The Milwaukee Brewers have been linked to both Kevin Gausman and Zack Wheeler. Which trade target makes the most sense for 2018 and beyond?
The Milwaukee Brewers need to boost their starting rotation if they want to seriously contend for a division title or Wild Card. They’ve been linked to both Kevin Gausman and Zack Wheeler in recent weeks. Is one option clearly better? Or should fans just hope for anyone to upgrade the Brewers rotation?
How’s Gausman doing this year?
Gausman has worked 124 innings with the Baltimore Orioles this year. He’s posted a 7.55 K/9 and a 2.32 BB/9. His 4.05 xFIP indicates that his 4.43 actual ERA is a bit of a mirage. Move Gausman to a league that doesn’t have a DH, and a division that doesn’t have the Red Sox or Yankees, and he might fully break out.
How about Wheeler?
The Mets believe that Wheeler has figured out a few things, and it’s showing in the results. Wheeler owns a 4.11 actual ERA and a 4.00 xFIP in 120 1/3 innings. He has an 8.68 K/9 and a 3.13 BB/9. Wheeler hasn’t finished a full season since 2014, but looks like he’s back on track this year.
Is there a difference in their contracts?
Gausman is signed through 2018 at $5.6 million and has two years of arbitration left. Wheeler is signed through 2018 at only $1.9 million, but he only has one year of arbitration remaining before he hits free agency.
Who would cost more in a trade?
Based on the chatter out of New York, it sounds like the Mets are expecting teams to pay full sticker for Wheeler. The Orioles are in a full sell off, and have already flipped Manny Machado, Zach Britton, and Brad Brach, and are trying to deal just about everyone else. It’s believed that a few other teams are sniffing around Gausman, but it would come as a surprise to see him leave for more than one top-10 prospect and a few extras. He probably won’t cost full sticker price unless a team comes in with an offer that’s over the top.
Based on his performance, ability, pedigree, and affordability, Gausman looks like the better target for the Milwaukee Brewers on paper. Wheeler throws half his games in a pitcher’s park, and his numbers really aren’t that different from Gausman’s. While Gausman has to face the Yankees and Red Sox in hitter’s parks. A move to the National League could provide a boost for both the Milwaukee Brewers and Gausman’s career.