Coming into the All-Star break, word on the street was that the Milwaukee Brewers weren’t likely to re-sign star right-hander Zack Greinke to a contract extension. The fact that the unrestricted free agent to-be had not come to terms on a multi-year contract lengthener with the club early in the season said to many that he had doubts about staying in Milwaukee, and that he probably had an interesting in weighing his options as a free-agent this winter.
Now, it appears that Milwaukee’s odds of bringing back the former Cy Young award winner have actually worsened.
Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday that he is not optimistic about signing Greinke to an extension prior to the July 31 trade deadline. In Attanasio’s own words:
“When players get this close [to free agency], there’s not many that will sign, at that level. He’s a difference-maker to a team that’s got a chance to go to the postseason. Unless you’re raising the bar, you usually go on the market.”
Of course, it should also be noted that general manager Doug Melvin told Haudricourt that his phone “isn’t ringing off the hook” with trade calls for Greinke.
Tom (@Haudricourt) July 12, 2012
Milwaukee’s brass has made it known that the outcome of the next few series’ will be of extreme importance as to the club’s intentions in the trade market this month.
Just eight games out of the lead for the division, the Brewers are by no means out of the hunt for the division title. However, they are also by no means looking the part of a club who’s bound for the postseason, division champions or not.
Milwaukee will start the second half of their 2012 schedule with a three-game set versus the division-leading Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park immediately followed by another three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals at home. They then head to Cincinnati for a three-game set against the Reds, whom they have a 2-4 record against this season, scoring as many runs (22) as they have allowed (22).
- Update 7/14: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported Friday night that the Brewers are preparing to offer Greinke a contract extension supposedly worth $100 Million over five years, according to “a person familiar with their thinking”.
The jury is out as to whether or not the Milwaukee Brewers will be buyers or sellers at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. However, if the first half of the season is any indication of how the second half might play out, there’s a decent chance general manager Doug Melvin will look to deal some of his most valuable trade chips in the coming weeks to try and restock for future seasons.
While Zack Greinke will likely continue to command the majority of trade interest this summer, there are a few other players who look to have at least some market value by the end of the month.
Who are these players and why on earth should the Brewers consider trading them? Let’s take a look.
Why Milwaukee Could Trade Him: No room on roster with Jonathan Lucroy nearing return, attractive bat
Potential Suitors: N/A
Breakdown: Through no fault of his own, backup catcher George Kottaras has become an expendable asset this summer.
The injury to Jonathan Lucroy resulted in the promotion of 26-year-old veteran minor league catcher Martin Maldonado to the 25-man roster, whereupon he would seize the opportunity by flashing plus average defense and a solid approach at the plate, consequently keeping Kottaras in his same role. Now that Lucroy is nearly back, there’s really no place for the 29-year-old catcher on the roster.
While the Brewers could easily demote Kottaras to their Triple-A club in Nashville, it would make a lot of sense for management to consider what they could get through trading him. Kottaras has already harbored a 0.8 WAR rating, according to FanGraphs, which is what his entire 2011 campaign amounted to.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal recently confirmed that the Brewers are receiving calls for (among others) Kottaras, saying that he very much “remains trade bait” as the July 31 deadline nears. It should be interesting to see what Milwaukee would like in return for him; they can’t expect much dealing him alone. A package-type deal could be on the horizon.
Why Milwaukee Could Trade Him: Burdensome contract, market value, severe under-performance
Potential Suitors: Mets
Breakdown: Once considered the gold standard of big-league closers, Francisco Rodriguez has performed far from what he once was as a 26-year-old fire-baller for the Los Angeles Angels. To that end, he has performed much worse this season compared to his time spent with Milwaukee in 2011.
Known for his strikeout capabilities on the mound, Rodriguez has garnered a strikeout rate of just 20.5 percent this season, down from 27.5 percent over 29 innings with the Brewers last season and noticeably lower than his career rate of 29.5 percent. Moreover, he’s struggled to command his pitches and that’s manifested itself in the form of a career-worst 1.47 WHIP. Couple that with a lofty 2012 salary, and it’s difficult to picture the Brewers drawing much trade interest for Rodriguez this summer.
