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Huston Street trade reminds us that relievers are costly

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Street is headed to the Angels for 4 prospects. It makes sense for them, but the Brewers don't need to making this type of deal.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Angels made a win-now move by acquiring Huston Street from the Padres for 4 prospects. The Angels are good, in position to make the playoffs, and could use help at the back end of the bullpen. They are not unlike the Brewers, or many of the other teams in contention. Our SB Nation Angels blog seems happy about the move. Quoting here:

None of these four players were on any Top 100 Prospects List. Huston Street was a deserving All Star. The Angels are in Win Now mode.

Street is an elite reliever and the Angels can bring him back next season as well. But it's worth thinking about what kind of players the Angels had to give up to acquire him. The threshold above for a prospect that's not worth worrying about too much is "not in the top 100". The only Brewer prospect who has been in those top 100 conversations over the past year has been Jimmy Nelson, and he's now a member of the big league ballclub.

What all this means is that even if Street was the most valuable reliever available on the trade market, the price is more than 1 prospect somewhere near that top 100 window. For most teams that's looking at their 4th and 5th best prospects. Though the Brewer system has made a lot of strides, and this year's draft class really re-stocked high upside low level guys, the Brewers would probably have to throw their 3 best prospects in the system together to be in the mix for a high-profile reliever.

I have always been a huge believer in being aggressive at the trade deadline when your team is in contention. The goal of a baseball team is to win a championship. Having a great team every year and giving your team a shot at the crapshoot that is the MLB playoffs is the best way to do that, but every other team is also trying to do this as well. Assuming a reasonably constant inflow of talent from the draft, the best way to make use of the limited resources is in fact to embrace the boom and bust cycle. A team could be above-average at talent acquisition and as a result wins 84 games a year, or they could periodically trade some of their low-level talent to field a better team and then maybe spend a few years out of contention and restocking.

I really, really don't like the idea of giving up the entire top end of the system for one of those back end guys. If Melvin can pull off a sneaky deal for few assets (like the K-Rod one) to solidify the back end of the bullpen, I'm all for it. But something like the Angels/Padres Street trade doesn't make sense for this team at this time. And if the Brewers are willing to package essentially all of their minor league talent that wasn't drafted this June for a rental? Then let's gun for David Price. And if not, fix the bench and ride with the team as currently assembled.

Edit: Beyond the Box Score with a much closer look at the prospects involved.