We already went over the top three needs the Milwaukee Brewers have to address this off-season. Normally it takes teams a couple of moves to address all three. But what if there was a way for the Brewers to address all three needs at once.
Creating the perfect trade is difficult. Creating the perfect trade that works for both teams and is actually realistic is even more difficult. The Milwaukee Brewers have a need to add players to second base and the rotation, while subtracting a player from their crowded outfield situation.
The Kansas City Royals have been trade partners with the Brewers in the past, including deals that gave Milwaukee Zack Greinke and Will Smith while sending Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Nori Aoki to Kansas City. These trades have been beneficial for both clubs in the past so why not partner up once again.
The Kansas City Royals will have needs at centerfield and shortstop as it appears both Cain and Escobar will leave in free agency. In the event that they sign elsewhere, Royals GM Dayton Moore will be looking for replacements. That’s where Brewers GM David Stearns comes in and gives Moore a call.
What would the deal look like?
This trade serves multiple purposes for the Milwaukee Brewers. First, it helps clear up the outfield picture by removing Keon Broxton. Second, it solves the second base situation with Merrifield taking over after having an incredible season in 2017. Third, it gives Craig Counsell a lefty option for his rotation next year.
Who are the Brewers getting in this deal?
Whit Merrifield hit .288/.324/.460 with 19 homers, 78 RBIs, and 34 stolen bases out of the lead-off spot for Kansas City. Not only would he solidify second base, but he would be an ideal lead-off hitter in this lineup that struggled to find consistency at that spot in 2017.
Eric Skoglund pitched to a 4.07 ERA in 20 starts this season between Double-A and Triple-A. Skoglund is the Royals’ fifth-best prospect and their top pitching prospect. As a lefty starter, his future is projected as a number four starter and has a high floor so his chances of success are quite good. His fastball now sits in the 91-95 range and would be a much needed hard thrower in the rotation with Nelson out for awhile. Plus throwing with his left arm helps balance the rotation.
Eric Stout pitched to a 2.99 ERA in 45 relief appearances for Kansas City’s Triple-A affiliate. In those 45 appearances, opponents only hit .227 against him. Stout would be a solid option for a bullpen spot in 2017. At only 24 years old, Stout could be a big part of a bullpen for years to come.
What about the guys going to Kansas City?
Keon Broxton will give the Kansas City Royals something they didn’t have in center field when Lorenzo Cain was there. That would be a 20-20 season. Lorenzo Cain was fast and could hit for average, but he never had the kind of power Broxton has. The most homers Cain had in a season was 16. Broxton hit 20 this year, and with regular playing time in Kansas City he can hit many more. Royals hitting coach Dale Sveum will be able to work with Broxton and help him find consistency.
Jonathan Villar had a down season in 2017, there’s no denying it. But there’s also no denying that he had a remarkable 2016. Participating in the World Baseball Classic this spring most likely threw off Villar as he didn’t get regular at-bats in the WBC that he would’ve gotten in Spring Training. There’s still plenty of potential in Villar and perhaps a change of scenery will do him some good.
Nate Orf had an incredible season in Triple-A in 2017, hitting .320/.397/.507 with nine homers, 11 triples, and 32 doubles. Overall, a pretty good season for Orf. The problem is, he won’t have a spot in Milwaukee’s crowded middle infield. But there is plenty of room in Kansas City for middle infielders.
Of course with the Brewers taking the Royals starting second baseman, one needs to be provided in return since they don’t have a replacement readily available. Plus, since Alcides Escobar is a free agent they could use a shortstop too. Remember, Jonathan Villar was a shortstop first and was moved to second base after Arcia came up. He could go back to his primary position in KC.. Orf can also compete for playing time at second base with Merrifield now in Milwaukee.
Who says no first?
But there is one snag that could kill a deal like this. The Kansas City Royals may start a complete rebuild and for that reason they may be unwilling to part with a prospect like Skoglund and a future stud in Merrifield. But a deal like this might help quicken that rebuild. The Milwaukee Brewers will be giving up two young Major League players. They’ll only get one Major League player in return.
Skoglund is close to the big leagues and so is Stout. Both could easily be on the 25-man roster coming out of Spring Training.
In this deal, both teams are dealing from a position of strength for a position of weakness. The Brewers have an overload of center fielders and shortstops and the Royals have a weakness at both of those positions right now.
This deal may have to wait until both Escobar and Cain sign elsewhere but a lot of things can happen at the Winter Meetings in December. A deal like this should be strongly considered by Brewers GM David Stearns. It serves to clear up the outfield picture, add a rotation arm and solidify second base. All three are things Stearns is looking to do this winter, and he can do all of them in one trade. He kills three birds with one stone.
I’m curious as to what fans think of the trade. This may seem like it works too much in the Brewers favor at first look but it could quite beneficial for both sides looking back a few years from now.