The Milwaukee Brewers have been connected to several middle infield options this July. One such name is Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals. What could it cost to get him?
To answer this question, we talked to our friends over at Kings of Kauffmann to try and work out a deal for Merrifield. We already know that the Milwaukee Brewers have interest in Merrifield. So working out a possible trade package only seemed natural.
Negotiations were tough. Right off the bat, we made sure to let them know that pitchers Freddy Peralta and Corbin Burnes were untouchable. Instead, Kings of Kauffman tried to focus on Keston Hiura. Both Hiura and Merrifield are second basemen, and it’s one long-term second baseman for another. So that would make some sense.
But it was still tough to give him up. We didn’t want to move Hiura unless it was for an ace-level pitcher. Danny Duffy’s name was mentioned since he’s the Royals best starter. But the Reviewing the Brew crew wasn’t interested in the inconsistent lefty. So we took a hardline stance and said no to Duffy and kept Hiura out of the deal.
Instead, the Royals ended up settling for a different headlining prospect and some big league ready, but controllable players.
What was the projected trade package?
In the end, both sides agreed on this trade package.
Third baseman Lucas Erceg ended up being the headliner. With his strong power profile at third and a good glove to go with it, Erceg has a ton of potential and could be a great big league player. Mike Moustakas figures to get traded at the deadline as well, and the Royals could use a third baseman of the future. The Milwaukee Brewers already have one in Travis Shaw.
Domingo Santana is blocked at the big league level. He’s going to be a platoon/bench player for the next several years no matter what he does. Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich are here for five years. Ryan Braun is signed for three more. No matter what he does, he won’t be an everyday player in Milwaukee. He still has that potential, but he needs a new team. The Royals should give him a great opportunity to have 30 homer seasons once again.
Bubba Derby is a Triple-A pitcher that’s also going to be blocked from getting many opportunities at the big league level. With pitchers like Brandon Woodruff, Adrian Houser, Jorge Lopez, and Aaron Wilkerson all above him on the organizational depth chart, he won’t crack the rotation. The 24 year old Derby has a 3.94 ERA this year in 80 innings of work.
Could this deal work?
To me, this appears to be a fair offer. Merrifield is controllable for the long term, making him more expensive to acquire. Giving up Hiura may be necessary to get this deal done in real life, but Erceg is a high caliber player as well, and also provides long term help at a position the Royals need a long term solution.
Santana can get regular playing time in the big leagues with Kansas City and Derby could finally get a shot to crack a big league rotation with the Royals as well. Erceg and Santana are high ceiling guys that can do great things. Derby’s ceiling isn’t as high, but the Royals do need some pitching and he’s an arm that’s close to the big leagues.
If other offers get more competitive and there’s a bidding war, this may not be enough. But maybe what Tyler Saladino and Brad Miller can offer at the plate will be enough to let David Stearns stick to his guns and not up the offer from here.
The Milwaukee Brewers have the prospect capital to get any player they want to. But they have to balance getting what they want and keeping the farm system in a good spot.