The 3 Brewers Most Likely to be Traded

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.


Restocking The Pen: Brewers Placing Priority on Lefty Reliever at Winter Meetings

by Kevin Kimmes

Jon Morosi of reported via Twitter this afternoon that The Brewers are placing priority on acquiring a left handed reliever this week at the winter meetings. While this should come as no surprise to anyone, especially due to the non-tendering of their last bullpen lefty Manny Parra on Friday, it does raise some discussion regarding which of the available lefties may be the correct choice for a rebuilding Brewers pen.

1) Sean Burnett – Age 30 – 2012 Team: Washington Nationals

Burnett has been a mainstay in the Nationals bullpen after arriving there from Pittsburgh in 2009. In 2012, Burnett posted a 2.38 ERA with a K/9 of 9.1, BB/9 of 1.9, and a WHIP of 1.235 over 56.2 innings in 70 appearances. Over 6 professional seasons he has an ERA of 3.58, K/9 of 6.6, BB/9 of 3.6 and a WHIP of 1.341.

While it was originally reported that Burnett may be looking for a 4 year deal, his agent Jim Munsey shot this down. Most likely Burnett will be looking for a deal similar to that offered to lefty Giants reliever Jeremey Affeldt earlier this offseason (3 years/$18 million).

Other suitors for Burnett currently include Milwaukee’s division rivals, The St. Louis Cardinals, as well as his former team the Washington Nationals.

2) Randy Choate – Age 37 – 2012 Team: Miami Marlins/Los Angeles Dodgers

Choate began his 2012 campaign with the new look Miami Marlins only to be traded to Los Angeles in the later part of the season as part of the Hanley Ramirez deal. While Choate showed ability in Miami (2.49 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 9.6 K/9 and a 0.987 WHIP) the wheels seem to have fallen off in LA. While with the Dodgers his numbers climbed to 4.05 ERA, 6.9 BB/9 and a WHIP of 1.650. Add to this a falling K/9 of 7.4 and you have to believe that Choate either got tired, or just flamed out post trade.

While it has been made clear that the Brewers are looking to go with a smaller 2013 payroll (2012 saw a record 100 million spent), I don’t feel that cheaper here is necessarily better. Choate is 37 years old, and if what was seen in LA last year is any sign, Choate may no longer have what it takes to make a full strong season, something Milwaukee will need since they believe they can make a run in 2013.

3) Mike Gonzalez – Age 34 – 2012 Team: Washington Nationals

Last season, Mike Gonzalez didn’t find a team to play for until May. What a difference a year makes. After posting an ERA of 3.03 with 9.8 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 35 2/3 innings of work, Gonzalez has attracted quite a few potential suitors for 2013. As of this writing, 10 teams have expressed interest in Gonzalez including Milwaukee and his former team Washington.

It is believed that Gonzalez will be seeking a 2 year deal. Washington has made it clear that they would like to reacquire both Gonzalez and Burnett if possible.

4) J.P. Howell – Age 29 – 2012 Team: Tampa Bay Rays

The youngest of the five potential pitchers, Howell had a season similar to that of Gonzalez. Howell posted an ERA of 3.04 with a 7.5 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 50.1 innings of work. He has been a part of the Tampa Bay organization since 2006 and missed the entire 2010 season due to shoulder surgery.

It is believed that a handful of teams are currently interested in Howell including the Brewers and Angels.

5) Tom Gorzelanny – Age 30 – Team Washington Nationals

Our final candidate is also our third former National. Gorzelanny was non-tendered by Washington this week setting the stage for his free-agency. He posted a 2.88 ERA with a 1.319 WHIP, 3.8 BB/9, and a 7.8 K/9 over 72 innings in 45 appearances.

While he was used as a long relief man in Washington, it is believed that he will be looking for a starting spot with whichever team happens to sign him. Based on this, it is unlikely that he would be the best fit for Milwaukee.

The Winter Meetings kick off tomorrow and will keep you in the loop with all of the latest Brewers news as we begin the march to 2013.