Now that the Milwaukee Brewers have failed in their self-stated nine-game comeback quest, all eyes are on what Doug Melvin and the front office will do before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. To put insult with injury, after a somewhat-promising couple of series at home against the Pirates and Cardinals, the Brewers were outclassed and swept in Cincinnati. Then they witnessed an epic meltdown from K-Rod on Monday night in Philadelphia after putting Roy Halladay on the ropes. Many Brewers fans no doubt want to see some action from the front office. There comes a time when hopes dim for the season and some corrective measures would be welcome. As optimistic or glassy-eyed as the Brewers’ front office and fans alike might aspire to be when it comes to the team’s chances, it seems pretty clear that the Brewers should dump players not in the future plans, and soon. Every time the team excites some chance they’ll get in the pennant race, they end up getting buried further behind than ever.
After K-Rod’s meltdown Monday night and his recent struggles in general, I don’t think teams are going to give up much for him. It has to be a tricky thing to balance attempting to get fair value with the stark chance that the player may go out that night and expose his weaknesses to the entire league. On the flip side, Zack Greinke needs a rebound start in what has become the new most-important game of the season for the Brewers. The team’s handling of the Greinke situation has been a muddled mess for the last week or so. Greinke is such a valuable commodity, and a crucial one for a team like the Brewers, that it’s only natural to wonder about their methods and the reasoning behind decisions to sit him. A great deal hinges on how Greinke is able to pitch Tuesday night against the Phillies. If he is the stud pitcher he’s often perceived to be, his value goes way up. If he gets pounded or otherwise has a bad or short outing, the Brewers are going to get mauled by critics who can only react and guess as to what’s been happening behind the scenes. One thing is for sure, Greinke’s trade value hasn’t been helped by Brewers personnel putting their feet in their mouths on the subject.
Until something happens, the Brewers will continue to try to turn things around with the current group. Things are clearly unstable with the team, though, and the next week is going to be tough. There is the distinct possibility that the team will send a number of players packing. K-Rod, Kottaras, Parra, Loe, Veras, Wolf, Morgan, Hart, and Ishikawa: all could be moved. Others, too, could be trade candidates. Certainly, when a team as a whole goes through a rough season as the Brewers have, it doesn’t mean all the players are bad as individuals. But the front office needs to take a really close, hard look at who they plan to have around next year, and then answer whether we really need that player around next week. Corrective measures could be taken now to shed payroll and add prospects to what remains a weak farm system. Under the new CBA, teams cannot hope to receive draft compensation for free agents. As a result, the best course of action is to take advantage of what appears to be a sellers’ market and recoup some of the prospect value that has been lost over the last several years. Conceivably, the Brewers could re-tool the rotation a bit and contend next year. The bullpen will likely require a comprehensive rebuild. They might as well bring in some new faces now and get the process rolling. A little (or perhaps more than a little) change couldn’t hurt this reeling bunch.