Yet, that hasn’t exactly been the case. A person “familiar with the club’s thinking” told Ken Davidoff of the New York Post that Rodriguez is atop the New York Mets‘ trade wish-list this summer. Struggling to find consistency from relievers not named Frank Francisco, it makes a certain amount of sense that New York would want Rodriguez back. They could shift the hard-throwing Francisco to the setup role and drop Rodriguez into their closer’s role, where he believes he is much better suited to perform out of. That would then give them the formidable late-inning one-two punch they’ve been looking for.
Of course, such an acquisition might come at a hefty asking price. While the Brewers realize they probably won’t get much back in return for Rodriguez, it certainly doesn’t bode well for a potential deal that the Mets “won’t trade their best prospects for a bat or a reliever“. If that’s the case, then maybe Milwaukee would be better suited to keep him for the rest of the season.
Why Milwaukee Could Trade Him: Market Value, Chance he won’t re-sign in offseason
Breakdown: Before hitting the 15-day disabled list with right elbow tightness—an injury that has sidelined him up to this point in the season—on June 15, Shaun Marcum performed exceptionally. In his 13 starts this year, Marcum averaged 6.1 innings per start and garnered a WAR of 1.3. Last season, he lasted a whole out less per start and posted a WAR of 2.7. If not for injury, he would have easily surpassed the 3.0 WAR plateau or just the second time in his career.
Consequently, its easy to understand why Marcum’s name began appearing in trade speculation toward the end of May and the early portion of June.
Probably the biggest rumor that had surfaced came from FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi, when he tweeted that the Detroit Tigers would at the very least be interested in acquiring Marcum if the Brewers were so inclined to trade him.
File this away: #Tigers were interested in Shaun Marcum during the offseason Milwaukee acquired him. Could be option if healthy.—
Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 30, 2012
Detroit’s rotation hasn’t gotten enough production after Justin Verlander. The shaky combination of Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Drew Smyly and Doug Fister hasn’t gotten the job done in Mo-Town, so it makes sense for them to be interested in acquiring a guy like Marcum, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
The Tigers have a few prospects that could entice Milwaukee into dealing the 30-year-old righty, as well. However, the longer Marcum remains on the disabled list, the less likely it will be for a deal to go through. It wouldn’t hurt for Melvin to at least consider trading him, though.
Why Milwaukee Could Trade Him: Inconsistencies, Newfound interest in trade market
Potential Suitors: Dodgers, others(?)
Breakdown: Signing Aramis Ramirez to a lucrative three-year contract this past winter, the Brewers probably had every intention of keeping the veteran third baseman through the end of the 2014 season. However, an abysmally slow start the season together with the fact that Milwaukee is headed toward selling rather than buying this summer, and the team’s original vision may be cast aside as the deadline nears.
According to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, the Los Angeles Dodgers have identified Ramirez as a possible upgrade at the third base position. The following is the tweet he sent out on Thursday to the rest of his followers.
If Brewers decide to sell, Dodgers have identified Aramis Ramirez as possible 3B upgrade. Prefer Chase Headley, however.—
Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) July 12, 2012
Jerry Hairston, Elian Herrera, Adam Kennedy and Juan Uribe have each tallied at least 141 plate appearances at third base for the Dodgers this season, together combining for a 1.8 WAR, if you go by FanGraphs‘ value distribution. Los Angeles’ brass must believe that adding a guy like Ramirez, who has a 2.4 WAR this season, would make for more stability in the lineup and moreover help out a healthy Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier in their second-half run.
Of course, the next big question now applies to what Milwaukee could get in return for Ramirez, who was brought in to protect Ryan Braun in the batting order prior to the season. If anything, management could be looking to add a few MLB-ready arms in preparation for next season, and the Dodgers have a few names who could entice, including 27-year-old Chad Billingsley and former Brewer Chris Capuano.
The Milwaukee Brewers came into the 2012 season with high hopes of returning to postseason contention. Despite the farewell bid by former first-baseman Prince Fielder, management believed that they could still contend with the pieces left over.
