As you probably know by now, in the space of about an hour, the Brewers made two massive moves -- first trading away #1 prospect Lewis Brinson, #6 prospect Monte Harrison, #14 prospect Isan Diaz, and pitcher Jordan Yamamoto to the Miami Marlins in return for Christian Yelich, and then signing former Brewer Lorenzo Cain to a 5-year, $80 million contract.
The Marlins made the move to trade Yelich for obvious reasons: after the team traded away Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna, Yelich had made it clear that he did not want to be the only major league player in Miami. And, the Brewers had depth in prospect talent that few teams could match, and their depth made for a good match for the Marlins needs.
Further to that point, the Marlins simply did not have much in the way of positional prospect talent in their system. Indeed, prior to this offseason's trades, basically all of the Marlins top prospects were pitchers. Prior to the trade with the Brewers, the only position players in the Marlins' Top 10 prospects according to MLB Pipeline were Magneuris Sierra (obtained in the Marcell Ozuna trade with St. Louis) and 24-year-old 3B Brian Anderson, a third-round pick in 2014 who made it to the majors for a short look last year. Now, their top ten features Brinson at #1, Harrison at #2, and Diaz at #9.
|I was so ready for Brinson to be the next big Brewers star. Good luck to him in Miami.|
Why would Milwaukee make these moves? First and foremost, the Brewers still have a ton of prospect talent remaining, including new #1 prospect Corey Ray (whom I don't buy as the #1 prospect right now, to be fair) and last year's competitive balance #1 pick, Tristen Lutz. Plus, the club still has tons of depth in the outfield from which to trade, if they choose. Starting pitching would be an obvious place to improve, and having Domingo Santana, Keon Broxton, and/or Brett Phillips as a trade chit could help bring in some help near the top of the rotation. Maybe the Rays would take Broxton for Jake Odorizzi so that the Brewers could get another of the guys from the Zack Greinke trade with Kansas City back (since they have both Jeffress and Cain back!).
The team could also choose to be creative and set up a plan to get all of their top 5 OF (Braun, Yelich, Cain, Santana, and Phillips) plenty of games and plenty of rest at the same time. The team struggled to score runs last year when Braun was out injured, and his advancing age (he's now 34 years old) means that finding him games to rest and working him into a platoon at first with Eric Thames. Thames crushed righties to the tune of .265/.382/.551 last season with 25 HRs in 440 plate appearances, but he hit just .182/.270/.394 against lefties. While Jesus Aguilar did a nice job in that platoon/pinch-hitting role last year, Braun would be a step up at that position hitting-wise (assuming Braun can learn the footwork at yet another new position).
At any rate, both Cain and Yelich now have contracts that, assuming no extensions, are scheduled to keep them with the team for five years each. That level of commitment and the potential to keep contending for at least that five-year period has me excited.
So excited, in fact, that I'm breaking my own internal rules that a player has to do something for the Brewers before I make them a player collection.
Yes, I am going to add Christian Yelich as a player collection. For right now, I'm just going to collect his Brewers cards. If things go really well, perhaps that will change.
Who knows? If things go well, perhaps Lorenzo Cain will be a PC by the end of 2018.
Thanks for stopping by.