Brewers: Three Prospects Who Could Be Traded This Offseason
By Matt Carroll
The Brewers have plenty of improvements to make before next season. If they decide to go the trade route, here are three prospects who could move.
As the Milwaukee Brewers enter the 2020-2021 offseason, they find themselves as a team with multiple needs to address (mostly on the offensive side). However, with a reportedly tight budget, filling those needs via just the free agent market could be trickier than in previous offseasons.
Luckily, general manager David Stearns has shown that he is not afraid to go the trade route if he can find a deal that suits him. Many of the team’s top contributors over their last three playoff seasons have come to the team via the trade route.
You have players that have come to Milwaukee via the blockbuster prospect trade (Christian Yelich), the midseason trade deadline acquisition for one or more top-level prospects (Mike Moustakas, Drew Pomeranz), or the under-the-radar offseason trade of a lower-level prospect for an immediate contributor (Omar Narvaez).
Yes, Milwaukee’s farm system has taken a hit as a result of some of these trades, ranking toward the bottom of the league in recent years in basically every publication’s prospect rankings. But that doesn’t mean the Brewers don’t still have talent that could be useful to other teams.
History has shown that there is a very good chance that at least one trade happens for the Brewers during this offseason. If that does indeed end up being the case, here are three of the most likely prospects to get included in a potential trade.
1. C Payton Henry
It wasn’t long ago that the catching position was a big area of need in Milwaukee’s farm system. The team has since added much depth to that position and now have two prospects who are maybe just a year or two away from being possible MLB contributors.
One of those two players is right-hander Payton Henry who spent 2020 at the team’s alternate training site in Appleton, WI. He currently sits at No. 16 on the team’s top 30 prospects list according to MLB Pipeline.
Henry was drafted by the Brewers out of high school in the 6th round of the 2016 draft and found himself playing for Milwaukee’s rookie level team in Arizona that same year. His last full season of minor league ball in 2019 saw him play the entire year with the High-A Carolina Mudcats.
Though Henry has a reputation as an above-average defensive catcher, he has plenty of potential to be solid offensively as well. He was second on the Mudcats in both homers (14) and RBI (75) in 2019 and had a slash line of .242/.315/.395 that many teams would find acceptable for a catcher.
What makes Henry tradable is the existence of fellow right-handed catcher Mario Feliciano even higher up the team’s prospect list at No. 4. Feliciano played most of the season at Carolina with Henry before finishing the season at Double-A Biloxi, slashing .273/.324/.477 with 19 homers and 81 RBI as a Mudcat on his way to winning Southern League MVP.
The Brewers also happen to be well-stocked with catchers behind Henry in the organization. Players like international signee Jeferson Quero (No. 17), 2019 draftees Nick Kahle (No. 19) and Thomas Dillard (No. 24) and the recently drafted Zavier Warren (No. 20) all exist on the team’s top 30.
Seeing as manager Craig Counsell often uses platoons at catcher, it’s unlikely that both Feliciano and Henry would reach the big leagues with the Brewers without one changing positions. With Feliciano being more advanced offensively, he would likely have the edge for a MLB spot down the road.
Keep in mind as well that both Feliciano and Henry are rule five eligible this offseason. Both would be good candidates to be protected and it could make a potential trade that keeps Milwaukee from having to add both to the 40-man a little more likely.