It is no secret the Milwaukee Brewers need help in the middle infield, and even though they acquired Cody Ransom a few weeks ago, they still need an everyday shortstop. If the Brewers decide to become buyers, they could trade for Houston Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie.
The Astros are going to be sellers at the All-Star break as they are currently 14.5 games out of first place in the National League Central division. There is no reason to believe they can make an incredible comeback so the next best thing for them is to continue unloading players.
The Brewers are on the fence whether they will be buyers or sellers. There is clearly a high demand for starting pitcher Zack Greinke and Milwaukee could definitely get a lot for him, however, owner Mark Attanasio does not want to go into rebuild mode after their NLCS run last season. The Brewers have built a team to clinch a postseason berth they have just been so inconsistent that it is hard to determine how good the team really is.
Rickie Weeks has been a huge disappointment this season and a platoon of Ransom and Cesar Izturis at shortstop is not going to cut it. If the team wants to play consistent then their lineup should be consistent. I understand the platoon only exists because Milwaukee has suffered multiple season-ending injuries; however, they still need to move on with players who can play the position every day.
Lowrie could be an excellent addition to the team and would fit right in with the players. In 270 plate appearances this season, he is batting .256 with 36 runs, 15 doubles, 14 home runs, 35 RBI, and 36 walks. The Brewers not only need help on offense, which is something Lowrie could definitely do, but they also need a sure handed glove in the infield. Lowrie has a fielding percentage of .975 and has committed eight errors this season. It is also important to note that Lowrie is only making $1.15 this season, which means he is flexible in a trade deal.
If the Brewers decide they have a good chance of making a run at the division or NL wild card then they need to go after someone like Lowrie. To do this they would have to give the Astros a decent trade offer. One person Houston could consider accepting would be catcher George Kottaras. Milwaukee will not keep three catchers on the roster and there is no way they are going to send Martin Maldonado back down to the minor leagues once Jonathan Lucroy returns from the disabled list. Therefore, either they can send Kottaras down or they can trade him.
Another option would be to trade Ransom or Izturis with a minor league prospect. It is highly unlikely Houston goes for this trade but if they do not have another shortstop ready to play the position then they just might go for it. If the Brewers are desperate to acquire Lowrie then they might trade Kottaras and Izturis without giving up prospects.
Once again, Milwaukee has given no indication either way if they are going to be buyers or sellers. It is very likely they are going to pack up and trade Greinke to receive players for the future. However, if they are serious at making a run at the playoffs then they cannot trade Greinke. They must also improve the infield with someone who can bring a big bat to the plate because the offense has been stagnant.