By Nathan Petrashek
The non-waiver trade deadline is less than a month away, and the Brewers are securely locked away deep down in the division’s dungeons. The end of July should raise their spirits a bit, with games against fellow inmates like the Cubs and Marlins, but first they’ll have to face the Reds and Diamondbacks. In short: hope for any type of sustained winning is dim. The Brewers remind me a bit of those pirates of Disneyworld, frantically trying to get the cell key from the guard’s dog. The desperation is palpable.
Soon the Brewers will begin trading off what they can. It’s fun to conjure up grand scenarios involving high-end prospects for players like Yovani Gallardo and Aramis Ramirez, but the reality is likely to be more mundane. It takes a prefect alignment of interests to make trades of that caliber work, and it seems the front office is still evaluating whether to take the full plunge on rebuilding.
So with preliminary matters out of the way, here are the three players the Brewers are most likely to trade before July 31. And they’re all relievers.
RHP Francisco Rodriguez
Rodriguez blew up a bit against the Pirates on Sunday, but that shouldn’t deter many suitors. After failing to secure a major-league deal to begin the season, K-Rod has shown he still has plenty left in the tank with a sparkling .96 ERA and 19 strikeouts over 18.2 innings. His 2.69 FIP suggests he has benefited from some excellent defense, but it shouldn’t hurt his stock much. Teams like Cleveland and Detroit should be looking for cheap relief help, and with with K-Rod due somewhere around $1MM for the rest of the season, he fits the bill.
LHP Tom Gorzelanny
Milwaukee took a stab at Gorzelanny hoping he could replicate his 2.88 ERA 2012 season with Washington, and he’s more than delivered. Gorzelanny has never been a hard thrower, but his velocity is up just a tick this year over past seasons, which is important given how frequently he uses his fastballs. All four of his pitches rank above average, and his 8.8 K/9, 2.31 ERA, and 1.07 WHIP could certainly play in long relief. Gorzelanny performs much better against righties than lefties, so its possible some teams could see him as a LOOGY. He’s slightly more than a rental, as he’s signed through 2014. He’s earning $2.6MM this year and will make $2.8MM in 2014.
LHP Michael Goznalez
Oh, Mike Gonzalez. As much as he’s frustrated Brewers fans, there’s actually a reasonable chance a contender will view him as useful, as the results don’t necessarily reflect what the eye sees. A 3.30 ERA isn’t terrible, nor is Gonzalez’s 12 K/9. He’s not the typical southpaw, though, as he’s struggled against lefties, but held right-handed batters to just a .228 average. That’s the exact opposite of last year, so it’s possible interested teams may not quite know what to make of him. Gonzalez is currently signed to a 1-year, $2.25MM contract.
That might not be the most exciting list, as the three relievers aren’t standout names and won’t draw a whole lot of intriguing prospects back. But those factors also make them the most likely to be moved at the deadline.