It was obvious after the first inning of opening day that the Milwaukee Brewers would be sellers at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Indeed, the Brewers made a series of moves last week that set the foundation for a wholesale rebuild.
The biggest deal involved trading Carlos Gomez – a player a certain sportswriter argued the Brewers should keep – and Mike Fiers to the surging Houston Astros for four prospects. The players Milwaukee received include two Top 100 prospects – outfielders Brett Phillips (39) and Domingo Santana (87) – and pitchers Adrian Houser and Josh Hader. The centerpiece of this return is the 21-year old Phillips, who is hitting .317/.374/.543 in the minors this season. Phillips is now the Brewers’ #2 prospect behind shortstop Orlando Arcia.
As expected, the Brewers also traded free-agent-to-be Gerardo Parra to the Baltimore Orioles for 22-year old pitching prospect Zach Davies. Known for his slight 6 feet, 150 pound frame, Davies nevertheless has a 2.84 ERA in 101.1 Innings of AAA ball this year. He projects to be a 3/4 starter in the majors, which is a solid return for a two month rental like Parra.
The Brewers also traded Jonathan Broxton to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder Malik Collymore. Collymore is not a highly touted prospect, so this trade was mostly a salary dump. Broxton struggled with the Brewers this season, posting a 5.89 ERA in 36.2 innings with the Crew. However, expect #CardinalsDevilMagic to turn him into Mariano Rivera for the rest of the season.
As shown by the Chicago Cubs just completing a four-game sweep at Miller Park, the rest of the 2015 does not project to be very fun. Only the most hardcore Brewers fans will refrain from counting the days until football season. Even so, these were necessary moves that have the rebuilding process off to an encouraging start.