Unfortunately, things haven’t turned out as previously thought. With the All-Star break upon us, Milwaukee sits at a disconcerting 39-44, seven games out of first place in the National League Central division. Injuries and severe under-performance have cast a shadow of doubt over the immediate future of the organization, leaving many to wonder whether or not the club should add a piece or two for a second-half run or sell their assets to reboot for subsequent seasons.
A definitive answer to that question is still a ways off at this juncture. General manager Doug Melvin and principal owner Mark Attanasio have claimed they would like to see where they are in the standings at least a week after the break to decided the club’s intentions this month.
Still, rumors surrounding the club won’t cease to exist, especially given the amount of talent the club could potentially deal away. Here, we’ll keep you updated as those rumors continue to surface to go with a bit of reaction and analysis to go along with each.
What Could Zack Greinke Yield in a Trade?
Posted: Tuesday, July 10 at 11:56 a.m. CT
It’s been a topic up for discussion for a while now: What might the Brewers get in return for Zack Greinke via trade?
I tried my best to answer that very question a few days back, but that was well before a report surfaced that the Baltimore Orioles had a serious interest in Greinke, and also before the Atlanta Bravesappeared to be doing any more than their due-diligence in scouting the Brewers’ right-hander. Now, both clubs are probably the front runners in the sweepstakes.
Carson Cistulli, a writer for the highly-acclaimed baseball site FanGraphs.com, published a piece Monday morning trying to answer the question I alluded to earlier:What would Greinke yield in a trade? He attempted to answer that question by looking back at past trades involving high-priced starters and what the team dealing them received.
Here’s a short snippet of that Cistulli had to say:
Inspecting the four deals above, it appears as though, of late, top-end starters have been more likely to yield a number (in fact, four exactly, every time) of B and C-type prospects — as opposed to just one or two high-end type. Indeed, the Jimenez deal — with two B+ prospects, in Pomeranz and White — appears to have been the biggest return of those considered here.
It is currently unknown what the Brewers are looking in return for Greinke, but based on the deals that Cistulli revisited, Milwaukee may not get the high-profile prospect they’re looking for in return. Throw in the fact that the team receiving Greinke will not receive a compensatory draft pick should he walk in free-agency, and a potential deal this summer is becoming increasingly unlikely.
New York Mets Interested in Francisco Rodriguez
Posted: Saturday, July 7 at 12:00 p.m. CT
While Zack Greinke has dominated Milwaukee’s trade headlines and will from here on out, he is not the only veteran hurler with a potential to be moved via trade this month.
Ken Davidoff of the New York Post claimed last Tuesday that Francisco Rodriguez highlights the shortlist of relievers that the New York Mets would be interested in acquiring prior to the July 31 deadline. Among other things, Davidoff claims that the combination of Rodriguez’s poor performance this season together with the fact that the Mets won’t be scared to take on his 2012 salary , that this would be an “excellent fit”.
In 41 appearances this season, Rodriguez has garnered a 4.06 ERA and 1.51 WHIP while harboring a career-low strikeout rate of 20.3 percent. His subpar production has yielded him an unsightly -0.1 WAR rating, according to FanGraphs.
Should the Mets make a move for Rodriguez?
The Mets’ bullpen ranks among the worst in all of baseball this season, most notably in their league-high 5.04 ERA. In terms of raw value, New York’s bullpen has accumulated just a 0.3 WAR rating, enough to rank seventh-worst among all Major League bullpens. Clearly, they need help.
While Rodriguez has been a shell of his former self this season, he could still provide stability and a veteran presence as the Mets’ closer. They could then move Frank Francisco to the setup role and have a formidable one-two punch late in games.
The only thing that will hold this deal up is Milwaukee’s asking price. They’re on the prowl for MLB-ready prospects, and the Mets don’t have a whole lot to speak of.
Baltimore Orioles “Going Hard” for Zack Greinke
Posted: Saturday, July 7 at 9:15 a.m. CT
In a year where he could virtually guarantee himself a Matt Cain-esque contract once he hits the open market this winter, Zack Greinke has been spectacular for Milwaukee.
In 17 starts this season, the 28-year-old free agent to-be boasts a 3.08 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, striking out nearly a batter per inning. In terms of raw value, Greinke holds true to the second-highest WAR (wins above a replacement-level player) rating among all big league starters at 3.5. Many teams were interested in acquiring him before the season, but it now seems as though every contender wants a piece of Greinke-fever.
