It seems likely that the Brewers trade one of Prince Fielder or JJ Hardy in the offseason for a starting pitcher. They keep both, however. I know that Alcidies Escobar is knocking in the door, but Hardy could be moved to third with Escobar taking shortstop. Bill Hall would be dealt in this situation. The Brewers would have to throw in some money, but I think a team like the Twins might be willing to take a chance on him. The Giants had previous interest last year. Mat Gamel would still be blocked, so Fielder could still be moved in this scenerio. They might have to trade Fielder or Hardy because it may be the only way to get some pitching. They could always sign a starter, but it doesn’t seem like they want to make a mistake the way they did with Jeff Suppan. Then again the Brew-Crew might decide to just keep the extra hitting and rely on pitchers like Dave Bush and Seth McLung. Either way it’s going to be tough to get back to the playoffs next year no matter what they do.
It is possible that the Brewers look to trade Prince Fielder in the offseason. Lets see what team they can get a good pitcher from.
Brewers (frontrunners) I think it’s more likely that they decide to trade JJ Hardy instead. There will be a bigger market for Hardy, they wouldn’t be losing as much offense, and the Brewers could get almost as good a pitcher for Hardy as they could get for Fielder. All in all, Fielder will likely be kept.
Giants (possible) Could a Matt Cain for Prince Fielder trade work? I don’t know if either team would do it. I think it has a slight edge toward the Brewers because Cain is so cheap and far better than any starter they could get for Hardy. The Giants could make that trade, but might not unless they add Sabathia. It might make more sense for them to keep Cain and then trade a different pitcher for a first baseman like Adam LaRoche or Mike Jacobs.
Royals (possible) They could offer Zack Greinke for Fielder. I don’t know if the Brewers would accept this one, because Greinke has one less year under contract than Cain. Maybe the Royals could add a player like Ron Mahay or David DeJesus to finish the deal. I think this scenerio is more likely. The Royals would like to add a big bat to their lineup, and could sign a starter like Oliver Perez or Jon Garland to replace Greinke.
Rays (possible) The Rays need a DH, and want to inject a big power bat into their lineup, but the player has to be under control for more than one year. So Prince Fielder would make more sense than Matt Holliday. The Rays could put together a package of prospects as good as if not better than most teams. If the Brewers demand a proven starter, they could part with Matt Garza. Yes, he has been great for them this year, but then they could keep both Edwin Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine. Plus, if Price steps up they won’t lose much from the rotation. I think this would be a move the Rays have to do. The Brewers would make the trade also, unless Jeremy Guthrie, Matt Cain, or maybe Zack Greinke is offered. If they can get him without surrendering Garza, they could offer Wade Davis, Edwin Jackson, and either Grant Balfour or JP Howell. The Brewers get a solid closer, a good prospect, and a solid back-of-the-rotation starter. Either one of these deals would be good for the Rays in my opinion.
Orioles (not likely) It’s not likely, but the Oriols could enter the Prince Fielder sweepstakes. They could offer a package centered around Jeremy Guthrie. He by himself could get him. I don’t know if they should offer him, though. The Brewers would jump on the deal. If the O’s don’t give up Guthrie, then they could try an offer of Brian Roberts, George Sherrill, and Melvin Mora plus cash. The Brewers would be filling three holes, yet they lose offensive firepower and don’t fix the rotation.
Angels (not likely) If they miss out on Mark Teixera, I could definatly see it. They could center a deal around Nick Adenhart, or even Jered Weaver. If they add Brandon Wood to the trade, it might be enough. I think I would do a Jered Weaver plus Brandon Wood for Prince awap. It makes sense for both sides. Sean Rodriguez could also be added to finish off the trade. Chone Figgins could be part of the deal, too, and play center field in Milwaukee.
Yankees (not likely) They would love to add a young power bat like Prince, but they might not have the pieces to do it. Maybe if they offered Phil Hughes and Austin Jackson something could be worked out. Like with Jake Peavy, it would be smarter just to spend the extra money and sign Mark Teixera. When you have a 200 million payroll, you can’t be cheap.
A’s (dark horse) The A’s have all the pitching in the world to spare. They are in need of a first base/DH type, and most of all they need power. How about a package of Huston Street, Brett Anderson or Gio Gonzalez, and Justin Duchscherer. The Brewers add a good starter, a good pitching prospect, and a good closer. I like this deal a lot for both teams, but I’m not sure the A’s would want to trade away a young gun like Anderson or Gio. Plus, they would miss Doosh, especially if they are trying to compete next year which a Fielder trade would suggest.
