This next month will be HUGE in regards to how the Brewers approach the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline which is on July 30.
Divisional races are starting to take shape and the contenders are starting to separate themselves from the pretenders. 30 days from now, we’ll have a pretty good idea of which direction this Brewers team is headed. But hypothetically speaking, if the trade deadline was next week and Milwaukee was 3.0 games back in the Central and 3.5 back in the Wild Card race, would they be buyers or sellers?
At 24-23 overall, I feel as though the Crew are teetering right on the middle of the fence. They have shown instances where they look like one of the best teams in the NL including a sweep of the Padres in mid-April and taking three out of four against the Dodgers in late-April/early-May. They have also looked like a train wreck at times including dropping four out of their last five series prior to last weekend’s series win in Cincinnati. It’s difficult to get a pulse on this team.
There are two main reasons for the inability to predict which way this team will go: injuries up to this point and moving pieces. We’ve talked ad nauseum about how much the Crew has battled the injury bug so if those injured players can get healthy and produce again that would be very beneficial. Also, Milwaukee has made tons of moves including the sending of players to and from the farm system and David Stearns has even made two of the bigger trades of the young season, both addressing the shortstop position.
These moves can make it difficult to gauge the productivity of these players involved in small sample sizes.
The pitching has been a mainstay for this club up to this point in the schedule. Good pitching can keep you in games, but it seems as though the Brewers bats are starting to come around as well. With at least four runs scored in the last four games for the first time all season, a minor league resurgence at the plate for Keston Hiura and the first home run of the season for Christian Yelich recently, things are trending upward.
Even if the Brewers are buyers, I don’t believe they’ll make any gigantic splashes. The recent acquisition of Willy Adames shores up the middle infield and basically puts a big red ‘X’ through the idea of trading for Trevor Story. If Hiura can get going again that would prove huge for Craig Counsell’s lineup and the Brewers probably wouldn’t need to trade for a corner infielder with Shaw and Urias most likely sharing time at the hot corner.
If the Brewers bullpen encounters struggles I could see them trying to acquire a long-relief guy or a lefty specialist but not for a hefty price. David Stearns likes his personnel right now and I don’t really blame him for feeling that way, now it’s just up to the players to perform. If the Crew are just three games back in the Central and three and a half behind in the Wild Card race, I really just don’t see them giving up someone like Josh Hader.
Temperatures are rising and the MLB postseason race is following suit by heating up as well. The next month will largely help determine the trajectory of this team. The Crew expects to be in the playoff hunt so it would take a very rough stretch to transform their mindset to becoming sellers. But there is also not a huge need for a major trade to cause a playoff push.
The Crew will most likely be buyers, but they may not make a huge splash like at previous deadlines.