As I wrote last week in a collaborate piece with a few other columnists here on B/R, the Braves, Yankees, Rangers, Red Sox and Blue Jays seemed like the most logical destinations for Greinke through a trade this summer. Since then, though, another team has reportedly joined the party.
According to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun, the Orioles appear to be “the most aggressive suitor for Greinke” at this juncture. The Orioles are still very much in contention in the AL East thanks to a surprise outburst from their offense, currently just five and a half games out of first place in the division.
Should the Orioles make a push for Greinke?
The Orioles came out of the gates in scorching fashion, receiving tremendous production from their rotation, bullpen and offense. However, they’ve witnessed a progressive decline in productivity across the board with each month. If this persists, they probably won’t have the stamina to keep up with the Yankees for the division lead.
Obviously, trading for Greinke seems like the ideal thing to do if you’re general manager Dan Duquette. Baltimore has a bevy of prospects they could deal to Milwaukee, potentially even shortstop Manny Machado. The key to this deal will be whether or not they think they can re-sign Greinke in the offseason. If they feel they can, then this deal looks like a perfect fit for both parties.
According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Atlanta Braves and the Baltimore Orioles are believed to be the frontrunners in the Zack Greinke sweepstakes as the July 31 trade deadline nears.
The Baltimore Orioles will make a run at Brewers star Zack Greinke, sources say, and some now believe the Orioles and Atlanta Braves loom as the most likely to land Greinke in trade.
Of course, it’s very early, so early Greinke isn’t even known to be available yet. The Brewers are likely to wait to see how they fair against division competition in the games following the All-Star break before deciding whether to sell, a source said.
How the Brewers’ first few series following the All-Star break turn out could ultimately decide their intentions with respect to Greinke this summer. They are currently eight games out of first place in the division with the first game of a three-game weekend set against the Houston Astros coming Friday night.
Stay tuned for more news and rumors surrounding Greinke in the subsequent hours.
According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Cardinals could have the potential to be a player in the Zack Greinke sweepstakes as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline nears. Though he remains unsure as to whether the Brewers would be willing to trade Greinke within the division, Rosenthal believes that returning to the state of Missouri — where he started his career with the Kansas City Royals — would be “particularly intriguing.
Here’s exactly what Rosenthal had to say:
Greinke, who began his career in Kansas City, would be particularly intriguing — he likely would welcome a trade to St. Louis and a chance to sign with the Cardinals long term. It is not known whether the Brewers would be willing to trade Greinke within the division, but they should be if the deal would work to their benefit.
Currently just two and a half games out of first place in the National League Central division, the Cardinals’ starting rotation has actually been one of the best in all of baseball this season. According to FanGraphs, St. Louis starters have combined for an 8.3 WAR (wins above replacement) rating, good enough for sixth-best among all Major League rotations and third-best among all those in the National League. Adding Greinke — who currently maintains the highest WAR rating (3.5) among all MLB starters — could be the ideal situation.
How could this deal be possible?
For starters, the Cardinals maintain a slew of prospects that could potentially lure Milwaukee into dealing Greinke much sooner than later. Baseball America ranked St. Louis’ system as the 10th-best among all minor-league systems. Leading the way are RHP Shelby Miller, third-baseman Zack Cox, and hot-hitting outfielder Oscar Taveras. It is not known whether or not the Cardinals would be willing to deal any of those players in return for Greinke.
Last week, I wrote a collaborative piece with a number of other columnists to see what the Brewers could get back should they deal Greinke. The Rangers, Blue Jays, Yankees, Braves and Red Sox seemed to be the front-runners in the sweepstakes, but if what Rosenthal just recently reported is found to be true, it could be the Cardinals who ultimately nab Greinke prior to or at the deadline.
As Major League Baseball’s annual July 31 non-waiver trade deadline draws nearer by the day, the Milwaukee Brewers continue to question whether or not they should become buyers or sellers come the final day of July. Currently treading water at 34-41, the Brewers haven’t been a complete disaster this season, however, they haven’t looked like a club destined for a postseason berth, either.
