Brewers President of Baseball Ops David Stearns has been forthcoming on his communication with owner Mark Attanasio about the Milwaukee Brewers being active in the trade market as the July 30th deadline approaches.
The Brewers have two big positions of need even when healthy that they have had struggles getting production from; the two corner infield positions. Looking at these positions of need, there is one trade the Brewers should make, and one they would be smart to avoid.
Trade to make: C.J. Cron, 1B, Colorado Rockies
Barring continued improvement from the recently recalled Keston Hiura, the Milwaukee Brewers will need help at first base. Daniel Vogelbach has played serviceably in the absence of any other options. Vogelbach has hit decently and done well getting on base, but struggles as a defender due to his lack of mobility.
On par with this Brewers season, Daniel Vogelbach is now on the injured list and expected to miss around six weeks according to Will Sammon of the Athletic, so the Brewers are forced into starting Keston Hiura at first base due to a lack of options.
Which brings me to a trade the Milwaukee Brewers should make, acquiring C.J. Cron from the Rockies. Colorado signed Cron to a minor league deal so he wouldn’t break the bank to bring him in. Cron is currently batting .271/.372/.489 with 10 home runs, which on the Brewers would put him second on the team to only Avisail Garcia.
Not only is Cron a better hitting option than the Brewers currently have at first base, Cron is also an above average defender, another skill the Brewers currently lack at first base, defense is an area Keston Hiura and Daniel Vogelbach are below average in.
Cron represents an upgrade both offensively and defensively and would be an inexpensive upgrade the Milwaukee Brewers roster. Colorado is already 17 games back in their division and are very likely sellers at the deadline.
Even with some big home/road splits playing with Colorado this year, Cron has been a productive hitter everywhere he’s gone in his career. He would add some much-needed right handed power in this lineup.
One trade to avoid: Josh Donaldson, 3B, Minnesota Twins
It is my hope that David Stearns steers completely clear of even considering trading for Josh Donaldson, even before getting into his on field impact, Donaldson is making $23 million this year and in 2022 and 2023 with an option for 2024. A very steep price to pay for the next three potentially four years for a player who is already 35 years old.
The next concern with Donaldson is if he can stay on the field, he has already spent one stint on the 10-day injured list this season and is currently recovering from a calf injury that has him listed day to day. That calf injury alone is enough for me to steer clear of Donaldson as that same calf injury has cost him time in multiple seasons, he was placed on the 10-day injured list last season and the 60-day injured list in 2018.
As a hitter, Donaldson does match CJ Cron with 10 home runs his triple slash is lower across the board compared to Cron, Donaldson is batting .245/.342/.454. Comparing Donaldson to who I think will play most games at third base, Luis Urias, Donaldson is just barely better. within .008 in batting average and on base percentage.
As a defender Josh Donaldson is just slightly above average and Urias is almost exactly on par with league average at third base, but the gap is not large enough to justify a $23 million contract, the injury history, the cost to get Donaldson, or the shot for Luis Urias to continue to develop.
At this point, Donaldson presents more name value than he’s likely to present with on-the-field value.