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  • Wanted at the Deadline: a Southpaw Killer


    Caswell Dommisse

    If the Brewers want their offense to be more consistent, there is an obvious trade deadline need beyond that of a better centerfielder.

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    August 2nd is the MLB trade deadline, and with it fast approaching, teams are looking to make deals to solidify their second half playoff push, or retool for future seasons. The Milwaukee Brewers find themselves in the playoff hunt with a lead of 3.5 games in the NL Central, meaning they will likely look to add contributors for their second half push. Realistically, there are not too many true offensive needs which must be addressed, though there is room for improvement. 

    The one clear need is in the outfield, where center field has been a black hole at the plate for much of the season. It has appeared, in stretches, that Tyrone Taylor may be the guy to fill this void, but has been unable to sustain his success. Unfortunately, centerfielders who can add offense are difficult to find in this trade market. 

    Less rare, and maybe just as important, would be a batter who hits lefties. This was meant to be fixed with the signing of Andrew McCutchen in the offseason, who has feasted on southpaws over his career. But he has diverged from career norms, as he has hit right-handed pitchers better for just the third time in his fourteen year career.

    Not only has McCutchen faltered against southpaws, so have the Crew cumulatively. As you can see in the graph above, while the Brewers are among elite teams in their performance versus right-handed pitching, they're well below average versus lefties. In fact, there is only one winning team who hits left-handers worse, and the Brewers are the worst of any division leader. 

    There has also been quite a bit of interest on the fan side to acquire another first baseman, specifically one who fills the need of a lefty killer. This is not a position I think the Brewers require improvement most within the infield, as there are other areas which could be upgraded to a larger degree.

    Another supplementary option in the infield would be possible, especially with struggles by Kolten Wong all year, and some stumbles by Luis Urias and Willy Adames. Realistically, the return of Jace Peterson could help this, and a platoon containing Mike Brosseau (who also leads the team in OPS against left-handed pitching). So this isn’t a key need, especially compared to centerfield.

    In conclusion, a centerfielder is most needed positionally, but a bat which excels against left-handed pitchers is a need as well. This bat could be at centerfield, or any position within the infield.

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    So if we get a lefty masher, who does he replace on the roster?  Brosseau already is the backup IF so replacing him makes no sense.  I would guess a backup OF, but he almost has to be a CF.  Initially, we can make room by eliminating the third catcher.  But where does Jace fit in when he comes back.  Do you release Cutch?  He is just as likely to be that lefty masher we desire in the second half.

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    Drury and Bell are rentals and they could sit Wong, have McCutchen play more CF, Rowdy sit more agsinst LHP to help with the hitting against LHP. Laureano would be more of a long term fix and cost more but has always hit lefties. Obviously not getting all three but getting one of those players would help.

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    3 hours ago, ClosetBrewerFan said:

    So if we get a lefty masher, who does he replace on the roster?  Brosseau already is the backup IF so replacing him makes no sense.  I would guess a backup OF, but he almost has to be a CF.  Initially, we can make room by eliminating the third catcher.  But where does Jace fit in when he comes back.  Do you release Cutch?  He is just as likely to be that lefty masher we desire in the second half.

    Given the number of injuries in baseball now, I think there'll be room in perpetuity.

    And once the postseason arrives, having that extra position player available off the bench is really useful.

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    Caswell
  • Brewer Fanatic Contributor
  • Posted

    Thank you all so much for the responses! I figured this would be an area of question, but was focusing more on needs, rather than the after effect on the roster. 

    4 hours ago, ClosetBrewerFan said:

    So if we get a lefty masher, who does he replace on the roster?  Brosseau already is the backup IF so replacing him makes no sense.  I would guess a backup OF, but he almost has to be a CF.  Initially, we can make room by eliminating the third catcher.  But where does Jace fit in when he comes back.  Do you release Cutch?  He is just as likely to be that lefty masher we desire in the second half.

    First of all, there is no way that McCutchen will get released. That is totally out of the equation. He hasn't been what the Brewers have hoped when he was signed, but has been quite good still. Not worth the contract, but is decent enough and offers good experience. After his poor start, he has been satisfactory. 

    Now, who I think will be replaced is Pedro Severino and Jonathan Davis. I think Severino will be used as a trade piece to a team looking to have an outside chance at contending next year, or one looking to use him in a rental trade next season. The Angels specifically come to mind with him, though there are many possibilities. Davis will likely be sent down to AAA or a low level move for a reliever maybe. Jace will take one of those spots, while an added player will take the other. Brosseau should stay, but should be in a platoon situation with one of Rowdy or Wong (if Wong doesn't get moved).

    3 hours ago, Outlander said:

    Drury and Bell are rentals and they could sit Wong, have McCutchen play more CF, Rowdy sit more against LHP to help with the hitting against LHP. Laureano would be more of a long term fix and cost more but has always hit lefties. Obviously not getting all three but getting one of those players would help.

