Wednesday, July 17, 2013

2013 MLB Trade Deadline Advice for Doug Melvin

For the last four years at the NBA Trade Deadline I gave very specific advice to Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond for how to improve the roster (2010, 2011, 2012, & 2013).  This is my first year doing the same thing for Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin ahead of the MLB Trade Deadline.  Here is my five-point-plan for how Melvin should approach the 2013 MLB Trade Deadline:

#1) Move at least one of the three "closers" for prospects.  I say "closers" because John Axford was supposed to be the closer for the Brewers this season but struggled to start the season, which opened the door for Jim Henderson and K-Rod.  When you factor in age and contract, I would much rather trade K-Rod or Axford than Henderson but I totally support the Brewers moving any of the three for future assets.

#2) Hold onto starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo unless offered a Greinke-esque return.  The Brewers have Gallardo under control through 2015.  Sure Gallardo's contract jumps from $7.75 million to $11.25 million next season and has a $13 million ($0.6 million buyout) club option for 2015 but that also means the Brewers could have a borderline ace under control through 2015.  Gallardo has pitched for the Brewers so long that people forget he is still only 27-years old, which means Gallardo still has a decade left in his career.  The velocity on Gallardo's fastball has decreased over the last few seasons and to make matters worse he was arrested earlier this season for driving under the influence of alcohol but he is still a low-end ace so the Brewers should keep strongly consider keeping Gallardo.

#3) Hold onto any and all prospects.  The Brewers have as much of a chance of making the playoffs this year as I do of leveraging the advice I dispense on this blog into becoming the next general manager of one of the Cheesehead professional sports franchises.  The Brewers need to continue to build for the future instead of making short-term trades with negative long-term consequences.

#4) Do not trade catcher Jonathan Lucroy, starting pitcher Kyle Lohse, shortstop Jean Segura, right fielder Norichika Aoki, center fielder Carlos Gomez, and left fielder Ryan Braun.  The Brewers have Lucroy, Lohse, Segura, and Aoki on team friendly deals through at least 2014 so that makes them virtually untouchable in my book.  The Brewers have larger financial commitments to Gomez and Braun but with Gomez finally fulfilling the promise that made him the centerpiece of the Johan Santana trade and PED stink hanging over Braun there is no way the Brewers would get equal value for either player at this point.  Lohse and Aoki are the most likely of the six to get traded but I would resist overtures even for them unless the Brewers get a Godfather offer.

#5) Entertain offers for Aramis Ramirez and Rickie Weeks as long as you don't have to eat more than $5 million of either of their contracts.  I know this feels like selling low on Ramirez since he is having a disappointing season this year compared to last year and is currently on the DL but he is owed $16 million next season, which is about $10 million too much.  Plus moving Ramirez will allow the Brewers to see whether Juan Francisco is a long-term answer at third base.  Weeks is on the books for $10 million this seasons, $11 million for next season, and has a $11.5 million vesting option (if healthy at end of 2014 season and has 600 PAs in 2014 or 1,200 PAs in 2013-14) for 2015.  Despite hitting well going into the All-Star break, Weeks is still a Jeff Suppan-esque lightning rod for Brewers fans. Much like Ramirez, the Brewers are on the hook for way too much money for Weeks.  The payroll relief alone of trading either Ramirez or Weeks without assuming their entire contract would make the 2013 MLB Trade Deadline a success for the Brewers.

I wish I knew more minor league players outside of the Brewers' farm system so that I could give Melvin specific players to target but unfortunately I don't at this point.  I promise in next year's incarnation of this column I will give Melvin or the new general manger of the Brewers specific minor league players to target.  Whether Melvin follows my blueprint or charts his own path, if Melvin makes any moves, check back for my full breakdown.

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