Results tagged ‘ Trades ’

Most Improved Farm Systems for 2016

I am still catching up on a few things from my Christmas Hiatus.  One of the articles that I wanted to share was this Jonathan Mayo piece on the most improved farm systems in baseball.  The Brewers made his list.  Here is what he had on Milwaukee:

The best deal for the Brewers may have been the one they didn’t make at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. When the reported trade sending Carlos Gomez to the Mets fell through, they ended up making an even better deal, at least in terms of rebuilding their farm system, with the Astros. It brought in four prospects that landed in their Top 30, including Top 100 prospects Domingo Santana (since graduated) and Brett Phillips. Josh Hader should join them after a strong season and even stronger Arizona Fall League campaign. Adrian Houser threw well following the trade, too.

Zach Davies came in a Deadline deal as well, from Baltimore in return for Gerardo Parra, and he made six starts in the big leagues at the end of the year. That gave the Brewers immediate return in both deals, with Davies and Santana both looking like members of the 2016 Opening Day roster, along with some future star-caliber prospects.

Smaller deals at the start of the year (Yovani Gallardo) and at the very end (Jason Rogers) also netted Top 30-caliber prospects, but aside from the Gomez deal, it was the 2015 Draft that has helped restock the prospect shelves the most. The successful haul brought in four Top 30 players, with the Brewers getting high-ceiling talent like Trent Clark and Demi Orimoloye as well as intriguing college arms like Nathan Kirby (a first-round talent who had injury issues) and Cody Ponce. Add in the advancement of homegrown players like Orlando Arcia and Jorge Lopez and the Brewers have turned around their pipeline as quickly as any team.

Appleton Baseball Birthdays – January 9:
Ken Cloude – 41

Ken Cloude was a member of the 1995 Timber Rattlers.

Ken Cloude was a member of the 1995 Timber Rattlers.

Worth the read

Jim over at Bernie’s Crew has this piece that is worth the click. And seeing as how he was the guy who broke the story on the Greinke trade…oh, just go ahead.  Here is the title:

Melvin and the Brewers Not Ignoring the Future Health of the Organization

Sometimes, when passionately following a Major League Baseball
organization, one tends to overvalue that team’s players and talent.

It causes the best of us to buy into unrealistic hype surrounding
prospects.  It also causes us to demand a king’s ransom in return for
any of our prospects/players.  Ultimately, that hometown bias results in
fans positing “plausible” trade packages such as Parra/Gamel for Matt
Garza of the Tampa Bay Rays.

I found myself nudging myself further into that cozy trap on Sunday, lamenting the loss of another top prospect in Jake Odorizzi — as well as the promising trio of youngsters in Cain/Escobar/Jeffress.  Zack Greinke
is obviously a treat, but I wanted to argue the return was not worth
the overall risk to the organization due to the gutting of the minor
league system.

After 48 hours of sleeping on this trade, however, I realized the
true root of the discomfort surrounding the trade:  The discomfort was
not so much due to the fact that the Brewers were surrendering any
sure-fire stud players in the trade.  It was that the Brewers were
trading away everything they had remaining in the system.

In a pure talent-for-talent evaluation of the trade, the Brewers did
quite well.  They acquired one of the top pitchers in all of baseball
for a group of players that have been dubbed as “big league average”
again and again by scouts.  Various scouts prefer one of the four over
another and each will have his favorites, but the Brewers needed
top-flight talent to make the postseason in 2011 or 2012 — and that was
not about to come in the form of Cain/Escobar/Odorizzi/Jeffress.

No offense meant to any of the prospects mentioned above.  A
postseason berth was simply not about to happen on the backs of those
four, and that is just common sense.

Go read it all.

So, did anything happen this weekend?

I am kidding, of course. 

Jim Breen at Bernie’s Crew broke the story on Saturday:

A source informed me earlier today that the Milwaukee Brewers have come to a preliminary agreement with the Kansas City Royals for a deal that would send pitcher Zack Greinke to Milwaukee.

The rumored agreement would send shortstop Alcides Escobar, center fielder Lorenzo Cain, and right-hander Jeremy Jeffress to Kansas City in return for Greinke, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and approximately $2M.

The extra $2M is to offset a portion of the $31M that would come to Milwaukee in the trade.  Coincidentally, Betancourt’s buyout for the 2012 season is $2M — so that number could make a good deal of sense, if the Brewers have no intention of keeping the shortstop.

