After a disappointing start to the 2020 season with the Brewers, Brock Holt was designated for assignment.
When a player gets DFA’ed, for the next few days they are stuck in what is called ‘DFA Limbo’ where they wait to hear if they get claimed on waivers, get an outright assignment to the minors, get traded, or get released. For the Brewers and Brock Holt, accepting an outright minor league assignment is unlikely.
Despite his slow offensive start, there is sure to be plenty of interest in Holt now that he’s on the market, and teams trying to position themselves to land the veteran might not be in the best spot on the waiver wire to land the claim. In that case, swinging a trade becomes a very likely and viable option.
So if the Brewers were to trade Brock Holt to the team that wants him most, where would he go? Most likely, it’ll be the Boston Red Sox that are going to put in calls to Brewers GM David Stearns about getting Brock Holt. Boston is having a down year and will be a clear seller with a little over a week to go until the deadline, while the Brewers are thinking about buying, but need better performance.
Here’s my trade proposal for the Brewers and Red Sox to consider.
Brewers-Red Sox Trade Idea
In this trade, the Brewers get the immediate help that they need, adding outfielder Kevin Pillar to the lineup. He’s been playing just about everyday for Boston this year and has a solid .272/.337/.424 slash line with a 103 OPS+. He would be able to effectively replace the offensive and defensive production that Lorenzo Cain normally brings and that the Brewers have been desperate for since his opt-out.
Pillar is a free agent at the end of the season and thus would not cause a logjam when Cain returns in 2021.
In addition to that, the Brewers also snag RHP Matt Barnes in this deal. Barnes has moved into the closer’s role for Boston since they traded Brandon Workman the other day. He’s had a rough start to 2020 in a very small sample size of 11 innings. Historically, Barnes is a serviceable reliever with a high strikeout rate and a solid ERA. He would be in a setup role with the Brewers and help deepen that bullpen even further. Barnes still has another year of team control after this year.
In return, the Brewers send Brock Holt back to the Red Sox where he can return to a more comfortable environment and perhaps that will turn things around for him at the plate. The real prize in this deal is catching prospect Payton Henry, whom the Brewers just added to their 60 man player pool a few days ago. He’s is the Crew’s No. 17 ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline.
The Red Sox are without any decent catching prospects and only have Christian Vasquez under contract through 2021 with a club option for 2022. Henry can hit for power and is a very good defender behind the dish. He won’t hit for a high average, but there’s still plenty of value in Henry as a future big league catcher.
Also, a Player To Be Named Later gets thrown in this deal as well. Holt doesn’t bring great trade value outside of nostalgia and clubhouse fun for the Red Sox and the Brewers might need a little more. However, Stearns is unlikely to throw away too many of his prospects from Appleton in a deal like this, so a PTBNL comes into play.
A guy like Justin Topa, who is on the 60 man, could make sense as a throw-in, but another pitcher from the minors could make just as much sense even though they aren’t on the 60 man. Stearns has talked about the use of PTBNLs in trades this year to get around the 60 man roster requirement and he does so in this trade proposal.
A one-for-one deal with Holt and Pillar likely wouldn’t be enough, and throwing in Henry just for Pillar would be too rich from the Brewers side. Robert Murray reported that the Brewers are prioritizing players with additional years of control and that’s where the addition of Barnes comes in for this deal. He would be in his final year of arbitration in 2021.
The Brewers need an injection of offense and Pillar would bring that. Adding Barnes to the depth of the Crew’s bullpen arms also couldn’t hurt. The Brewers have a lot of guys they can use back there and trust, and adding another power arm to that mix should make them even better.
I think this is a win-win for both clubs. The Sox get a fan favorite back and a possible catcher of the future while the Brewers grab a much needed temporary outfield fix and offensive jumpstart as well as another powerful bullpen arm.
The trade deadline is just a little over a week away, and the Crew needs some help if they’re going to make the playoffs and make a run this year. It would help if their current guys started playing better, but sometimes a jolt is necessary.