When Will the Houston Astros Selling Shoe Drop?

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By: Melissa S. Wollering

Humor me for a hot stove moment. The Milwaukee Brewers have a ton of offensive issues. When the pitching is adequate (a rarity some weeks, yes) the bats don’t back it up. When the offense is on fire, the pitching might be as murky as the Menomonee River near the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

So if the Houston Astros start putting up the first signs advertising a summer garage sale in your neighborhood, is Milwaukee right to wheel and deal for a trade?  Would someone like Roy Oswalt make a significant difference or not? Should we look to our farm system instead? Is it too early for me to be asking any of these questions?

We have a long way to go before desperation sets in.  However, it’s never too early to consider one’s options. The Astros are going to start auctioning off veterans and semi-veterans like hogs and steers at a meat market. In exchange: Houston will want star-potential prospects on the verge of breakout 2011 seasons. Can’t say I blame them.

Let’s break down what the Milwaukee Brewers organization has to offer.  I’m not saying we WANT to offer these guys, but here’s what we have.

Zach Braddock

High Demand
Manny Parra or Chris Narveson would be juicy bites for teams looking to not only utilize a pitcher for the rest of the season, but gamble on him turning into gold next season. John Axford, Zach Braddock and Eric Arnett are also prospects worth major coin. In relief, Chris Smith could be put into the majors tomorrow and be ready having 12 saves—TWELVE SAVES—already this season down in Nashville.

Jonathan Lucroy

A Great Catch
This guy could get called up for the Milwaukee Brewers any day so we don’t want to surrender him, but Jonathan Lucroy looks lucrative beyond belief. He’s batting .324, looked fantastic in Spring Training and called some decent games from what I’ve seen so far. Considering we also have Angel Salome and Martin Maldonado among others in that position, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were more than willing to surrender a catcher.

Outstanding Support
In the outfield, Lorenzo Cain, Trent Oeltjen and Kentrail Davis (batting .346, 18H, 12RBI’s, .424 OBP) could all be serviceable and a great investment for future seasons. I am personally attached to the idea of Lorenzo becoming a franchise player for us however, so if they trade him I’ll vomit and cry. Hopefully not at the same time.

As you know, Lorenzo was the most accessible player at Spring Training, signing autographs for up to an hour after each game and literally giving away anything he could to make fans happy.  It was a girl’s birthday and he signed his bat and gave it to her after asking her boyfriend’s permission.  Oh yeah, he can also play centerfield quite well, drop a long fly right in the gap and run the bases like no one’s business. I would hold onto him, Brewers.

Lorenzo Cain

In Time, They’ll Produce
And bringing it in, Brett Lawrie, Luis Cruz, Adam Heether, Taylor Green and Steffan Wilson could spice up someone’s infield either now or later. Lawrie is working it at 2B for Huntsville and has 130 at bats already this season with 32 hits, 14 RBI’s and a fair .246 average. Heether in Nashville is putting up very similar numbers and was a go-to guy during Spring Training this year.

Taylor Green's Mom

Taylor Green's Mom & Me at Maryvale

Are any of these players/prospects worth Roy Oswalt? That depends on how you feel Gallardo, Wolf, Davis, Bush and Narveson are doing for us so far this season. And unless one of these five went in the trade, where exactly would you shuffle the odd-man-out to?

Roy is 2-4 with a 2.63 ERA, 48 innings pitched and 45K’s to his name this season. He’s consistently eating 6, 7 and 8 innings up. In contrast, Doug Davis seems to be pulling the least amount of weight in the rotation, going 1-4 with a 7.56 ERA, only 33.1 innings pitched and 28 earned runs surrendered.

I think the more realistic problem would be finding teams for pitchers we took a gamble on this season. If we started by shopping our bullpen instead (Vargas, Villanueva, Coffee) that might help free up space. But I’m not sure those relievers draw an ounce of interest from anyone. And if you traded Parra and put Narveson back into a relief position, or sent Narveson back down and brought up Chris Smith for the pen…well now I’m getting pretty far-fetched in my proposals.

What do you think should happen with Roy Oswalt, if anything? Half the battle is accepting that if we don’t take interest, another NL Central team will. Brewers fans, be ready to live with that scenario, more than any of the others I mention above.

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Comments

  1. Melissa,

    You are SO FREAKING GOOD with your knowledge of the Brewers’ minor league prospects.

    So far, Milwaukee’s pitching staff remains near the bottom in most relevant categories… 25th in ERA, 2nd-worst in home runs allowed, 4th-worst in hits allowed. Not much has changed from last year, really. Who’s having a career year? Right… nobody. And that bullpen… yikes.

    Adding Oswalt would help, but the Brewers aren’t just one or two players short of making a run for the Central title. They’re about three or four players short. With the inevitable Prince Fielder blockbuster deal coming in six months or less, my bet would be that Melvin is setting up for a major overhaul which (in addition to Fielder) could include virtually any player(s) other than Braun. So aside from a #8 jersey, I wouldn’t spend much money on Brewers gear at this point.

    There’s a lot of dead weight on this team… Suppan, Counsell, Davis, Parra, Stetter, Vargas, Villanueva, Zaun, Edmunds, and dare I say it — Hoffman. I love the idea of picking up Oswalt, but only if some of the other roster albatrosses are cut loose first.

    Just my $.02.

  2. Melissa W. says

    And an excellent two cents they are Drew! Love it!

    You’re spot on about our 4+ players away from a team, not just one. Oswalt is not a bandaid that can fix anything. We’re bleeding from multiple wounds.

    The dead weight is funny. I’d love to do a piece on dead weight and their collective ruin that’s dragging one team down. Their combined stats would make a fan weep. So maybe I’d better not. But sure is a valid point, Drew! Come back often and comment my friend!

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