Aramis Ramirez is now an ex-Brewer, traded to his first team – the Pittsburgh Pirates – Thursday. By next week’s trade deadline, several more current Brewers should find themselves playing elsewhere as well.
Such is the life of players on a team that is 12 games below .500 in late July.
When Milwaukee sent its starting third baseman to Pittsburgh, it figured to be the first domino to fall. There was obviously no need for Ramirez to conclude his final MLB season with a club that sits 19.5 games out of first place in the National League Central.
Assessing the Brewers’ roster, there are more pieces who should be moved in an effort to keep the focus where it should be: on the future. But that certainly doesn’t mean a fire sale should be in effect.
Here’s a look at four Brewers who should be traded, and four Brewers who should be kept.
4 Brewers who should be traded
Gerardo Parra, OF
Parra is in the midst of a career-best season, leading all Milwaukee hitters with a .317 batting average and a .510 slugging percentage. Parra will be a free agent this offseason, making him a perfect "rental" player for a contending team. The 28-year-old outfielder is owed approximately $2.5 million through the remainder of this season. With the Brewers financially committed to Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez and Khris Davis in 2016, Doug Melvin should capitalize on Parra’s value being at an all-time high.
Adam Lind, 1B
There’s only one Brewer with a better OPS (On-Base Plus Slugging) than Parra, and that’s Lind. With 16 home runs, 20 doubles and 58 RBI, Lind would be an incredibly valuable pickup for a contending team. Lind has an $8 million club option for next season, but at age 32, Milwaukee would be better off selling high on him and getting some young players in return.
Francisco Rodriguez, P
Like Parra and Lind, Rodriguez is having a great season. His value is as high as it ever could be. Rodriguez’s WHIP (Walks + Plus per Innings Pitched) is the best of his career, and having an ERA of 1.32 and 21 saves is the type of pitcher that every contender would love to have in its bullpen. Rodriguez is owed $5.5 million in 2016 and has a $6 million team option in 2017, so he’d be more than a rental. He holds value for Milwaukee next season if he keeps pitching like this, but the Brewers still won’t be ready to contend by that time.
Neal Cotts, P
A veteran lefty is a commodity to have in the bullpen for any contending team. Cotts is 35 years old and will be a free agent this offseason. There’s no reason for him to pitch for Milwaukee throughout the rest of 2015, so whatever can be acquired in return would be a wise move for the Brewers.
4 Brewers who shouldn’t be traded
Jonathan Lucroy, C
Coming off his tremendous 2014 season in which he finished fourth in the MVP race, Lucroy has had a career-worst 2015 campaign. Lucroy got off to a slow start and then suffered an injury, but he’s very unlikely to continue batting his current .242 at any point in the future. With a team-friendly contract through 2017, Lucroy should not be considered for any trades – especially not when his value is at a low point like it is now.
Jean Segura, SS
Is Segura ever going to hit .294 again with a .423 slugging percentage like he did in 2013? Probably not. But Segura is at a respectable .279 average and .356 slugging percentage this season, and at age 25, he should be able to remain at these levels for years to come. Segura can’t be a free agent until 2019, so he should be viewed as part of the rebuilding process rather than dumped for minor leaguers.
Carlos Gomez, CF
Gomez is due $9 million for next season when he’ll be 30 years old. He’s not hitting nearly as well as he did the past two seasons, but there’s been enough consistent production to believe Gomez will get back to his .284 / .350 / .485 ways by next year. Gomez is the heart of the Brewers, and pending a blockbuster package of prospects, he should remain in Milwaukee long-term.
Mike Fiers, P
Fiers has been a popular name in trade rumors recently. However, he’s not arbitration eligible until 2017 and can’t be a free agent until 2020. Yes, he’s already 30 years old, but Fiers can be a quality back-of-the-rotation starting pitcher on a team-friendly deal for the next four seasons.