Note: This is part two of a two-week series recapping the Brewers busy non-waiver trade deadline. Part one can be found here.
Judging by the amount of Cardinals fans in Miller Park this weekend, the tone of radio broadcasters Bob Uecker and Joe Block, and the number of first year players in the starting line up, the Brewers are simply going through the motions to finish off the season. It’s a difficult thing for many baseball fans, myself included, to stomach.
Two weeks ago, the Brewers organization took the first step towards a full rebuild by completing four trades in nine days. Last week, we discussed the deals that sent Aramis Ramirez to the Pittsburgh Pirates and Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to the Houston Astros. This week, let’s dive into the final two deals that Doug Melvin made before rating his trade deadline as a whole.
Brewers Trade Gerardo Parra to the Orioles for RHP Zach Davies
This was the trade that even the casual Brewers fan could have seen from a mile away. Gerardo Parra was in the middle of the best year of his career in batting average, slugging percentage, and on base percentage. On top of that, he was eligible for free agency at the end of the year and the Brewers had no reason to hold on to him. Parra ranked 8th in batting average in the major leagues on the day he was traded, and is the owner of two gold glove awards. He was by far the Brewers’ biggest trade piece, and fans would have been up in arms if he was still in a Brewers uniform on August 1st.
I have to admit, I was originally disappointed at what the Brewers got for Parra. Davies was ranked anywhere from the 3rd to 6th best prospect in the Orioles system before this year. He’s 22-years-old, and has posted a 2.84 ERA with 81 strikeouts in AAA this year. He’s projected by many to be a back of the rotation starter in the big leagues. His ERA is impressive, but after seeing the Brewers get four players for Gomez and Fiers, I guess I was hoping to see them get a couple in return for Parra.
Part of me wonders (but will never know for sure) if perhaps Doug Melvin was asking for too much for Parra. If I can do a simple search on baseballreference.com to determine that Parra’s numbers this year are well above his career averages, so can the scouting department of a major league ball club. There could have been skepticism that Parra truly had the ability to sustain this level of success throughout the fall, which could be valid given he is just 6 for 29 for Baltimore thus far. At the end of the day, there is no way to determine “what could have been” with respect to these types of trades. All we can base our judgement on is the end result. The Brewers got a top five prospect in the Orioles system, rid themselves of the $2.5 million owed to Parra for the remainder of the season, and opened up another starting spot in the outfield for a young player to get some major league play.
Overall Grade: B-
Brewers Trade Jonathan Broxton and “Cash considerations” to Cardinals for OF Malik Collymore
Contrary to the Parra trade that everyone could see coming, I don’t think many people thought the Brewers had enough salesmanship in their entire organization to get a team to bite on Broxton, who has been absolutely horrible this year out of the bullpen. His 5.89 ERA as a Brewer this year led me to believe that nobody in the majors would even consider him, especially not in a single player trade.
Collymore ranked 27th in the Cardinals system before the year began. A 10th round pick in 2013, he’s hitting a dismal .216/.326/.378 in rookie ball this year. Although his 2015 numbers have been disappointing, he hit .333 last year in 54 games in rookie ball with 9 stolen bases. Also worth noting, he’s hitting .400 since being moved to the Brewers system 9 days ago.
While every Brewers fan hopes Collymore ends up being the next Brewers All Star, this move was made 100% with money in mind, saving the Brewers the $3.5 million they owed to Broxton for the remainder of this season. I haven’t been able to find the exact amount of cash the Brewers sent to the Cardinals, but it’s rumored to be right around the $2 million dollar mark that would cover Broxton’s buyout option for next year, so that washes out. Credit goes to Melvin for getting anything in return for Broxton, let alone $3.5 million dollars and a player that flashed some brilliance last year. This move likely won’t change the Brewers franchise for years to come, but it was another solid deal made with a long term strategy in mind.
Overall Grade: A
I have been vocally critical of Doug Melvin all year for letting the Brewers get to this point. I still believe he made a grave mistake in allowing Ron Roenicke to keep his job last October, and two playoff appearances in thirteen years is not good enough. That being said, Melvin deserves credit for realizing it was time for the Brewers to sell, and executing all four of these deals. In particular, that fact that he recovered from the hiccup with the Mets (who I still believe got cold feet and bailed) and traded Carlos Gomez to a different organization less than 24 hours later was incredible. While I do think he left some players on the table that had to have been attracting interest, particularly Francisco Rodriguez and Adam Lind, he needs to be given credit for selling players who were having some of the worst seasons of their careers in Aramis Ramirez and Jonathan Broxton.
Overall Grade: B+
So there you have it; four separate deals that sent five Brewers packing in the most action packed week of the 2015 season. The excitement of the final week of July is very characteristic of baseball- there are a couple of high intensity moments that keep fans on the edge of their seats, followed by a lot of down time filled with pitching changes, foul balls, and sausage races. The high from the successful trade deadline has worn off as the Brewers are now fielding a team composed of minor leaguers who aren’t quite ready and veterans who are well aware that the Brewers aren’t going to contend for quite sometime. The Brewers will be outmatched for the next two months nearly every time they take the field. While the trade deadline provided some much needed excitement for Brewers fans, the path to rebuilding is a long and tiresome; it’s one filled with multi-run losses, base running errors, and broken batting helmets. Only 35 days until football season!