The Brewers have made one trade prior to the July 31 deadline so far, and all indications are that they are likely to deal further. One player that might move is Adam Lind and, as it happens, the St. Louis Cardinals have had discussions with the Brewers recently about the first baseman according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
With Matt Adams likely out for the season after tearing his quadriceps, the Cardinals have primarily used Mark Reynolds at first base. Reynolds, who played for Milwaukee in 2014, started off the year well but has hit just ..213/.306/.393 since the start of June and has struck out in a third of his at-bats. St. Louis recently called up outfield prospect Stephen Piscotty to potentially see some time at the position if another solution isn't found.
Lind, meanwhile, is perhaps one of the best hitters available on the trade market. He's in the middle of his best season since 2009 due in large part to a resurgence of his power: Lind hit just six home runs in 96 games last year due partially to injuries, but has slugged 16 homers this season already with a .285/.365/.500 batting line.
For the Cardinals, Lind also might be preferable because there is no long-term commitment needed for him. He's signed through this year, then has a team option worth $8 million with just a $500,000 buyout for 2016. If St. Louis wants to stick with Adams, they can let Lind go after this year or they can exercise what's looking like a very reasonably priced option if they were to like what they see over the next couple of months.
It's hard to pinpoint what the return on Lind would look like, in reasonably specific terms. His option lends added value and he's recouped a lot of his former worth with a strong performance at the plate this season after a couple of weaker, injury-streaked seasons. The Brewers only needed to trade Marco Estrada to acquire him from the Blue Jay; it seems likely they'll see a bigger return than that if they deal him now.
However, injuries are still a concern with Lind. He just recently tweaked his back, which may cause some concern. The Cardinals also have some leverage in that they don't need Lind to succeed, though they'd be better off with him. St. Louis has been dominating all year en route to the best record in baseball, so they may be more stringent on what they'll offer knowing they can win without Lind.
All that said, the Brewers are well-served by the market for hitters this year:
Exec on market: "If you’ve got a hitter, you’ve got gold. If you’ve got a pitcher, you’ve got a hot potato." Surplus of pitchers available.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 25, 2015
There just aren't a lot of hitters known to truly be available, so players like Lind (and Carlos Gomez) who can be middle-of-the-order bats could bring back a good return before this year's trade deadline.
The Cardinals have one of the strongest farm systems in baseball, so there's certainly something that could get a deal done. As always, though, both sides would need to negotiate to what they feel is fair value both ways. We'll see if that can happen with the deadline just a few days away.