Brewers are sellers for the first time in years at trade deadline
Today is August 1, the day after the Major League Baseball deadline for non-waiver moves, a day full of joy and excitement for those teams are in position to contend for a playoff spot, and a day of painful resignation for those whose teams have fallen woefully off the pace.
Unfortunately for the supporters of the Milwaukee Brewers – and for the first time in several years mind you – the team was not a buyer, but a seller.
One reason Brewers general manager Doug Melvin dealt Zack Greinke and George Kottaras was because, beginning with the 2008 acquisition of ace CC Sabathia, he has shipped off more prospects than he has brought in.
While that fact causes great consternation among fans of the farm system, the truth of the matter is the Brewers haven't missed much by way of those prospects. The playoff appearances in 2008 and 2011 were worth the major acquisitions.
And, it serves a reminder that the arrival of prospects offers no greater chance of success than does breaking the bank and resigning the big names.
Let's break down the Brewers major moves in the last five years.*
The Brewers went 90-72 and finished in second place in the National League Central Division, earning the wild card berth. It was the team's first playoff appearance since 1982. The Brewers fell in the National League Division Series three games to one to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Guillermo Mota – acquired from the New York Mets for Johnny Estrada.
- What you got: The 34-year-old reliever tossed 57 innings in 58 games – the third most appearances on the team – and posted a 4.11 earned run average.
- What you gave up: The former All-Star catcher was out of baseball after appearing in 23 games for Washington in 2008.
Solomon Torres – acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Kevin Roberts and Marino Salas.
- What you got: The 36-year-old veteran became the team's closer, saving 28 games with a 3.49 ERA while going 7-5 in a team-high 71 appearances.
- What you gave up: Roberts never made it past Class AA and was out of baseball after 2008. Salas managed to last one more season in pro ball, reaching Class AAA of the Mexican League in '09.
CC Sabathia – acquired from the Cleveland Indians for Rob Bryson, Zach Jackson, Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley.
- What you got: Sabathia was as good as advertised, as the 27-year-old went 11-2 with a sparkling 1.65 ERA in 17 starts – seven of which he finished.
- What you gave up: Bryson is still active but has yet to get out of Class AA and Jackson is now in the Texas Rangers' organization and is in Class AAA. Brantley reached the majors in 2009 and is currently hitting .289/.343/.415 with four homers for the Indians. LaPorta was the crown jewel of this deal however, and while he reached Cleveland in 2009, he's a career .237 hitter and is back in Class AAA.
Ray Durham – acquired from the San Francisco Giants for Steve Hammond and Darren Ford.
- What you got: The veteran second baseman hit .280 over 41 games with 15 extra base hits and 13 RBI.
- What you gave up: Hammond never reached the majors and was essentially out of baseball after 2010. Ford is still active and appeared in 33 games in 2010 and 2011 for the Giants, but is in the Seattle Mariners system in Class AAA.
The Brewers followed up the playoff season with a disappointing 80-82 record under Ken Macha, especially since The Crew started the season 30-20 through the end of May and 42-35 at the end of June.
Jody Gerut – acquired from the San Diego Padres for Tony Gwynn, Jr.
- What you got: The 31-year-old Gerut appeared in 85 games and hit .236 with five homers and 21 RBI.
- What you gave up: Gwynn, Jr. hit .242 in two years with the Padres. He is currently with the Dodgers, hitting .247 in nearly two full years in L.A.
Felipe Lopez – acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks for Roque Mercedes and Cole Gillespie.
- What you got: Lopez was brought in to replace an injured Rickie Weeks and hit a robust .320 in 66 games. He also drove in 32 runs and had 25 extra base hits.
- What you gave up: Mercedes remains active, but he's back in the Brewers organization in Class AA Hunstville. Gillespie is also active and is in Class AAA in the Diamondbacks organization after making his debut in 2010. He has appeared in 50 games for the Diamondbacks with a .236 average.
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