The trade deadline is just five days away now. While the Brewers have only made one big trade so far (Aaron Hill to Boston), several names remain in trade talks as the deadline gets closer. One of those names is reliever Jeremy Jeffress, who has been the Brewers closer all season. Today, we have a better idea of what GM David Stearns is looking for in a trade of Jeffress. According to Jim Duquette on MLB Network Radio, the Brewers want a "number 1 prospect and 1 or 2 mid-level guys" in exchange for Jeffress.
At first glance, that seems like a high price for Jeffress. However, it may not be unreasonable. Let’s look back to earlier this week, when the Cubs acquired Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees. The Cubs gave up four prospects in the deal, including their top shortstop prospect, Gleyber Torres, and an established reliever (and former Yankee) in Adam Warren. That was a very steep price to acquire a reliever for half a season. Chapman (2.01 ERA/1.93 FIP) has been better than Jeffress this season (2.18 ERA/3.23 FIP), so you would figure that the price for Jeffress would be lower.
However, it’s also important to factor into the equation that this wouldn’t be a half-season rental for Jeffress. A team acquiring Jeffress would have him through 2019, as he has three years of control remaining. That extra control means that there’s an extra cost attached to it. In that regard, you could argue that Jeffress should command a little more in a trade. We also know that this isn’t an isolated year for Jeffress. Since coming back to the Brewers, his results have been consistently good. There’s reason to believe that he can keep this up.
It’s also important to remember that this is just a reported price. While this may be what David Stearns is telling the media he wants, it could also just be positioning himself for a better return. We are all familiar with GM speak during these days, that what they say to the media isn’t necessarily the whole truth. It’s possible that Stearns will take a lower return, but wants to make sure he’s not low-balled with offers. Putting this information out there would help prevent that. It’s also possible that this is what Stearns is expecting for Jeffress. It’s a high price, but with teams a little desperate, it’s one that someone may be willing to pay.
With days remaining until the deadline, we will soon find out if the Brewers decide to trade Jeffress or not. The reported asking price may be high, but it’s a reasonable price to ask for. Plus, with team control still on the Brewers side, they don’t have to feel pressured to move him if the right deal doesn’t come along in the next five days.