Milwaukee Brewers: Team Needs at the July Trade Deadline

PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 16: Manager Craig Counsell #30 of the Milwaukee Brewers looks on from the bench during the fifth inning of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 16, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 16: Manager Craig Counsell #30 of the Milwaukee Brewers looks on from the bench during the fifth inning of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 16, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Brewers are going to be buyers at the Trade Deadline this year. Now that the calendar has turned to July, it’s time to look at what the Crew will need.

When the Chicago Cubs are the main competition in the division, it’s going to be tough for anyone else to win the crown. The Milwaukee Brewers know that all too well after what happened last season. Brewers GM David Stearns made small, measured buys at the deadline because he wasn’t sure the success was sustainable this early.

It was the smart move in 2017, but this year, Stearns is going to have to think bigger. Acquiring guys like Anthony Swarzak and Jeremy Jeffress won’t cut it this time. The fans and the team deserve something much more substantial in 2018.

They will make at least one move, possibly more depending on the size of them. But if they go big, Stearns might be content with just one deal. If they make just one trade, it’s probably going to be for their biggest need.

1. Get an Ace

This has been the Brewers biggest need since last offseason. Jimmy Nelson is behind schedule in his rehab, Chase Anderson isn’t himself, and there’s no one that Craig Counsell can expect a win from each time out there.

David Stearns made some comments recently on his search for a starting pitcher this July and he said that if he’s going to get one, it’s someone who can lead the rotation.

All successful playoff teams have an ace that can carry them through the postseason. Last year, Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw carried their teams to the World Series. In 2016, Jon Lester and Corey Kluber carried their teams through the playoffs. Who can be that guy for the Milwaukee Brewers right now? There’s nobody at this point.

They need to get a frontline starting pitcher if they want to be able to make a deep playoff run. Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are the two big names on the market and they can make a competitive offer to get one of them.

2. Middle Infield Help

Orlando Arcia has been optioned to Triple-A for the second time this season. Jonathan Villar still has his struggles. Eric Sogard is still well below the Mendoza Line. The Brewers need some production out of the middle infield.

Brad Miller has been serviceable since coming up to Milwaukee, but Tyler Saladino is a question mark at this point and they could use some more production up the middle.

Related Story: Who is the best middle infield trade option?

The Crew is rumored to be interested in Derek Dietrich and Whit Merrifield, two very successful second basemen who can play all over the diamond, and could swing a deal for either. Merrifield will cost more than Dietrich, but he’s controllable for longer.

If the Brewers are going to acquire a bat, odds are it’s going to be someone to fill one of these holes up the middle. At shortstop, Arcia is still the long term option, making a rental like Manny Machado enticing. While at second base, adding a long term fix might be more preferable.

3. Catching Help

The Milwaukee Brewers already made one addition to the catching corps this year when they acquired Erik Kratz from the Yankees, and he’s done pretty well so far, but Manny Pina hasn’t had a great offensive season. Pina is hitting .227 with a .665 OPS this year.

If the Brewers want to go with a big upgrade with the bat, JT Realmuto of the Marlins would be the most obvious choice in July. But he’s going to be expensive to acquire and this position is not the highest priority right now.

Acquiring starting catchers in the middle of the season is pretty rare. Two years ago, the Brewers were on the other end of this situation when they traded Jonathan Lucroy to the Rangers at the Deadline. As far as getting one right now, it’s more of a luxury than a desperate need for a change at the position. There’s some depth in Triple-A the Crew can dip into if necessary.

Getting that frontline starter should be the primary focus for the Milwaukee Brewers this July. Making a smaller move for the middle infield could work as well. If David Stearns can pair those two moves, the Crew is going to be in pretty good shape come September and October.

Next: Rumors: Crew interested in Whit Merrifield

It’s going to be a fun July trading season as the Crew should be in the thick of all the big rumors. When you’re a possible World Series contender, things like that will happen.