Easily the most pressing issue facing GM Doug Melvin and owner Mark Attanasio this summer is the trade status of Zack Greinke, who through the first half of the season has performed nothing short of Cy Young-worthy. His fabulous production this season will consequently offer tremendous trade value as the summer persists, and despite the numerous reports saying Milwaukee will opt not to trade him, you have to believe that if the Brewers continue to slip in the standings that they’ll have no other choice but to deal their ace.
If that’s the case, then the question obviously becomes: Which teams could be interested in trading for Greinke and what would they be willing to relinquish in order to attain his services?
I recently spoke with a few featured columnist on Bleacher Report in the hopes of sorting out a few potential deals that could go down as the trade deadline nears.
New York Yankees
Yankees Receive: Zack Greinke
Brewers Get: RHP Dellin Betances, SS Eduardo Nunez, OF Slade Heathcott, C Francisco Cervelli
Yankees FC Doug Rush‘s take:
With this trade, the Brewers would get a backup catcher who is MLB-ready, and a super utility infielder/outfielder who is also MLB ready with a bat. With Betances, they get the Yankees #2 prospect who, if he ever straightens out, can be very good. With Heathcott, they get a young outfielder they could use in maybe 2 years.
The Yankees just scouted Greinke’s latest start today. With the injuries to Sabathia and Pettitte, looking into Greinke makes a lot of sense.
My take: The news that the Yankees scouted Greinke in his last start shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone, as the immediate and distant futures of CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte are in deep question after suffering injuries. Needless to say, New York will need to add another guy to their rotation of Greinke’s caliber if they’re to stay atop the AL East.
If the Brewers aren’t able to lock up Greinke between now and the All-Star break, I think they’ll look to deal him away. Unfortunately for the Yankees, I think they’d rather keep him and run the risk of not signing him in the offseason that take this deal up. Betances’ monster 6’8″, 240-pound frame has a ton of potential as so does Nunez, but I don’t think Melvin will have much of an interest in Heathcott or Cervelli.
Chances this deal goes through: Not likely
Braves Receive: Zack Greinke
Brewers Receive: SS Tyler Pastronicky, RHP Todd Redmond, OF Jordan Parraz, RHP Zeke Spruill
Braves FC Chris Stephens‘ take:
With the loss of Brandon Beachy for the year, and possibly next year, the Braves are in dire need of starting pitching, especially considering the performances of Mike Minor and Randall Delgado thus far.
Greinke would be a great addition to the Braves rotation, but there could be a few snags – Greinke is a free agent after this year and will likely carry a high pricetage to re-sign. Because of that, giving up a bunch of talented prospects for Greinke will be hard to come by. The Braves definitely don’t want to get burned like they did in the Mark Teixeira trade, so they’re going to be careful here.
Prospects and/or other guys the Braves would consider relinquishing would be Triple-A Gwinnett’s SS Tyler Pastronicky, P Todd Redmond and/or OF Jordan Parraz, and Double-A Mississippi’s Zeke Spruill. Guys on the big-league team that could be considered are Anthony Vavarro and Jose Constanza. Obviously, not all of these guys will be involved in a trade, but they’re some of the ones I believe they’ll consider letting go. Julio Teheran, Evan Gattis, Todd Cunningham, Christian Bethancourt and Sean Gilmartin won’t be involved in my opinion.
My take: The loss of Brandon Beachy to Atlanta’s rotation was an unfortunate one, as he was in the midst of quite possibly a Cy Young-worthy season. Now, the Braves are stuck trying to decided whether or not Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens will be able to carry the load for their rotation for the remainder of the season.
If the Braves do decided to acquire a veteran power-arm before the deadline, Greinke will likely be atop their wish-list. Given that Atlanta’s farm system has a number of high-ceiling prospects, the Brewers could very well be enticed by a potential deal. Problem is, if the Braves aren’t willing to deal youngsters such as Julio Teheran or Christian Bethancourt, then I just don’t see a viable reason for Milwaukee to pull the trigger — the Brewers will be looking for at least one top-tier prospect in return for Greinke.
