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One More Once

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I feel like I've been talking about this, on and off the site, since about February, but now we're a week away from the trade deadline and there isn't much Brewers-related news.  There are bound to be more rumors cropping up, so let's think about what it is Moustache might try to do.  

Zel123 compiled a list of players who may be available; that's a great place to start.  I tend to start my analysis with ~our~ team, and where we might plug a hole.  After all, the best player available on the market this July may be Mark Teixeira, but I'm going to take a wild guess and say we're not getting in on that.

First off, most rumors lately have centered around outfielders.  I don't quite get it.  At their respective positions, Hart, Hall, and Jenkins are all above average, and Mench has hit better of late.  Not only that, but the likely replacement would go in left, and we'd give up some defense benching Jenkins in favor of Jermaine Dye or Adam Dunn.  (Or just about any other corner outfielder in the game.)  Sure, we could get a little better, but the key words are "a little."  It would take a serious bounty to get a player of that caliber, and it wouldn't do us much good.

The same can be said about the rest of the offense.  Sure, you could improve on our second base situation in theory, but with what?  Mark Loretta?  I'll pass.

That leaves us with pitching.  It alarms me a bit that some of you are so willing to swap Turnbow for anything else.  Sure, D-Bow isn't great, and yes, Villy could become our setup man.  But if we traded Turnbow, Spurling would move from our 6th best reliever to our 5th best, Balfour would move from worst to second worst, and we'd have to call up somebody else (Joe Thatcher?  Steve Bray?) to add to the pen.  Villy may be better than Turnbow, but that #7 guy most certainly is not.  (And you KNOW that Ned will put that guy into positions he shouldn't be in, so you can't say he'll only get garbage innings.)

Instead, if we're going to alter the pitching staff, we need to add parts, not take them away.  The obvious fix for months has been another setup-type guy, a Scott Linebrink/Aki Otsuka who could take over 8th inning duties and move everybody else down one spot on the depth chart.  I'd still like to do that, though with Otsuka recovering, I'm not sure there's a great guy out there to fill that spot.  Personally, I'd keep calling Jon Daniels, see if I can get the medical reports on Otsuka, and if it appears he'll be fine by, say, August 15th, I'd do the deal anyway.  After all, trading for him isn't just a rental; he'd be under team control through 2009.

What hasn't been obvious for months is that it would be nice to get another starter.  With Sheets out until (at least) September, we're back in the situation that we hoped Gallardo would get us out of: Vargas and Bush both pitching every fifth day.  
Maybe Manny Parra will wow us on Saturday.  I suspect that he's getting the start instead of Villy so that we can find out before the deadline whether we can trust him as a 6th starter.  But if he doesn't, it's an awful thin rotation, especially if Sheets doesn't return, or returns at less than 100%.

I doubt we want to spend the prospects it would take to get someone like Dontrelle or Roy Oswalt (if indeed they are available), and I think any mediocre NL starter isn't worth doing the deal; somebody like Matt Morris might not be better than Bush or Vargas for the rest of the year.  I'd be willing to give up, say, Vargas and a prospect for one of the White Sox starters; Kenny Williams might go for the opportunity to get younger while also acquiring a known quantity.  

But on the whole, I'm underwhelmed by the available crop; I can only hope Melvin uncovers something great like he did last year.  Remember that last year, nobody was talking about Cordero being on the block, yet he will probably turn out to be the biggest impact acquisition of the 2006 deadline season.  As has been the case since before the campaign began, we've got a good team, good enough to win the division without help.  The flip side of that is that there aren't a lot of replacements out there that would help anyway...and right now, I'd like to see this team get stronger.