Is it possible the Brewers would consider trading Prince Fielder this offseason? I don’t think he’ll be traded, but could be shopped around for the right arm. There is only one destination I think he could possibly go: San Francisco. If the Giants would trade Matt Cain, which I said they could consider here, then there could be a match. The Brewers would love to get their hands on Cain, whom is signed at 13.15 million through 2011 (assuming the 6.25 million option for ’11 gets picked up). So, he’s dirt cheap. Fielder’s salary is on the rise, however. He is arbitration eligible for the first time next year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got more than the 10 million Ryan Howard got last year to set a new arb. record. Fielder is a better player than Cain, but because of salaries and position scarcity, the Giants may value Cain more than Prince. That doesn’t mean the Brewers would love the trade, either. This may be one of the few trades where neither team would accept. It could possibly work, especially if the Giants can lure CC Sabathia to San Fran. The Brewers may be forced into making the trade if they can’t find a good match for JJ Hardy. But, if the Giants get a great offer for Jonathan Sanchez, then they probably wouldn’t do it. I doubt the Brewers trade both Fielder and Hardy, probably only one. Same goes for Cain and Sanchez, only one. This is a trade that could happen under the right circumstances.
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The Milwaukee Brewers are probably not going to be as good in 2009 as they were in 2008. Their top two starters: CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets are both free agents. They have a few holes. They need one arm in the rotation, and one or two in the bullpen, as well as a center fielder. They have a good trade chip in JJ Hardy and could possibly entertain trading Prince Fielder. They need to open up spots for top prospects Alcidies Escobar and Mat Gamel. Hardy is more likely to be dealt because his bat would be easier to replace than Fielder’s. Plus, a lot of other good first baseman could be on the market with Mike Jacobs and Ryan Howard in trades and Mark Teixera and Jason Giambi on the free agent market. There should be a huge market for Hardy, with only two above average shortstops avalable via free agency. I have previously said that JJ Hardy for Nick Blackburn would make sense, and I still believe that. Another possibility is Hardy to the Oriols for George Sherrill and Daniel Cabrera. Or to the Blue Jays for maybe Shaun Marcum or Dustin McGowen. The Brewers could always add a piece to make it work. To the Royals for David DeJesus or Ran Mahay and a piece. To the A’s for one of their several pitching prospects. Or maybe for Huston Street instead. To the Giants for Jonathan Sanchez. Or the Dodgers for Scott Elbert or Justin McGownen and a bullpen piece. There are many options. They should pick up the option on Mike Cameron. 10 million is a lot for him, but they have a lot of money to burn and could afford him. I think they’ll spend a lot of money on their bullpen as well. Although, they did that last year and it didn’t work. They could look into resigning Sheets, but Sabathia has no chance of coming back. If they resign Sheets they could be just as good as they were last year, with Yovani Gallardo coming back from injury. The Brewers can still be a very good team in ’09, probably just not as good as they were in ’08.
The Minnesota Twins, a very surprising team this year, are going to have a far different offseason this year compared to last. Last year, they traded off Johan Santana and let Torri Hunter walk as a free agent. This year, they’re more likely to buy. They don’t have many needs, and are one of the very few teams with a starting pitching surplus. They need to add a power hitter at shortstop or third base, as well as a reliever. Getting Pat Neshek back will help. They could also resign Eddie Guardado. That would solidify their bullpen. For shortstop and third base, they seem certain to trade a starter for this in the offseason. Preferably a one with power. I have suggested before that they trade Nick Blackburn for JJ Hardy. I still think that makes a lot of sense. Another possible trade is Blackburn, or maybe if they’re luckey Kevin Slowey, for Garret Atkins. The Rockies seem certain to trade Atkins or Holliday, and they want pitching in return. Blackburn or Slowey would fit the bill. After they move a pitcher, they can move Kevin Mulvey into the rotation. They could also get a smaller piece like trade for Hank Blalock or sign a guy like David Eckstein. This team has the potential to be a great team, they just have to get some offense.
I think in the offseason, a JJ Hardy for Nick Blackburn trade would make a lot of sense. It is certain that the Brewers will shop Hardy in the offseason to make room for Alcidies Escobar, and would probably want pitching in return. The Twins would likely be in the market for shortstop, like many other teams. Loosing a #3 starter like Blackburn would hurt the Twins, but they have a lot of pitching depth. They could easily replace Blackburn with Kevin Mulvey, or maybe giving Boof Bonser another chance. Hardy would be a big bat that could hit second in the lineup. The Brewers would solve their starting pitching problems, with Blackburn and Yovani Gallardo replacing Ben Sheets and CC Sabathia. They could use the rest of their money to get some bullpen help.