Jim and Tom Haudricourt of the Journal-Sentinel analyzed it:

First, Jim:

As the dust settles from the Zack Greinke acquisition, it has become clear that Doug Melvin is planning on winning now. While the Brewers have the rotation of a contender, they did create some concerns in the everyday lineup by trading away likely starters at shortstop in Alcides Escobar and centerfield in Lorenzo Cain. While neither of these players was likely to be an offensive force in 2011, both are likely to play solid defense and offer at least some offensive upside.

The Brewers should be able to squeeze something out of Carlos Gomez, who avoided arbitration on Friday by taking a one year deal worth 1.5 million. Gomez does play a plus centerfield and has a bit of offensive upside left. The Brewers also have Chris Dickerson as a possible platoon-mate for Gomez. If Dickerson’s offensive numbers rebound back towards career norms and/or Gomez is able to improve his on base percentage, the team should be passable in centerfield.

Now, Tom:

“This is what I call a ‘now’ trade,” said [Brewers GM Doug] Melvin, who was in Chatham, Ontario, visiting his parents when the six-player swap came together.

“I told Zack that I felt like I acquired CC Sabathia again, but this time for two years and maybe longer.”

The trade came at great expense for the Brewers in terms of young, talented players. They sent shortstop Alcides Escobar, centerfielder Lorenzo Cain and pitching prospects Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress to the Royals for Greinke, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and $2 million in cash.

“It was a costly trade,” said Melvin. “We gave up a lot of good, young players. This is a credit to our scouting and player development people to have the kind of young players it takes to make a trade like this.”

Also, here is the Kansas City perspective by Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star:

“I know every one of these kids except Odorizzi,” said [Royals manager Ned] Yost, who was the Brewers’ manager during 2003-08. “The first time I laid eyes on Alcides Escobar, the impression I got was this kid is going to be an All-Star.

“This kid will probably be our most athletic player, and Cain is right behind him. Escobar will knock your eyes out defensively. He’s a kid who is still developing his offensive capability, but he’s going to hit.

“Lorenzo Cain is the same type of player, and he’s really starting to come into his own. He and Escobar have great speed and great instincts on the bases. They’re going to add to our offense just with their legs alone.”

John Axford is enthused!

Looks like #SundayBoredom turned into #SuperAwesomelyCrazyExcitementRumoursNowTruthSunday! My twitter has been blowing up like woah!

By the way, at one point, that second hashtag was trending on twitter.  Also, that hashtag reminds me of the line super karate monkey death car from Japanese title of Jimmy James autobiography: Jimmy James, Macho Business Donkey Wrestler.

Brew Crew Ball has a few thoughts. Head over their to read them because there is plenty of good stuff and I can’t just pull out one bullet point.  To sum it up: They are excited.

Also, to get an idea of the prospects in the Brewers system, head over to this thread at

Minor League Blog had this tweet:

Following the trade, the #Royals have 7 prospects who are all better then the Number 1 ranked prospect in the #Brewers organization.

Anonymous Eagle had this awesomely accurate response to someone when he saw that above update re-tweeted by one of the people he follows:

Crap. We’re totally xxxxxx when we play Prospect World Series in Neverneverland.

Lastly, I only point out that the Fans’ choice bobblehead by Timber Rattlers fans in 2009 was Brett Lawrie; the Fans’ choice bobblehead in 2010 was Jake Odorizzi; and one of the rehab bobbleheads the Rattlers did in the ’08-’09 offseason was Lorenzo Cain.

Please, be careful in selecting the Fans’ choice bobblehead in 2011.  Thank you.

Trading Lawrie

This story hit Twitter and the internet around 9:30 last night and there are plenty of reactions this morning.

This story:

After arriving a day early in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for baseball’s
winter meetings, Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin wasted no
time addressing his team’s need for starting pitching.

Melvin worked out a trade with Toronto for right-hander Shaun Marcum
on Sunday night, not waiting for the official start of the meetings
Monday. Marcum, who turns 29 on Dec. 14, was 13-8 with a 3.64 earned run
average in 31 starts for the Blue Jays in 2010.

Because physical examinations are required to complete major-league trades, Melvin could not confirm the deal.

“I can’t say anything about it, really,” said Melvin when contacted via telephone. “It’s not completed yet.”

Marcum came
at a steep price. A source in Canada confirmed that the Brewers’ top
minor-league prospect, second baseman Brett Lawrie, was sent to Toronto
in exchange for the pitcher.

It was not known if the Brewers were sending any other players to Toronto.