    I know these two players are talked about a lot, Drury and Bell, but I'm not very high on either of them for the Brewers. I believe the Brewers are looking to avoid playing McCutchen at center as much as possible, so a move here would be the most likely, and ideal scenario. This is also part of the reason I don't really expect an acquisition of Bell, as that would congest things a bit. This is often a good thing, but congestion at first base and designated hitter is not what the Brewers want, especially given the positional versatility wanted by the club. I did look at Laureano quite a bit some time ago, but he seems to be a downgrade from Tyrone Taylor with a lower ceiling while commanding more resources. He is worse defensively and strikes out even more than Taylor. Just isn't the type of move the Brewers would make.

    51 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

    Given the number of injuries in baseball now, I think there'll be room in perpetuity.

    And once the postseason arrives, having that extra position player available off the bench is really useful.

    This is another thing too. Injuries happen, and happen often. Having some depth would be great. I don't think many fans want to rely on the bats of Mark Mathias or Pablo Reyes in a tight game late in the season. 

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    Why not consider trying to trade for Ramon Laureano? His career OPS - with half the games in a pitcher's park - against lefties is .817. He's not an elite defender, but flanked by Yeli and Renfroe (or Tyrone Taylor), he'll be more than fine. I wonder what the A's would want for him? He's arb-eligible next year, a free agent in 2025, and having a down year at the plate, so every year the A's have hung onto him he's lost value. Now might be the time to strike, assuming the Brewers think his lesser first half is a fluke and would want to go that way.

    I agree that the infield isn't the pressing need right now - Tellez holds it down, Brosseau kills lefties already, and Jace is coming back. Obviously Stearns likes to get creative, but at the end of the day it's a lefty-hitting CF that would be most valuable and Laureano has shown in his career to be exactly that.

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    2 hours ago, Nato_Coles said:

    Why not consider trying to trade for Ramon Laureano? His career OPS - with half the games in a pitcher's park - against lefties is .817. He's not an elite defender, but flanked by Yeli and Renfroe (or Tyrone Taylor), he'll be more than fine. I wonder what the A's would want for him? He's arb-eligible next year, a free agent in 2025, and having a down year at the plate, so every year the A's have hung onto him he's lost value. Now might be the time to strike, assuming the Brewers think his lesser first half is a fluke and would want to go that way.

    I agree that the infield isn't the pressing need right now - Tellez holds it down, Brosseau kills lefties already, and Jace is coming back. Obviously Stearns likes to get creative, but at the end of the day it's a lefty-hitting CF that would be most valuable and Laureano has shown in his career to be exactly that.

    Trade simulator has Laureano as 45 and Frelick at 17.  It would start with Frelick plus a lot.  I'm not sure how up to date these values are as Laureano is really nothing special this year.  I'm not sure I want to give up a lot of prospects for him.

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    Caswell
  • Brewer Fanatic Contributor
  • Posted

    3 hours ago, Nato_Coles said:

    Why not consider trying to trade for Ramon Laureano? His career OPS - with half the games in a pitcher's park - against lefties is .817. He's not an elite defender, but flanked by Yeli and Renfroe (or Tyrone Taylor), he'll be more than fine. I wonder what the A's would want for him? He's arb-eligible next year, a free agent in 2025, and having a down year at the plate, so every year the A's have hung onto him he's lost value. Now might be the time to strike, assuming the Brewers think his lesser first half is a fluke and would want to go that way.

    I agree that the infield isn't the pressing need right now - Tellez holds it down, Brosseau kills lefties already, and Jace is coming back. Obviously Stearns likes to get creative, but at the end of the day it's a lefty-hitting CF that would be most valuable and Laureano has shown in his career to be exactly that.

    Quite frankly, his advanced metrics don't look very good. This would be a significant downgrade defensively as well. So much so, that it would be better to move Yelich to center. There isn't really a reason to think that his first half is much of a fluke considering his career numbers and tying him up for a longer period would not be good. If we were to go after a non-rental in center, there are better options, but with all the outfield prospects knocking at the door, a move for Laureano would be very bad for the Brewers. He would demand too much in terms of resources to get him over here and arbitration just wouldn't be worth it.

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    Caswell
  • Brewer Fanatic Contributor
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    1 hour ago, ClosetBrewerFan said:

    Trade simulator has Laureano as 45 and Frelick at 17.  It would start with Frelick plus a lot.  I'm not sure how up to date these values are as Laureano is really nothing special this year.  I'm not sure I want to give up a lot of prospects for him.

    I wouldn't look too into trade simulator and those valuations. Just looking quickly at the valuation of the Benintendi trade, it doesn't quite add up. It is not perfect, and certainly isn't a what GMs are using to value their players in trades. It is an interesting tool, but definitely should be taken with a grain of salt. 

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