The Milwaukee Brewers kick off another series against a sub-.500 team today when the Colorado Rockies make their way to American Family Field. With that comes another chance to scout some possible trade deadline candidates from a Crew opponent.
Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns has been known to make deadline moves when the team is competitive and this season should be no different. At 42-33, Milwaukee finds themselves tied with the Cubs for first in the NL Central going into this weekend’s series with the Rockies.
Colorado finds themselves on the other side of the coin at this point in the season. They sit at 31-44 and second to last in the NL West going into the series. There is little question that they will be sellers going into the trade deadline.
Those facts considered, here are some trade targets for Milwaukee Brewers fans to watch during this upcoming series against the Colorado Rockies.
1. 1B C.J. Cron
This is far and away the most obvious trade target for the Brewers on this team. C.J. Cron would have been a nice addition for the Brewers this past offseason considering the state of the first base position now. Instead, here we are.
Cron missed a significant portion of the 2020 season with the Detroit Tigers due to a knee injury and, as a result, had to settle for a minor league contract with the Rockies this season. About three weeks into the season, he would be added to the 40-man roster.
Cron started a little slow, but has since picked things up and is having a very solid season. Going into this weekend’s series, he is hitting .271 with a .861 OPS. Two games ago he slugged his 10th home run of the season and he has 29 RBIs as well in 2021.
The Brewers got to see firsthand how valuable Cron could be once already. In the recent four-game series at Coors Field, Cron went 7 for 13 with a double, two homers, and seven runs batted in.
There are legitimate concerns as to what his effectiveness would be with the Brewers, as he is hitting just .235 with a .687 OPS away from Coors Field this season. But with Daniel Vogelbach now on the IL for a while and Keston Hiura still not producing at the major league level, it could be a move the Brewers have to consider making out of necessity.
2. RHP Daniel Bard
After corner infield, the next most important position for the Brewers to address would be the bullpen. While the Rockies don’t have a ton of potential candidates there, a couple names will still draw some interest around the trade deadline.
Daniel Bard has been one of the few reliable arms in Colorado’s relief corps in 2021. He has made the second most appearances for the team with 29, one behind teammate Tyler Kinley, and has 10 saves as the team’s primary closer.
Bard has a 4.15 ERA so far in 2021, though a 3.52 FIP to go along with it, as well as a 1.582 WHIP which leaves much to be desired. However, he leads all Rockies pitchers with a 11.3 K/9 and has given up just three homers, which isn’t terrible considering what ballpark he calls home.
The current Brewers bullpen features an obvious All-Star in Josh Hader, solid compliments in Devin Williams, Brent Suter, and Brad Boxberger, and mostly inconsistent pieces to round things out. Jake Cousins provided a spark the other day, but will that continue? Will the arrival of Aaron Ashby help things?
Bard and his high 90s fastball could step in and further solidify the back end of that bullpen, isn’t particularly pricey at just under $3MM, and actually has one arbitration year left at his age, giving the Brewers options after the season is over. It stands to reason that Milwaukee could have their eyes on him this series.
3. RHP Jon Gray
This one is the least likely scenario of the three. The Brewers already have one of the best starting rotations in the league, anchored by the talented trio of Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, and Freddy Peralta. But the back end hasn’t been without question.
Jon Gray has been a stable of the Rockies rotation since his first full season in 2016 where he finished 6th in NL Rookie of the Year voting. He has reached double digit wins in each the four full seasons he has pitched since then.
This year, Gray is 4-6 in 12 starts with a 4.29 ERA and a 1.286 WHIP, the latter number of which would be the second lowest mark of his career. He just spent a quick stint on the injured list, but is coming off to start Friday’s game versus the Brewers.
As strong as their rotation is, the 5th (and sometimes 6th) spots come with questions as Brett Anderson has been average but has already spent two stints on the IL and Eric Lauer has been up and down when called upon to start.
Gray’s name always seems to pop up in trade rumors this time of year, but being in the final year of his contract will only intensify those rumors this time around. That contract status could also make him pricey, though, and might make him too expensive for Milwaukee considering they have other more pressing needs to address.
Still, David Stearns is always open to options, so the team may at least have one eye on Gray during his start on Friday.
The 2021 trade deadline is just over a month away. Perhaps one of these names find themselves on the move to Milwaukee once that time comes.