MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that the Brewers are willing to listen on Prince Fielder. The idea of trading him would be for multiple reasons.
- It would clear salary so they could go get some pitching via free agency.
- It would open up a spot for top prospect Mat Gamel.
- It could bring back a quality starting pitcher to replace CC Sabathia with.
These reasons all point toward trading Fielder, but you never want to lose one of the best first baseman in the MLB. Apparently he is available, however. There should be several teams interested. I did a player market for Fielder here. The asking price remains a good, young starting pitcher. It would take a lot to get the Prince out of Milwaukee, but it definatly could happen.
With only four good closer options on the free agent market: Francisco Rodriguez, Brian Fuentes, Kerry Wood, and Trevor Hoffman, and with the latter two likely to resign, some teams might be looking to make trades to fill a closer position rather than free agents. The Indians, Angels, Cardinals, Brewers, Tigers, and Mets are the other teams in search of a closer. The closers available could be BJ Ryan, George Sherrill, Huston Street, and Kevin Gregg. Ryan will not cost many prospects because of his salary, Gregg should be fairly cheap, and Street and Sherrill are signed cheaply but will need good prospects. Teams with large pockets like the Mets and Angels could consider Ryan a better option than Brian Fuentes because Ryan will have a shorter term. The Tigers would probably target Gregg because he’ll come cheap. The Brewers, Indians, and Cardinals will probably look into Sherrill and Street. If the Cards miss out on better middle infield options, then they might trade for Ryan. They’d still have 10 million to spend on cheaper middle infield options. The Oriols will probably target a young shortstop in a Sherrill trade, much like they did at the trade deadline. I don’t see the A’s trading Street unless they get a good left-side-of-the-infield player or just get a great offer. One possible idea is Street to the Cardinals for Bryan Anderson, then the A’s trade Kurt Suzuki to a team in need of a catcher for a shortstop or third baseman. Example: the Marlins with a pitcher for Matt Dominguez. Another idea would be to package Street with Justin Duchscherer to the Brewers to get either Mat Gamel or Alcidies Escobar. There are several possibilities. Who knows, we might even see a different team jump in.
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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.