Chances this deal goes through: Not likely
Rangers Get: Zack Greinke
Brewers Get: 3B Mike Olt, RHP Neil Ramirez, RHP Justin Grimm
Rangers FC Lance Reaves‘ take:
Jurickson Profar and Martin Perez are probably the two most untouchable prospects in the Rangers organization. Their farm system is very pitching heavy. A starting pitcher that might satisfy the Brewers is 23-year-old Neil Ramirez, who is considered one of the team’s top prospects with a high upside. A guy who could be ready to contribute fairly soon is pitcher Justin Grimm. Another young player with a lot of promise is Mike Olt, a third baseman who is having a great season for the Rangers’ Double A affiliate.
However, even for a player of Greinke’s caliber, it’s very unlikely Texas would be willing to offer both Ramirez and Olt in a deal. Centerfielder Leonys Martin might also be mentioned, but that will have a lot to do with Josh Hamilton’s contract situation.
My take: While the Rangers are absolutely loaded in the bullpen, the injury to Colby Lewis (who was the only real strikeout threat featured in their rotation outside of Yu Darvish) was a wretched one for the AL West front-runners. They may have the ability to ward off the surging Los Angeles Angels for now, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they’re already in the works to upgrade their rotation — possibly through the acquisition of Greinke.
From the Brewers’ vantage point, anything short of annexing at least one top-caliber prospect through trading Greinke should be considered unrealistic at this juncture. As Lance mentioned, both Jurickson Profar and Martin Perez are all but untouchable. However, I do believe that Milwaukee would be tempted by the prospect of acquiring Mike Olt, who’s been nothing short of a slugger during his stay in the minors. Throwing in two arms that are fairly big-league ready such as Neil Ramirez and Justin Grimm might actually be enough to get something done.
Chances this deal goes through: Somewhat likely
Boston Red Sox
Red Sox Get: Zack Greinke
Brewers Get: RHP Anthony Ranaudo, SS Jose Iglesias, OF Jackie Bradley
Red Sox FC Benjamin Klein‘s take:
The Boston Red Sox starting rotation isn’t in the best shape. The starters have been inconsistent, injured or just flat out bad this season—with possibly the exception of Felix Doubront—but somehow they’re still in the playoff hunt. They really need a front-line starter badly and could be interested in Zack Greinke. Greinke will enter free agency at the end of the season so Boston GM Ben Cherington would have to be sure he could lock him up long-term if a deal were to happen.
If I’m Cherington, I’d be willing to give up three impact prospects from the minor league system—possibly Anthony Ranaudo, Jose Iglesias and Jackie Bradley. I would really have to make sure that Greinke had interest in a contract extension with the Red Sox before completing a deal, though.
My take: Similar to the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox starting rotation has suffered through injuries, and that unfortunate reality could be the incentive they need to try and complete a deal with Milwaukee in return for Greinke.
As with many teams that would love to annex Greinke through a trade, the problem is that Boston won’t part ways with the two top-tier prospects in their system. Shortstop Xandar Bogaerts and RHP Matt Barnes would be two of the names Melvin would love to add to his system, but the odds that Cherington parts ways with either are slim to none. Consequently, settling for a lesser prospect in Jose Iglesias or Anthony Ranaudo doesn’t seem like something Milwaukee would be interesting in doing.
For now, it looks as though the Red Sox and Brewers must look elsewhere to fulfill their needs.
Chances this deal goes through: Slim to none
Toronto Blue Jays
Blue Jays Get: Zack Greinke
Brewers Get: OF Anthony Gose, RHP Deck McGuire, RHP Chad Jenkins
Blue Jays FC Stephen Brown‘s take:
The Blue Jays have become desperate for starting pitching following the injuries to potential All-Star Brandon Morrow and youngsters Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison as well as the general ineffectiveness of Ricky Romero. If you take a look at their probably starters for their series against the Angels it includes Carlos Villanueva and Aaron Laffey two guys who were nowhere near the rotation at the beginning of the season.
Greinke would be a great asset for the Blue Jays and they have the assets to acquire him. There are some pieces that would most likely be untouchable (CF Anthony Gose, C Travis D’Arnaud, SP Noah Syndergaard) but there are also many plausible scenarios.
