The Milwaukee Brewers are being mentioned in several MLB rumors these days. The Brewers, who came close to a World Series appearance last season, now find themselves in a predicament. Do they become sellers at the July 31st trade deadline now that they are 10.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Central?
There are tons of questions that Brewers GM Doug Melvin must answer quickly. First, what to do with ace Zack Greinke. Greinke is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the year and looks like he will test the free agent market rather than re-sign with the Brewers. The Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, and Los Angeles Dodgers might line up to see what the cost would be to bring Greinke aboard, especially if Cole Hamels accepts the Philadelphia Phillies $130 million contract offer.
If Melvin does decide to sell Greinke, he might as well put a couple of other veterans on the block too. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez has already drawn some interest from the Dodgers but could also draw interest from a team like the Pittsburgh Pirates who might be able to shift Ramirez to first base if no other first base options appear. Ramirez, who began his career with the Pirates, would help add some punch to a lineup almost completely without it aside from Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez. The Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians might also check in on Ramirez as they try to make a run at the playoffs.
Francisco Rodriguez could be another Brewer dealt before the deadline. Rodriguez has been so-so as a set-up man to John Axford and has filled in from time to time to close games out. The San Francisco Giants might make the most sense for Rodriguez. The Giants are without closer Brian Wilson, who had Tommy John surgery, and need some bullpen help.
Greinke, Ramirez, and Rodriguez could bring in enough for the Brewers to accumulate some young talent and get back to contending in a short period. It’s up to Melvin now to figure out if he is going to sell, or stand fast. He needs to find out pretty quickly, the trading deadline is only eight days away.