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Brewers Trade Assets: Prospect Depth

The Brewers want to accumulate prospects, not unload them. But sometimes you have to give a little to get a little. And dealing from an area of depth to address a hole does make sense.

Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

So far this series has focused on major league trade assets. The point of which was to illustrate the Brewers ability to acquire young talent, which usually takes the form of prospects. So on first glance it seems counter intuitive to suggest the Brewers might trade their own prospects. Especially since David Stearns mantra since the moment he took over as Brewers GM has been to acquire, develop, and keep young talent.

But we already have one example to point to that shows how the Brewers might benefit from trading prospects. A couple weeks ago David Stearns sent minor league pitcher Cy Sneed to Houston for shortstop Jonathan Villar. A couple of years ago I never would have imagined I'd say something like this but, the Brewers are actually pretty deep in pitching prospects right now.

So by dealing Sneed--a fringe starting candidate and likely reliever--Stearns was dealing from an area of depth. It's true that Villar technically adds to an already existing area of depth--MLB ready middle infield--but he's an upgrade over Elian Herrera--now a free agent--and Yadiel Rivera. He's probably better than Scooter Gennett too. So even though that might be an area of depth it was improving the top end of that depth. And it also makes those others mentioned expendable--see the Luis Sardinas trade.

But the trade return for Sneed isn't important. It just shows how a team like the Brewers can use prospect depth to improve. And they don't necessarily have to be done dealing from that depth. The Brewers currently have 5 likely fits for the major league rotation in Jimmy Nelson, Wily Peralta, Taylor Jungmann, Zach Davies, and Matt Garza. Each is under control for several years yet.

With Jorge Lopez and Josh Hader knocking on the door the Brewers actually might find themselves in a position to deal some more pitching. Ty Wagner, Adrian Houser, Tyler Cravy, Ariel Pena, and Wei-Chung Wang could prove enticing as a secondary piece in a larger trade.

In addition to being deep in pitching and middle infielders, they're deep in outfielders. That might actually be their deepest position. Top outfield prospect Brett Phillips is about as untouchable as it gets. I assume it's the same with Domingo Santana. But players like Tyrone Taylor, Michael Reed, Kyle Wren, and Clint Coulter could be available in the right deal.

Tyrone Taylor had a poor season offensively, but he was still young for AA. Defensively he's still above average in center field. While his value did take a hit he still has average regular potential in center field. That's not to be taken lightly. The thing is, if he plays for the Brewers he'll likely be a corner outfielder or fourth outfielder as he's blocked in center by Brett Phillips and the corners by Khris Davis, Ryan Braun, and Domingo Santana. Therefore he might be more valuable to another team.

As a corner outfielder he might be blocked by Michael Reed as well. Reed isn't as good defensively but he's shown a lot more offensive potential. Since the corners are less demanding defensively Reed might be a more attractive corner option or fourth outfielder for someone light in that area. With the Brewers he too might be blocked by Khris Davis, Ryan Braun, and Domingo Santana.

Clint Coulter is a divisive prospect. Some see a high offensive ceiling. Others see a prospect without a clear defensive home and holes in his swing. He's still young though and he possess plus raw power. It's just a matter of getting to it in game. He probably doesn't fit in the Brewers outfield at any point but he might fit as a first baseman which is an area of need. But that puts even more pressure on his bat. It might be he holds more value to the Brewers as part of a trade.

I'm by no means suggesting the Brewers should start unloading prospects wholesale. Of course they shouldn't. But they have some areas of need, specifically at third base. If they need to include a prospect from an area of depth to get that third baseman--or a general improvement--then it could be worth it.