There is a good chance the Milwaukee Brewers may not budge before the July 31 trade deadline. This means they will not be buyers or sellers and will simply play out the season with no moves.
The Brewers have recently offered Zack Greinke somewhere around a $100 million contract extension to keep the right-hander in Milwaukee for what would have to be at least the next five years. One could make the argument that this means the Brewers are buyers but I do not classify it as that as Milwaukee was clearly going to offer Greinke an extension before the season was over one way or another.
Instead of trying to trade players and make improvements now in order to improve the team for next year, the Brewers may play their game and allow the several expiring contracts to end once the season is over. At that point, Milwaukee will be able to choose which players they will make an offer to and allow the other ones to test out the market in free agency.
The following players have contracts that will expire at the end of the 2012 season:
Greinke, Randy Wolf, Shaun Marcum, Francisco Rodriguez, Alex Gonzalez, Nyjer Morgan, Jose Veras, Kameron Loe, Carlos Gomez, Manny Parra, Cesar Izturis, Livan Hernandez, Cody Ransom, George Kottaras, John Axford, Travis Ishikawa, Chris Narveson, Marco Estrada, Mat Gamel, Michael Fiers, and Martin Maldonado.
With these 21 players coming off the payroll, the Brewers will have only $52.4 million guaranteed for 2013. Obviously, Milwaukee plans on signing some of these players for at least next season, but that still means they have no reason to move any of the guys before the trade deadline unless some team is interested in them.
Milwaukee has set themselves up to be in control of what financially happens with their team and be big players in free agency during the offseason. These are two more reasons why the Brewers do not seem overly eager to make trades as they seem perfectly content watching this season play itself out. Milwaukee certainly has the talent to make a competitive push but the overwhelming inconsistency has taken over.
The players and loyal fan base will not give up on the season, but math is definitely not a friend of Milwaukee’s this time around. The Brewers have one series left against each of the three divisional opponents ahead of them in the standings NL Central standings. Unfortunately, going 4-5 against them in the last three series does not sit comfortably with management.
It is certainly a tough pill for fans to swallow after being only two games away from a World Series berth last season but the good news is the Brewers will have several options to make the team better in 2013.