MLB Rumors' Drew Silva on the prospect of the Brewers trading prospects:
- According to the Associated Press, via ESPN.com, the Brewers aren't likely to part with either third baseman Mat Gamel or shortstop Alcides Escobar before the July 31 trade deadline.
This represents a refreshing change in club philosophy from last season, when Milwaukee unloaded top outfield prospect Matt LaPorta to the Indians for a couple months of CC Sabathia. Gamel, 23, is batting .244/.326/.402 with two home runs and 12 RBI through his first 82 major league at-bats, while the 22-year-old Escobar is coming into his own at the Triple-A level with 18 doubles, four triples and three home runs in 285 at-bats.
The Brewers are 37-32 this season, one game behind the Cardinals in the NL Central.
LaPorta's a first baseman or a corner outfielder. The Brewers had (and have) in those spots: Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, and Ryan Braun. All of them fairly young, all of them fairly cheap. Sure, I would have recommended trading Fielder instead of LaPorta in the quest for pitching, but: 1) it's not likely that the Brewers could have gotten Sabathia for Fielder; and 2) who would you rather have in 2009: LaPorta or Fielder?
The trade last season worked exactly as such trades are supposed to work. The Brewers unloaded a bit of surplus talent, they picked up a pitcher without whom they absolutely would not have reached the postseason, and they picked up a couple of draft picks when said pitcher signed with the Yankees.
It's not often, though, that you can pick up a difference-maker like Sabathia. Also, Gamel and Escobar aren't necessarily surplus. Gamel's a third baseman; the Brewers need a third baseman. Escobar's a shortstop; the Brewers don't necessarily need a shortstop, but they might need a second baseman at some point within the next 12 months. Yes, it would be a waste of talent to play Escobar or J.J. Hardy at second base, and perhaps one of them should be exchanged for help at that position or some other. But now isn't the time.