The non-waiver trade deadline was an exciting one for Brewers fans ready for a change of pace. Carlos Gomez, Mike Fiers, Gerardo Parra, Jonathan Broxton, and Aramis Ramirez were all traded. But some players remained despite being available and in some cases despite having a seemingly robust market. But the trade season is not over yet.
Trades can be made in August if a player is put on revocable waivers. One of two things will then happen. Either that player will be claimed by another team or that player will pass through waivers. If the player passes through waivers then he can be traded to any team like normal.
If he is claimed then he can only be traded to the team awarded waiver priority. Waiver priority goes in reverse order of record starting with the league that player is currently a part of. In the case of Brewers players, National League clubs will get first dibs. If no one in the NL puts a claim on a Brewers player then American League teams will have a chance.
One thing to remember: Most if not all players will be put on waivers in August. You are probably going hear something about a Brewers player being put on waivers. It does not necessarily mean they're going to be traded or that the Brewers are even trying to trade that player.
There is no penalty to putting players on waivers. If a trade agreement cannot be reached or if the team never really intended to trade a player they can just pull him off waivers. However if a team does that and then puts that player on waivers again he can no longer be pulled back.
The Brewers have a number of players that have waiver trade potential. One or two stand a good chance of being traded. Others are less likely. But even if they aren't traded now the Brewers can get valuable information. They can see which teams are interested in that player. They can also get a dialogue started which could result in an offseason trade.
Let's take a look at the possible Brewers waiver trade candidates:
Neal Cotts - RP
Neal Cotts has had a decent if somewhat uneven season. He started out poorly but on the season has a 25.0 K%, 8.7 BB%, .237 BAA, 1.27 WHIP, 3.51 ERA, and 4.38 FIP. He's had some strange splits over his career but this year he is dominating lefties: 30.6 K%, 4.2 BB%, 0.84 WHIP, 3.30 FIP.
I was mildly surprised Cotts wasn't moved by the July 31 deadline. Left-handed pitchers are usually in demand and Cotts only makes a prorated portion of $3 million the rest of this year. I think the chances are still very good the Brewers move him by August 31. Even if they get nothing in return but salary relief there is no reason to keep him around.
Francisco Rodriguez - RP
I was less surprised K-Rod wasn't moved. While he's having an excellent season a team that traded for him would be on the hook for $7.5 million next year and at least $2 million for the buyout on his 2017 team option. His contract actually isn't that expensive when you compare him to some other players in similar roles. Jonathan Papelbon was traded and he makes way more this year ($13 M) and next year ($11 M). But it's still a commitment through next season which might deter some clubs.
I think Francisco Rodriguez's history of domestic violence (1, 2) has a lot to do with his not being moved. The climate has changed in recent months with Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson being big news stories in the last offseason. Don't think for a second MLB didn't notice the public outrage. They're working on changing their policy on domestic violence. Even though Francisco Rodriguez's incidents when under-reported when they happened and teams still signed and traded for him afterwards, that doesn't mean teams are still going to ignore them.
That said I don't believe it's impossible for the Brewers move him. He is having a very good year: 29.6 K%, 6.7 BB%, .167 BAA, 0.83 WHIP, 0.50 HR/9, 1.50 ERA, 2.34 FIP. He'll probably be the best reliever available in August. Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman weren't moved at the deadline but deals for them figure to be rather large. It's more likely they get moved in the offseason.
Kyle Lohse - SP
Kyle Lohse has been terrible this year. It's really unfortunate because he was excellent in his first two seasons with the Brewers. He has an ERA over 6 and has given up all the home runs. It's hard to see a team motivated to acquire him. He'll pass through waivers though and the Brewers will be very motivated to move him.
I think the chances he's moved are very slim but I would not be surprised if it happened. One season the Brewers traded for Livan Hernandez and Yorvit Torrealba. They didn't get those players because they were good. They got them because they wanted someone to cover innings and in the case of Torrealba it allowed them to use their catchers as pinch hitters more liberally.
A team might see Lohse as someone they can count on for 6 innings every five or six days that will help keep their better arms fresh for the playoffs. A club might even think they can fix him. His HR/9 and BAA are awful, but the rest of his peripherals are pretty much normal. Let's not forget the Cardinals just gave the Brewers a lottery ticket and $2 million in salary relief for Jonathan Broxton.
Matt Garza - SP
Garza is having a slightly less awful season than Lohse. His ERA is only over 5. But he does have a sub-5 FIP! However with 2 more guaranteed seasons and a vesting option I think it's incredibly unlikely he gets moved in August. I wouldn't rule out an offseason trade for Garza. If he can re-establish himself in the final two months of the season someone might talk themselves into him.
Adam Lind - 1B
Here is another player I'm somewhat surprised wasn't moved. Lind is hitting 278/356/485 (129 wRC+) with 16 home runs. He's having one the best season of his career and proving that he can still play the field on a full time basis. There seemed to be a market for him too.
Although two of the teams that could have used him were in-division (Cardinals and Pirates). The Pirates did nothing to improve their first base situation. The Cardinals gave up a solid prospect for the terrible production of Brandon Moss. It's really curious. I wonder if perhaps those clubs were reluctant to give their rival assets that could improve them for the long term.
Two other teams that seemed like fits were the Astros and Angels. The Angels don't have much of a farm system and they did a lot to upgrade their outfield with marginal pieces. It seems likely they just didn't have enough to get a deal done. The Astros made some pretty big upgrades not the least of which was to get SUPERSTAR Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers. Their farm system is still deep but they might feel like they've done enough.
An interesting team that wasn't mentioned much are the Nationals. They're getting dreadful production out of their first base position (-1.1 fWAR, 28th in MLB). It's fun to mock the Mets for their ineptitude but they did a solid job of upgrading their team. The Nationals are just one game ahead of them as of this writing. They might be feeling the heat.
I have no idea what the chances are the Brewers move Lind. Since he's an effective player making little money this year with a cheap team option next year I think there is a reasonable chance he does not pass through waivers. A team could claim him simply to block another team like the Nationals from getting him. They'd risk little as they could trade him in the offseason or in the worse case just exercise his $0.5 M buyout.
There is also the chance the Brewers just don't want to move him. I'm not sure I believe that though. I think it's hard to make an argument the Brewers were willing to move Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers but drew the line at Adam Lind. I think it's more likely they set the asking price rather high, rightfully so, and refused to do anyone any favors by selling low. Personally I endorse the strategy. They can move him in August or in the winter and theoretically not lose much leverage or value.
I'm not sure what to expect in August but I'd be surprised if no one was traded. Although Neal Cotts is the only guy I think has a strong chance to be moved. I'd put slim to moderate on everyone else. If no one wants to meet the asking price for K-Rod or Lind then the Brewers might as well hang onto them. They can explore trades again in the offseason or next deadline.
Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs