By Pete Schwichtenberg @schwick26_pete on July 29, 2014
Every rumor that has involved the Milwaukee Brewers begins with Jimmy Nelson. First there were rumors about making a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays for ace pitcher David Price. Now there are rumors that Milwaukee has shown interest in Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester. While these big names would be huge additions, the Brewers must make Jimmy Nelson untouchable for these five reasons.
When Nelson was originally drafted by the Brewers, some scouts saw his ceiling as a late-innings bullpen arm, but through his minor league career he has exceeded every expectation. The second-round pick from 2010 has a career minor league ERA of 3.12, and he has continued to show success in his brief major league stay.
While acquiring Jon Lester would be a statement, it would simply be a rental. With his contract ending at the end of the season, Lester has made it clear that he would like to return to Boston. Getting him in a trade would only help the club for the final two months of the season and into the playoffs.
When Boston dealt Jake Peavy, they were able to acquire two of the San Francisco Giants' top pitching prospects. If they were to trade Lester, they would not only expect someone like Nelson, but also other prized prospects like Clint Coulter and Mitch Haniger.
The best way to continually compete in MLB is to have young and cheap pitching. When the St. Louis Cardinals are at full strength, their rotation boasts affordable future aces of Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez. By keeping Nelson and pairing him with budding ace Wily Peralta, the Brewers look primed to compete not only for 2014, but many years to come.
For the past two seasons, many other minor league pitchers have gotten credit but no one has been better than Nelson. Before his promotion, Nelson was 10-2 with a 1.46 ERA in AAA. He was also leading the Pacific Coast League in almost every important statistical category. He brings a bulldog mentality on the mound that should allow him to be a centerpiece in any big game in Milwaukee for the next decade.
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