Is it really possible?
It looks as if for the first time since they acquired Don Sutton in exchange for Kevin Bass in 1982, the Milwaukee Brewers will be BUYERS rather than SELLERS when the trade deadline rolls around this July. Although he's already gone over his projected salary budget, Mr. Antanassio has already stated that he will give Doug Melvin the green light to improve the team, if the opportunity presents itself. Most members of the Brewers media are pretty much in agreement that the Brewers will probably go out and get another lefty specialist for the pen. Definitely a necessity, but if that's the only move the Brewers make, I think you'll find that the Brewers nation will be, to say the least, up in arms.
And I think the Brewers will need to make a move. The Cubs are certainly showing a feistyness of late, and with their seemingly endless pocketbook, imagine if they add a Buehrle-type starter to Zambrano, Hill, and Lilly. With that offense, they're still very much a threat in this division. The Cardinals are expected to get Carpenter back in July, and if he comes back to form, there's no better pitcher in the National League. The Astros seem to have had horrible first halfs and dynamic second halfs for the past three seasons; so the Brewers would be foolish to think they're not going to make a surge as well. Granted, there will be no Roger Clemmens this year, but if Lance Berkman starts swinging the bat, their heart of the order is as good as anyone's.
Although adding a pitcher or two is always important for a playoff push, I believe that the Brewers need to pick up one more bat to push them over the top. The problem, of course, is where to put that bat in the Brewers line-up. You're certainly not going to replace any of the young infielders; there aren't too many catchers who hit better than Estrada; and I'm sure you've noticed that there's already a bit of a log jam in the outfield. Nonetheless, the Brewers current line-up seems to have an abundance of the same type of hitter. Guys who swing out of their shoes, and can really drive the ball when they're on their game. When their not so on, however, it can get ugly at times, with strike-outs piling up faster than Shawn Kemp's paternity suits. For that reason, adding a bat like Adam Dunn would not make any sense...we don't need more home runs and strike outs; we need someone who can hit for average--someone who make contacts on a regular basis, and rarely strikes out. And since that's the type of hitter the line-up currently misses (Estrada and Fielder currently rank 24th and 25th in league's batting average race, Braun doesn't qualify) I say we go for the best...
Now hold your laughs and hear me out, but...
I think the Brewers should trade Geoff Jenkins, Dave Bush and Tony Gwynn Jr.
Two things you need to know before you post the comment about me being off my gourd...
1. I know the Mariners would be foolish to trade Ichiro and have said they are going to do everything in their power to keep him. But remember, the Brewers said the same thing abot Carlos Lee. They negotiated as long as they could, but they eventually had to get something back for him. And so will the Mariners. After blowing far too much money of the likes of Weaver and Beltre, this Mariner team simply may not be able to afford a contract that is certain to rival Carlos Lee and Alfonso Soriano. Ichiro and the Mariners said all the right things about getting a contract done back in February, but it's mid-June now and there's still no sign of a new contract. Ichiro has said that, although he would like to stay in Seattle, he's sick of the losing and wants to wait and see if the Mariners can stay in the thick of things (they're currently 6 games behind the Angels). I don't believe they're going to be able to, and that means the Brewers should pounce while the chance is there.
2. I realize that the Brewers are never going to keep Ichiro after the season. This is purely a move to rent a player for the rest of the '07 season in order to give both Ichiro and the Brewers a chance at a ring.
And now here's the craziest statement I'm going to make--I think this trade actually makes the Mariners better, both for the long term and for this year:
--One of the Mariners biggest problems is power, especially from the left side of the plate. They're currently 10th in HRs in the AL. If Jenkins were to join the team today, his 12 HRs would lead the club. Not to mention that they could bat him behind his good buddy Richie Sexson, which would benefit the pitch selection of both hitters.
--The Mariners desperately need a starter (or two) to mix in with King Felix and Washburn and replace the struggling Weaver. Bush steps into their rotation immediately and the Mariners have control of his contract for a couple more years.
--Given a chance to play every day, I think Gwynn establishes himself as a more than adequate lead-off hitter, and a staple at the top of the Mariners order for years to come. He certainly doesn't hit like Ichiro, but he's a pretty good replacement, especially if they get nothing for him when he leaves for free agency this off-season.
Okay, so my daydream is just about over. And I realize Melvin would probably not give up Bush (because you can never have enough pitching) and Gwynn for a player that he would have for four months. BUT, he does have Gallardo and/or Villanueva to plug into that 5th slot of the rotation. And although no official announcement has come down yet, I'm just assuming that Gwynn will be the odd man out when Rickie gets moved from the DL. The kid deserves a shot to play somewhere.
As for Jenkins, it pains me to include a guy with that much service to the team, when the Brewers finally have a chance to do something special. But there's no way you could take on the pro-rated portion of Ichiro's $12.5 million salary, without including Jenkins $7.33 million.
It would be a gamble, but there's just no telling if the Brewers will be in this position again next year. And I like gambles...
Even if you don't like this move, Doug, just promise me you'll make a move, because this opportunity is too good to waste...
So let's make a deal!