Milwaukee Brewers: Who’s the Best Middle Infield Trade Option?

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OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 29: Jed Lowrie #8 of the Oakland Athletics is congratulated by third base coach Matt Williams #4 after hitting a home run against the Cleveland Indians during the eighth inning at the Oakland Coliseum on June 29, 2018 in Oakland, California. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Cleveland Indians 3-1. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 29: Jed Lowrie #8 of the Oakland Athletics is congratulated by third base coach Matt Williams #4 after hitting a home run against the Cleveland Indians during the eighth inning at the Oakland Coliseum on June 29, 2018 in Oakland, California. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Cleveland Indians 3-1. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /
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The Milwaukee Brewers should buy at the trade deadline. A glaring need for this team is at in their middle infield. There are a few solid options out there on the market, but who is the best fit for the Brewers?

Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia struggled offensively this season. The second base position with either Jonathan Villar or Hernan Perez has not been very consistent. Tyler Saladino and Brad Miller have been brought in to try to help with that cause, but Saladino is still hurt and there isn’t much certainty with either option.

Who’s the top trade target?

The first option from the trade market would be the star shortstop from the Baltimore Orioles, Manny Machado. The Milwaukee Brewers have come up in discussions for Machado. He would be a fantastic fit, but it is very unlikely that Machado would end up in a Brewers uniform. Sending headliner prospects for a rental is a move that GM David Stearns won’t want to make, but you never know.

Who else is available?

The next option would be Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals. The Milwaukee Brewers have reportedly made calls about Merrifield, and it makes sense why. He is controllable until 2022, and he gets on base a lot with potential for more power, especially in Miller Park compared to Kauffman.

Another more unexpected option is the Minnesota Twins switch hitting infielder Eduardo Escobar. Escobar qualifies as a rental as well, but he wouldn’t cost nearly as much as Machado and could  help. Escobar has a .279 average with 12 home runs and a .867 OPS. Similar to Merrifield, he could also benefit from switching to playing in Miller Park rather than pitcher friendly Target Field.

Rumors came up this past week that the Milwaukee Brewers have shown interest in Miami Marlins utility man Derek Dietrich. Dietrich is a rental, and is having a surprisingly solid season for the rebuilding Marlins. He has a .292 average with 11 home runs and a .822 OPS. He could also see a power increase with a move away from Marlins Park.

Lastly, Jed Lowrie of the Oakland Athletics is a very intriguing option for the Brewers. Like Escobar, Lowrie is a switch hitter, and is also a rental. He is probably the best talent of these players besides Machado. He won’t come cheap, but he shouldn’t cost as much as Machado. Lowrie can play second, third or shortstop and has a .293 average with 14 home runs and a .852 OPS.

Which option makes the most sense?

Other than Merrifield, all these options are rentals which, again, is not typically up Stearns alley. However, the Brewers are clearly in a position where they can win. This is a team that has the raw potential to make the playoffs and make a run if they make a few additions. However, those holes need to be filled at this trade deadline. The Brewers only have so much in their farm system to work with.

If the Milwaukee Brewers were to go the rental route, the best option would be Lowrie. He plays both infield positions of need well. He is also a switch hitter who would fit perfectly with the mix of righties and lefties in the Brewers lineup. The only concern is that the Athletics are a surprisingly good team this year. They are only a few games out of a wild card spot. Depending on where they stand, they might not want to sell.

While Lowrie would be the best rental option, the fact that there are multiple solid options on the market is encouraging because if the Brewers lost a bidding war on one, or the price for one is simply to high, they could go for the other and still get a big upgrade for their team. Also, the rentals not named Machado would be more likely to resign if they have a good experience this season in Milwaukee.

What can Brewers fans expect from Stearns?

Stearns should favor the controllable Merrifield over any of these rentals. Merrifield is 29 years old right now. The Brewers would still get several good years from him as he has several prime seasons remaining in his career. However, a deal with Merrifield would certainly cost top prospect Keston Hiura due to him blocking that position, a rental most likely wouldn’t.

Next: Could the Brewers reunite with Scooter Gennett?

The Brewers are going to be involved in several rumors with the trade deadline approaching. That is a good sign if you’re a fan. Stearns should be aggressive to make this team better in any way he can. He will be involved on many different pieces out there on the market. The middle infield is clearly a top priority.

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