Milwaukee Brewers: What to do at the trade deadline?

Matthew Dewoskin
Apr 1, 2017; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun (8) reacts after striking out in the fourth inning during the game against the Chicago White Sox at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 1, 2017; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun (8) reacts after striking out in the fourth inning during the game against the Chicago White Sox at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /
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Ryan Braun, left fielder, Milwaukee Brewers
Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

The trade deadline is just over a month away and the Milwaukee Brewers are still in first place in the NL Central. They hold a one game lead over the defending World Champion Chicago Cubs. The Brewers went into this season expecting to be near the bottom of the division. What should GM David Stearns do now that the team is exceeding expectations? Go all in? Waive the white flag? Turn off the phone?

The Case For Going All In

Banners fly forever, even division championships. Going all in and dealing a few prospects for a short term rental in the bullpen or starting rotation would provide the boost the team needs to pull away from the Cubs. As we all saw with the CC Sabathia trade a few years ago, prospects don’t always pan out. Well, Michael Brantley did, but Matt LaPorta hasn’t been seen in years.

Packaging Brett Phillips and a few pitchers from Double or Single-A for Jose Quintana or Sonny Gray could bring October baseball to Milwaukee much sooner than anticipated.

The Case For Cashing Out

The Milwaukee Brewers are playing with house money this year. They didn’t expect to do this well in a division that appeared ready to be dominated by the Cubs for the next few years. They have assets in Ryan Braun, Keon Broxton, Jimmy Nelson, and Chase Anderson that could bring an impressive haul in return. Ownership and the front office are committed to a full rebuild. Why not tear it down completely and start over fresh with young, exciting, cost controlled players and build the Milwaukee Brewers into a juggernaut?

The Case For Shutting Off The Phones

The team as constructed may be good enough to win the division as is. The Cubs started are hurting and lack the pitching depth they took into the playoffs last October. The Cardinals have a roster that lacks top tier talent. The Pirates are intriguing, but lack a true run producer anywhere in the lineup. The Reds have a ton of thump, but lack a pitching staff. Why not the Brewers? Why not THESE Brewers? Stand pat, let the chips fall where they may, and call up the kids as need be.

What The Brewers Actually Should Do

All three scenarios above aren’t the right answer for the Brewers. What’s likely to happen is David Stearns will stick with the roster as currently constructed, and only add if the move has zero risk to the long term goals of the team. They won’t be making any splashes or dealing any prospects, but deals for players like Stephen Vogt or Tom Wilhelmsen are likely to occur. Plucking a few names off the waiver wire, and hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.

Next: How To Fix The Brewers Bullpen

The current Brewers roster has made the 2017 season a lot of fun, and it’s only half over. We still haven’t hit the All-Star Break yet, and the team is making these buy/sell/hold discussions very real. They’ll get more real as we inch towards the trade deadline, but the team is unlikely to make any major additions. The Milwaukee Brewers are going to stick with the roster that has gotten them this far, and hope for the best knowing that the rebuild is only in its infancy.

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