Random Rumor Musings: Dodger Shortstops

I honestly can’t remember a trade deadline season in which the Brewers have been linked to more names than this year. Maybe it’s the “all-in” attitude that was established with the trades for Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum. Maybe it’s the fact that Doug Melvin swooped in and stole Francisco Rodriguez over the All-Star break, signaling that he’ll be aggressive in the next couple weeks. For whatever reason, it seems like we have a new rumor to read about every day.

A couple days ago, Jon Heyman speculated that Jamey Carroll would be a fit for the Brewers before ultimately reporting that they were interested. Then on Monday night, he mentioned Milwaukee as one of quite a few teams that had called about Carlos Beltran. I can’t even begin to imagine where Beltran would play or what the Brewers would have to give up to get him. He can’t be expected to play center regularly, and it’s not like any regular member of the Brewers’ outfield is performing poorly.

The Carroll rumor is at least plausible. He wouldn’t be an impact player, but he could be solid enough to plug a hole for a playoff push. If Francisco Rodriguez was supposed to be the “CC Sabathia of the bullpen,” think of Carroll as this year’s Ray Durham. In case you forgot, Durham hit .280/.369/.477 in 41 games for the Brewers in 2008.

Durham wasn’t an every day player for the Brewers that year, and at 37, you have to wonder if Carroll could handle everyday duties to finish out the year. He doesn’t hit for power (.289/.359/.356 so far this year) and his defense is probably average at best, but both would be upgrades at shortstop. To make another comparison, he’s basically what we thought Craig Counsell would be this year.

He’s not the Dodger shortstop most people seem to want, but as good as Rafael Furcal would look in a Brewer uniform, it’s hard for me to see a trade like that happening. A lot of people seem to assume that due to the Dodgers’ financial problems, Furcal could be had on a Rodriguez-like deal for pennies on the dollar. While that could possibly be true, there are a few potential problems. One, Furcal has 10-and-5 rights, meaning he can’t be traded without his consent. It doesn’t seem to be too much of a hangup, but forgive me if I’m skeptical about an athlete wanting to leave L.A. for Milwaukee.

There’s also the matter of Furcal’s medical history. If the Brewers are going to trade for someone to replace Yuniesky Betancourt at short, it’s reasonable to expect that player to be able to make most of the starts, no? The problem with Furcal is that it’s no guarantee that he’d be healthy enough to truly be an upgrade. He’s played 27 games for the Dodgers this year. He played 97 last year. In fact, he’s in his 6th season with the Dodgers, and he’s only played 607 games in Dodger blue. It’s hard to see the Brewers taking that risk — what happens if they make the deal, he gets hurt again, and they’re back to square one (minus a few more prospects)?

If there’s one thing we can learn from this mess, it’s that good shortstops are incredibly hard to find, especially mid-season. Just take a look at the list Jim Breen built at Bernie’s Crew of shortstops he wouldn’t take as a replacement for Yuni. There’s a reason why Alcides Escobar was such a highly-touted prospect, even if there were doubts about his ability to hit at the big league level.

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