Lawrie, who
will be 21 in January, was the Brewers’ first-round draft pick in 2008.
He is from British Columbia and it was no secret that the Blue Jays were
interested for some time in acquiring the Canadian native.

I saw a post that mentioned Nick Bucci (’10) was heading to Toronto, too.  But, an update at the top of the post at that link mentions that Bucci is not included and that it will just be Lawrie for Marcum.

A few reactions.  First, here is Drew Olson of ESPN540 in Milwaukee with a reaction that was up about an hour after the story broke.

Marcum, who missed the 2009 season while recovering from reconstructive
elbow surgery, took Roy Halladay’s spot at the top of the Blue Jays’
rotation and pitched well in 31 games. To check out Marcum’s big-league
stats, click here.

In 195 1/3 innings, he allowed 181 hits and 43 walks. He recorded 165
strikeouts and limited opponents to a .242 batting average. More
important, he recorded 22 quality starts in 31 outings.

Many pitchers who move from the American League to the National League
experience a drop in their earned run average. The Brewers are
undoubtedly banking on that with Marcum, a Kansas City native who made
$850,000 last year and will be eligible for free agency after 2012.

With Marcum in the mix behind Yovani Gallardo and lefty Randy Wolf, the
Brewers appear to have solidified the top of their rotation. But, there
is work to be done and Melvin and his staff will be working this week at
the Winter Meetings, which open Monday, to get more pitching depth.

Okay.  What about Jim over at Bernie’s Crew?

twitter exploded last night with various reactions to the trade.  They
ranged from being giddy over acquiring an above-average pitcher to
being enraged over trading the prospect that Baseball America ranked the best in the system last season.

This trade was very difficult for me to wrap my head around.  I found
myself being tugged from “in favor” of the trade to “highly skeptical”
of the trade almost minute to minute.  The gut feeling one normally gets
when learning of a trade was strangely absent, and I detemined that I
was firmly straddling the fence on this Marcum/Lawrie trade.

But why?

Neither player come to their new team without significant question
marks.  Risk is present when analyzing the deal from either side of the
equation, which makes the “winner” of this trade extremely difficult to
pinpoint — not that a winner can truly be determined until years later.

Click through for all of it, but…Here are the top good and bad possibilities for the Brewers according to Jim:

Shaun Marcum threw 195.1 innings last season and compiled a 3.64 ERA
with a 3.74 FIP, which suggests his ERA is sustainable based upon his
pitching performance.  The Brewers need that type of production in their

Shaun Marcum underwent Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2009 to
rehab the elbow.  He is a legitimate injury risk, and his delivery still
puts a high amount of stress on his elbow.  Glance at a few pictures,
and you will quickly see the dreaded “inverted W” that likely put him on
the DL in the first place.

There is much more.

Tom Haudricourt has a blog post titled Prospects can be currency.

For the second time in 2 1/2 years, the Brewers have traded their No. 1 minor-league prospect for badly needed pitching help.

In July 2008, the Brewers traded outfielder/first baseman Matt
LaPorta, their first-round draft pick in ’07, to Cleveland in a deal for
left-hander CC Sabathia. The deal worked exactly as the Brewers hoped,
with Sabathia leading them to their first playoff berth in 26 years.

On Sunday night, the Brewers traded second baseman Brett Lawrie,
their first-round draft pick in 2008, to Toronto for right-hander
Shaun Marcum. Soon to be 29, Marcum probably will plug into the Brewers’
rotation in the third spot behind Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf.

I know many folks think the Brewers gave up too much by trading
Lawrie for Marcum. But I think we can all agree that the team is going
nowhere in 2011 without upgrading its starting rotation after two dismal
seasons on that front.

Lawrie undeniably is an offensive talent, having done quite well at
age 20 in the Class AA Southern League in 2010. But he is still a
developing second baseman and needs considerable work defensively before
being big-league ready.

And the Brewers may not be done trading prospects.  Here is this from MLB Fanhouse.

Even after acquiring Shaun Marcum from the Blue Jays for their top prospect, the Brewers are still looking for starting pitching, and their top trade chip appears to be outfielder Lorenzo Cain.

A major league source said Milwaukee is interested in moving the
24-year-old Cain to help its rotation, which last season had a 4.65 ERA,
second-worst in the National League.

Cain may be moved for a major league starter.  We’ll see where this goes.

For a very complete roundup of the links with reaction to the Lawrie for Marcum trade head over to Brew Crew Ball for Monday’s Frosty Mug.

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