OF Travis Snider and Eric Thames are two of the main pieces that would be included in a trade. Neither are a top tier prospect anymore but definitely an extra piece that could be added.
The Jays have a glutton of SPs like Deck McGuire, Chad Jenkins that would have to be involved. Drabek’s injury makes him untradeable at this point but a young SP would most likely be the key piece.
My take: This deal makes a whole lot of sense, honestly. Not only does it satisfy Milwaukee’s need for at least one top prospect to go with a couple other average ones, but it doesn’t severely deplete a Blue Jays organization that many consider to be the most talent-laden farm systems in Major League Baseball.
Needless to say, Toronto needs help with their starting rotation. As Stephen mentioned earlier, injuries to both strikeout machine Brandon Morrow and Kyle Drabek — among others — has left their rotation destitute of a veteran, power-type arm. Greinke would certainly bring that to John Farrell’s club.
I believe this deal will hinge on the willingness of Toronto to include Anthony Gose. He’s a premier centerfield talent that the Brewers would jump all over if given the chance, as the Nyjer Morgan-Carlos Gomez experiment has failed epically this season and neither will be around for much longer.
Chances this deal goes through: Somewhat likely
Major League Baseball’s non-waiver claim trade deadline is still well over two months away, however, the Milwaukee Brewers — per usual — have wasted no time in vocalizing their needs and interests within the trade market.
After watching long-time first baseman Prince Fielder walk through free agency last January and grimacing at 26-year-old replacement first baseman Mat Gamel tear his ACL earlier this month, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin reportedly searched the free-agent market for a veteran first baseman to help provide depth. Reports indicated that Melvin contacted 37-year-old first baseman Derek Lee a few days back, though a potential contract never came to fruition.
Now, it seems Melvin could shift his attention to the trade market. MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds voiced his opinion about a move that could fix Milwaukee’s current situation at first-base. What he said was rather surprising.
Reynolds claimed that the Brewers should attempt to trade setup man Francisco Rodriguez for 33-year-old Boston Red Sox first-baseman/utility infielder Kevin Youkilis. The biggest question worth asking at this juncture is if such a deal is a legitimate possibility.
Rodriguez, who the Brewers acquired shortly after the All-Star Game last summer, has struggled considerably this season, posting a 5.28 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 15.1 innings of work. The least attractive part of his ineffectiveness, however, is that he’s due to receive $8 Million by the end of this season.
Many surmised that Milwaukee would intend on keeping Rodriguez throughout the 2012 season despite his hefty contract. Now that manager Ron Roenicke and company find themselves sitting at 14-18 through Saturday, second to last in the NL Central, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Melvin actively shopping his veteran setup man for a quality first-baseman — possibly even Youkilis.
Likewise with Milwaukee, the Boston Red Sox have looked nothing short of appalling thus far. Coming into Saturday’s action, Bobby Valentine’s crew boasted a 13-19 record good enough to place last in the highly-competitive American League East division.
Valentine has labored to keep clubhouse continuity and has moreover grappled with Youkilis on a few occasions. Youkilis has garnered a .219/.292/.344 line with just two home runs this season, and is due to make $13,000,000 by the end of 2012.
The promotion and palpable success of prospect third-base prospect Will Middlebrooks has taken away some of Youkilis’ playing time. Couple that with his distaste toward Valentine and a lofty contract, and it seems the writing could be on the wall for Youkilis. Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com certainly believes it.
Having said that, is a deal between these two needy clubs a possibility?
For the Brewers, who have already come out to say that they’re committed to winning this season. Owner Mark Attanasio had this to say to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy ealier this week:
“We’re only  games in,” he said. “It’s going to depend where we’re at, at that point in time. Look at where we were when we added CC. We were over .500, but we were several games back.”
The Brewers have a reputation for making big deadline deals (see C.C. Sabathia) and I highly doubt that their historical trade deadline aggressiveness will subside this season. Bringing in a veteran presence such as Youkilis could be the difference between making the postseason and watching at home.
For the Red Sox, who after losing longtime closer Jonathan Papelbon witnessed newly acquired closer Andrew Bailey go to the disabled list with an injured thumb, the need for an effective relief arm is clearly there.
Throw all that together, and a deal may not be as farfetched as originally thought.