Sunday, July 22, 2012

Time to sell - but will they?

By Nicole
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For weeks we've been hearing about how the first nine games out of the All-Star Break were the most important of the Brewers season. While many fans were ready to give up on the Brewers more than a few weeks ago, there were those who felt that if the Brewers could come storming out of the ASB, where they had nine games against division opponents, they could be back in the race.

It started out well for the Brewers, as they took 2 of 3 from each the Pirates and the Cardinals, but it came to a screeching halt in Cincinnati, where the Brewers were swept and are now a season-low 10.5 games out of first place and 7.5 games out of the Wild Card.

Zack Greinke, Randy Wolf, Shaun Marcum and Francisco Rodriguez are all free agents at the end of the season. All of them should be on the trading block for the Brewers now so that they can maximize the return they get for them.

It was reported this week that the Brewers offered Greinke in excess of $100 million over five years and Greinke has confirmed that it happened, but no one thinks Greinke will actually sign that contract. And much like when we talked about this with Prince Fielder and CC Sabathia, the Brewers are not really in a situation that they should be committing that kind of money to any one player.

There are those that are saying that the Brewers core and their minor league options are such that the team shouldn't move into rebuilding mode.

Of course, after trading for Marcum and Greinke, the consensus was that the Brewers had one of the worst farm clubs in the majors, so those two sentiments don't exactly jive.

Both Mike Fiers and Tyler Thornburg have held their own as major league starters, meaning the Brewers have three starters lined up for next season and will need to find folks to fill the other two holes.

Since Greinke's not going to happen and I'll hurt someone if we sign Shaun Marcum, that makes it likely that Randy Wolf will be pitching again for the Brewers next season. He's a serviceable back of the rotation pitcher, but the Brewers are going to need to find a new #2 starter. It's unlikely they'd get that kind of talent in a fire-sale, so they'd be looking at off-season trades or acquisitions.

Gathering up hoards of prospects for guys in pre-deadline trading might not be the worst idea in order to stock them up for offseason deals.

Don't be surprised if you hear chatter of a Corey Hart move. Despite standard production and injury rumors, the Dodgers signed Andre Ethier to a five-year $85 million contract through 2017 with a $17.5 million vesting option for 2018. That contract will be the starting point that Hart's agent comes with.

On no planet should the Brewers ever commit that kind of money to Hart in the outfield.

The wrinkle in that, of course, is that Hart may be considered the new first-baseman. He's played well there. What that means for the team and Mat Gamel, I'm not sure, but where the Brewers plan on playing Hart in the future will have a major impact on what kind of contract he'll be offered.

He's really only an average outfielder, so $85 million would be ludicrous. But that kind of money for a first baseman is not out of the question.

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