With the MLB August 31st trade deadline fast approaching, the 12-15 Milwaukee Brewers find themselves with a dilemma. Should they buy or sell at the deadline?
At 11-14, the Brewers are an interesting team to monitor with the trade deadline nine days. Teams that have spoken to Milwaukee say they’re stuck in the middle and that if they do buy, they’re prioritizing players with multiple years of control.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) August 22, 2020
In a season shortened because of COVID-19, Milwaukee has had it problems over the first 27 games. Lorenzo Cain is no longer in the dugout. The offense has been been consistently bad. Virtually none of the players brought in to fill the voids left by players like Yasmani Grandal, Mike Moustakas, and Eric Thames have approached their impacts on the field or the dugout.
Maybe the Brewers should come to the conclusion that the 2020 season just is not working out and sell its tradable assets. There are several issues with that line of thinking. With that in mind, I present the case for the Milwaukee Brewers to be buyers at the deadline.
Brewers’ have not played to their track record
Go to Fangraphs and input the names Omar Narvaez, Avisail Garcia, Justin Smoak, Ryan Braun, and Christian Yelich and you will see huge difference in slash line and wRC+ from the 2020 season and previous years. Keston Hiura has yet to hit consistently. Luis Urias is only now getting his sea legs under him. This team has collectively, all at the same time, not hit. That is bound to change.
These players have a track record of performance that suggests they will turn things around. You can already see it happening. Yelich is getting it together. Justin Smoak has had a couple really nice games. Narvaez is seeing the ball much better. Hiura is making more contact, and that contact is normally hard. Things are coming along, and when it does in total, it might be like a swelling dam bursting. Milwaukee’s pitching has been pretty good. If the offense comes along, the Brewers will be tough to handle in, lets say, the month of September.
Milwaukee part of a muddled heap
The only team not in realistic contention in the National League right now is the Pittsburgh Pirates. Every other team has a playoff shot, and we are not just talking about being a 7th or 8th seed.
There are only four National League teams that are six or more games over .500. With the St. Louis Cardinals sitting two games above .500 and the Cincinnati Reds sitting five games below .500, there are ten teams within seven games of each other. If the playoffs started today, and the Dodgers, Cubs, Braves, and Padres took the top four seeds, the other ten teams would be playing for the other four seeds. The Milwaukee Brewers are in this thing, and there is no way a team with this much talent that is apt to start running on all cylinders should be selling. They should be adding a piece or two.
September has yet to arrive
The Milwaukee Brewers have been arguably the best team in baseball in the month of September over the past couple of years. They have done so well that the Milwaukee fanbase affectionately refers to the month as Craigtember.
The Brewers have done so well in the last month of the season because of excellent managing of the team, especially the bullpen as well as savvy deadline moves that give the 2018 and 2019 Brewers’ teams the je ne sais quoi needed to make a run. Instead of talking about selling, we should be excited about what David Stearns has up his sleeve.
Acquiring a difference maker could put this team in real contention
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, David Stearns has made some really nice moves at the trade deadline in past seasons that have brought value. Might there be a move or two this season? It is difficult to speculate what that might be, but there are upgrade opportunities at first and third base as well as the outfield. Bringing in a solid starter or a bullpen piece could be part of the equation too. The market might be a little sparse, but Stearns does have a way of finding valuable pieces to add.
The remaining schedule lines up well for a run
Over the first 23 games, the Milwaukee Brewers had a pretty tough schedule. They faced the Chicago Cubs seven times, the Minnesota Twins six times, and the Chicago White Sox four times. The remaining games on the schedule come against teams currently with losing records or teams that are within division. The only exception to this is a 3-game series at Cleveland in early September. This puts Milwaukee in a very good spot not just to get one of those four spots in the lower end of the seeding process, but still contend for the NL Central title. They sit just 5.5 games out of the division lead. That is not that much of a lead to overcome with 33 games remaining. It can be done and has been done.