healthy while keeping their potent bats in the lineup. Lind is owed the remainder of his $7.5 mil salary for this season and is controllable next year on a reasonable $8 mil option. The Brewers gave up a mid-rotation starter in Marco Estrada to get Lind, but will be seeking prospects in return this go around. 3B Kyle Kubitza would likely be a player Milwaukee would target, and young arms like Victor Alcantara or Nate Smith could pique their interest, as well.

Both Gerardo Parra and Adam Lind are good players, but the truth is that they would be much more useful to a contender than a cellar-dweller like the Brewers. While the Angels don’t possess an incredibly deep farm system, they do have some intriguing prospects that could tempt Milwaukee in a deal for either player. Los Angeles has the need, and either Lind or Parra would be a particularly strong addition to their lineup. As the trade deadline draws nearer, the Angels should be a club that Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin is keeping on speed dial.

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