Milwaukee Brewers: Could they make a trade with the Royals?

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 07: Alcides Escobar #2 of the Kansas City Royals is congratulated by Whit Merrifield #15 after he hit a home run in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on June 7, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 07: Alcides Escobar #2 of the Kansas City Royals is congratulated by Whit Merrifield #15 after he hit a home run in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on June 7, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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The Milwaukee Brewers will be buyers come the July Trade Deadline, and they’ll look all over for players to help out their team. Could the Kansas City Royals be a good trade partner?

The speculative trade fit between the Milwaukee Brewers and Kansas City Royals is not a new one. Ever since the beginning of last offseason there have been rumblings of a deal between these two teams. Those rumors quieted down after spring training started but now we could hear those murmurs start to get louder and louder.

The Royals have continued their downward path towards the bottom of the standings, currently sitting in last place in the AL Central, the worst division in baseball. They look primed to sell this trade season.

The Brewers, however, are at the top of the NL Central and have their sights set on their first playoff appearance since 2011. Milwaukee is primed to buy this trade season. Given the situations of these two teams, there’s at least going to be a phone call or two between them.

What do the Royals have to offer?

The Royals have a bunch of intriguing pieces that will be of interest to several teams. Reliever Kelvin Herrera figures to be the most obvious trade chip for the Royals. But will the Brewers be interested? They already have an excellent bullpen and it’s really not a need.

The more interesting names are the ones that the Milwaukee Brewers were connected to all last winter. Second baseman Whit Merrifield and starting pitcher Danny Duffy still have long term control and figure to be on the trade block once again.

Merrifield is having another good season, hitting .291/.367/.419 with 21 doubles, four homers, and 14 stolen bases. His home run power hasn’t shown up yet this season, but he’s getting a lot more doubles and is drawing a lot more walks this year. Last year, Merrifield drew 29 walks in 630 plate appearances. This year, Merrifield already has 28 walks in only 295 plate appearances.

Southpaw Danny Duffy was thought by some to be a possible frontline starting pitcher target but has instead suffered through a terrible 2018 season. Duffy has a 5.28 ERA and has allowed 16 home runs in his 14 starts. He’s also allowed a ton of walks and has overall struggled to start the year.

Could the Brewers make a deal come together?

The Milwaukee Brewers might be in the market for a second baseman given the need for production in the middle infield. Whit Merrifield has been a productive player for about two years now and he would be an excellent addition. He also has plenty of team control, under contract for the next four seasons. He won’t even be arbitration eligible until 2020.

David Stearns has shown he prefers to acquire players with long term control, and Merrifield fits that bill. However, the Royals are going to have a very high price tag placed on Merrifield for interested teams. Would the Brewers really want to give up a ton of prospects for a player like Merrifield when Keston Hiura could be ready for the big leagues very soon?

The only way that kind of acquisition would work is if Hiura goes back to Kansas City in the return package. It seems doubtful to me that the Brewers would want to move Hiura in order to add another second baseman, even though Merrifield is better defensively and can play multiple positions.

If Hiura goes anywhere this July, it’s likely going to be for a frontline starting pitcher, which is something the Royals do not possess at the moment.

It seems doubtful that a trade could come together this July, unless the Brewers make a move for a starting pitcher elsewhere, sending Hiura out and putting the Crew in need of a future at second base. Only then would a move for Merrifield make sense, but making two trades like that would seriously deplete this farm system, which is something the Brewers do not want to do.

Next: Possible trade for Pirates' Josh Harrison?

Plenty of things can happen between now and July 31st, but the Milwaukee Brewers and Kansas City Royals don’t appear to be the perfect trade partners that many thought them to be in the past.

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