ESPN.com’s senior baseball writer Jayson Stark posted a column today about the trade market and all things pertaining to it.
He mentions the Brewers on the separate occasions. Here are those mentions and my thoughts about them.
On Aramis Ramirez, other hitters:
“The Brewers haven’t quite packed it in yet, but an official of one club that spoke with them reports that if they do sell, they’d gladly listen on their third baseman — and, for that matter, on any position player except Jean Segura, Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun. The good news: Ramirez has a reputation as a second-half producer (.295/.351/.531 lifetime after the All-Star break). The bad news: He’s guaranteed $16 million next season, with a mutual option worth $14 million for 2015, with a $4 million buyout.”
It’s no surprise to read that the Brewers would listen on almost any hitter. There are veterans in this group that made a couple of playoff runs as a nucleus but are getting older and expensive together. There are complementary pieces that have performed well in Milwaukee but would be in decline (if they aren’t already) or off contract before Milwaukee’s next playoff push if they choose to adhere to Melvin’s stated directive.
One of the most valuable pieces among them, when healthy, is Ramirez. He could bring a handsome return from the right caller plus the Brewers would love to get out from underneath the rest of that contract.
I agree with the “untouchables” list offered above as well, realizing that the time to reload is now while we, as fans, look toward legitimate contention in the near future.
On Yovani Gallardo:
“The blueprint got all smushed up in Milwaukee this season. But that doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be plenty to market if the Brewers sell. Atop the list of their most-coveted pieces, you’d find their ace, Yovani Gallardo. But teams that have checked in say the Brewers haven’t made it clear whether Gallardo is going to be out there or not. One NL exec said his impression was that Gallardo is the one pitcher on this staff who won’t be available. But another said: “To be honest, I think they would love to move him. Remember those fastballs that used to be 94-95-ish? Now they’re 89-90-ish.” Nevertheless, a 27-year-old starter with a track record and up to two seasons of control (counting his 2015 option) always makes for a viable trade chip.”
I don’t know that Melvin would “love” to move Gallardo as the executive who spoke to Stark suggested, but after Melvin’s comments mentioning Yo at all I’d be a fool if I didn’t recognize that they’re willing to.
Melvin stated that a trade offer would have to “wow” him in order to move the Brewers’ long-time number one, but just that Melvin was willing to discuss Gallardo with the media speaks volumes.
Working in Melvin’s favor again is that he has some leverage with Gallardo much like he does with Ramirez. Gallardo is under contract for 2014 and has an affordable team option for ’15 that won’t be voidable after all. (The option could have been voided by Gallardo if he had multiple top finishes in the Cy Young Award balloting during the extension.)
Whether they should move Gallardo becomes the question now. Assuming a decent return is offered, are you reloading for a run at the division in 2016? Or do you want to take one more shot with this offense in ’14? The decision will be made soon and it directly affects Gallardo’s availability on the market.
Stark then lists his “Five more arms to keep an eye on:” at the end of the column, a list which includes Francisco Rodriguez.
This is the most obvious choice for a player that the Brewers would love to move. After getting somewhat screwed when Rodriguez accepted arbitration following the 2011 season, the Brewers got no compensation at all for what appeared to be the imminent departure of K-Rod from Cream City.
After receiving some offers to begin 2013, Rodriguez waited and eventually got a deal he was comfortable accepting from Doug Melvin. For everything that he wasn’t in 2012, Rodriguez has been excellent so far this season for Ron Roenicke. He would certainly bring back a worthwhile piece for a team in need of a proven (yes, I said it) late-inning option.