No matter what happens this weekend in New York, the Milwaukee Brewers will head into the All-Star break in first place. After years of dealing away everything that wasn't bolted down at the trade deadline, it looks like the Brewers will be in a much different position this year.
We've been wondering how GM David Stearns would handle this year's success. If the reports are to be believed, it looks like he'll be willing to use his stockpile of prospects to improve the big league club, but it likely won't be for rentals -- both Sonny Gray and Jose Quintana have multiple years of club control remaining.
Gray is in his first year of arbitration, making $3.575 million this year for Oakland. The former All-Star has an ERA of 4.00 in 13 starts so far this year, but the underlying numbers are better with a 3.59 FIP, 8.5 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. In 2015, he finished third in the voting for AL Cy Young after posting a 2.73 ERA and 143 ERA+, throwing three complete games. The 27-year-old won't be a free agent until after the 2019 season.
Quintana is 28 and under contract with the White Sox through the 2020 season, making $7 million this season, $8.850 million next year, and team options for $10.5 million in 2019 and $11.5 million in 2020. He was an All-Star last year, striking out 181 in 208 innings and getting credit for a 3.20 ERA. He's never had an ERA above 4 for a full season, but currently sits at 4.45 despite a spike in his strikeouts -- mostly because his walk totals have also spiked. He may not be pitching like an ace this year, but he has a long track record of success and is under an extremely team-friendly contract, which likely appeals to the small-market Brewers.
Now, the debate over the next few weeks: how much should the Brewers give up in a deal if they're looking to make the most out of their unexpected run this year? With Keon Broxton playing well, does that mean sending Lewis Brinson or Brett Phillips or Corey Ray somewhere else? Are they willing to part with 6 years of Josh Hader for two or three of someone like Gray or Quintana?
As important as the past two years have been in building the Brewers’ future, the next two weeks could be even more important.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference