Yesterday saw an uptick in interest about the Indians and Brewers becoming trade partners, as Kyle describes here. Of course, others had differing opinions, and while Jordan Bastian of MLB.com doesn't deny than talks are ongoing, neither does he sound convinced that something will be worked out.
My guess is that Brewers' GM David Stearns is going to hold out for a trade that brings a significant return for his assets, and that this deal isn't nearly enough. My second guess, as I've said before, is that Stearns will hold on to Luc for the rest of the season rather than deal him now for less than he deems desirable, whether with the Indians, the Rangers, or somebody else.
This brings me back to the Red Sox. Some things haven't changed for them; their catching crew is still just a step above the Indians (well, OK. Two or three steps); their starting pitching looks OK for the offense they have; and despite recent trades they have a well-stocked system to make additions to their roster, as Ben Buchanan of "Over the Monster" describes in this piece.
What has changed is that their bullpen is in rough shape right now. Craig Kimbrel had surgery to repair a torn meniscus on July 10th, and was forecast to miss 3-6 weeks. Then, Koji Uehara joined Kimbrel on the DL, as Buchanan reports.
It is worth noting that Uehara is 41 years old, and that the strained pectoral muscle injury he suffered can be a lingering one. And if Kimbrel is out closer to six weeks, they will be stuck with recently acquired Brad Ziegler as their closer. That may work out, but it is a real risk. Buchanan, for one, feels that things aren't all that dire.
(By the way, a shout-out to Buchanan for making it easy for me to find so much relevant information in one spot.)
I don't know that Dave Dombrowski shares Buchanan's confidence, though. The Red Sox score lots of runs, and the addition of Drew Pomeranz solidifies the rotation (although Pomeranz got touched up a bit last night in his Red Sox debut). But the loss of the two solid closers means that lesser arms move into the set-up roles, and bad things happen in that situation.
All of which means that the same players of interest to the Indians and Rangers have attributes very attractive to the Red Sox. Jonathon Lucroy, Will Smith, and Jeremy Jeffress all would fit very nicely into the Red Sox drive for a World Series berth...just like they would the other two teams.
This might mean that the Red Sox would have more interest in Jeffress, with his closer's experience and success this year, than Smith. A lefty does make sense for them, too (what team doesn't like good lefthanded arms in the pen), but it is also possible that other teams (like the Red Sox) might be concerned about Smith's knee. Do the Red Sox value another arm in the pen? Hard to tell, but they can certainly afford one if they do, and the Brewers have them available.
What interests me is that four of the Red Sox top thirteen prospects have played or do play third base. Yoan Moncada (age 21), Rafael Devers (19), Michael Chavis (20), and Sean Coyle (24) are perhaps not available at all, but who knows what Dombrowski would do in this situation...and of course, there are other positions on the field for guys to play as things shake out down the road. I don't see the Brewers having interest in Coyle due to age and performance. Prying any of the top three away from the Bosox will take perhaps both Luc and a reliever, with the Red Sox adding a lower level player, and how that compares to what is available (if rumors of interest are true) from Cleveland or Texas is key, but is is interesting to speculate...so speculate I do.
I don't see the Red Sox trading Moncada for anything, but who knows about Devers or Chavis. Both would be huge upgrades in the Brewers system, and at 19 and 20, both fit Stearns' seeming M.O.
As always, stay tuned!