Assessing the Brewers’ need for another starter

After Mike Burns‘ mediocre performance against the Pirates Monday evening, the papers and sports radio talk shows rekindled the talk about the Brewers’ needing to trade for another starter before the July 31 trade deadline.  Presumably, this new starter would be a #1 or #2 guy, if available, and bump back the other starters in the rotation…and either Dave Bush, Mike Burns, or someone else out of the rotation altogether.

Most of the talk has focused around Roy Halladay, the Blue Jays’ ace that is 11-3, 2.73, with 113 K’s so far in ’09.  The reasons for trading for Halladay are:

1. He’s a solid starter that would net more wins than whoever he replaces.

2. He is under contract for 2010.

The reasons against, however, are:

1. Halladay would require giving up top prospect Mat Gamel and/or Alcides Escobar, plus at least one other prospect…or Manny Parra or J.J. Hardy, two pieces needed to compete this year.  Trading prospects for a second straight year will also greatly deplete the farm system pipeline, something a small market team with limited payroll needs to stay competitive.

2. Halladay is able to void his 2010 contract if traded and can become a free agent a year earlier.

3. Halladay can even nix the trade this year…or ask for a bonus or extension to agree to the trade.

One thing that has not been mentioned much is that the Brewers’ need for a 5th starter only occurs 10 more times this season–with 7 of the 10 games at home.  Unfortunately, the last four starts will be against playoff contenders (Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and St. Louis).

The next time a 5th starter is needed is on July 28, against the Nationals at Miller Park.  If Dave Bush somehow becomes healthy by this date, he’ll get the nod; otherwise, other internal candidates besides Burns includes Seth McClung, Mark DiFelice, Tim Dillard, or Chris Cody.  It is not clear if any of these could be adequate for those 10 starts, although history suggest the Burns, McClung, and Dillard are likely not the answer.

Personally, I’d like to see DiFelice get the start and Dave Bush should be back for the August 2 start at San Diego.

The question every Brewer fan must ask themselves is, “Is another NL playoff appearance now” worth risking playoff appearances over the next 5-10 seasons?

 

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