The Milwaukee Brewers shook up the National League last year by finishing 86-76 and missing the second wild card spot by merely one game. Before the season started, most people assumed that Milwaukee would be mostly uncompetitive and continue their rebuild. However, with the Cubs struggling to dominate the league for most of the season, Milwaukee was able to hang around and contend for a playoff spot.
With 2018 coming up quickly, the Brewers have been shopping around for a few different pieces to help them reach the playoffs next year, pieces that the Kansas City Royals just happen to have. Milwaukee will look to make the playoffs in 2018, and the Kansas City Royals can help them do just that. Kansas City needs to take advantage of this opportunity in order to expedite their rebuild, making a potential deal a win-win for both parties.
Let me explain the deal, and then I’ll explain why it’s important for both clubs to execute this offseason.
The Milwaukee Brewers need just a couple of pieces in order to put them over the hump and into serious playoff contention. The Royals have all of those pieces. Let’s examine the players.
The Milwaukee Brewers receive:
- LHP Danny Duffy
- 2B/LF Whit Merrifield
- RHP Kelvin Herrera
The Kansas City Royals receive:
- CF Monte Harrison
- RHP Corbin Burnes
- 2B/SS Isan Diaz
- RHP Jordan Yamamoto
This would most certainly count as a blockbuster trade, but it would also work for multiple reasons. The Brewers would be getting the front-of-the-line starter that they’ve been looking for with a very affordable contract and four years of control. They’d be getting a starting second basemen who can play LF when Ryan Braun makes his annual trip to the DL as well. They’d also be getting a premier set up man to help build the bridge to closer Corey Knebel. This trade would be fantastic for the Brewers because two of the three pieces fit into their long-term plans as well as the short-term.
The Royals would receive three players who would instantly become the top three prospects in the organization and a RHP in Yamamoto who pitched to the tune of a 2.51 ERA in 111 IP with 113 K in 2017. Corbin Burnes and Isan Diaz have both been featured in MLB’s Top 100 prospect list and Monte Harrison has a shot to make the 2018 list.
Why It Would Work
This may look like a ridiculous proposal before you start thinking about it. Most things probably sound ridiculous if you don’t stop and think about them. “Why would the Brewers trade three potential top 100 prospects and a promising young RHP?” Great question. I’d love to answer it for you.
The Milwaukee Brewers would accept this trade for multiple reasons.
Number one, they don’t have to trade their any of their top five prospects. Monte Harrison is arguably only Milwaukee’s 6th best OF prospect and Corbin Burnes is arguably only Milwaukee’s third best SP prospect (according to MLB.com). Isan Diaz projects as more of a 2B than a SS at the big league level, and 2017 1st round draft pick Keston Hiura also plays 2B. None of the three players listed above are the Brewers best prospect at their respective positions. Jordan Yamamoto didn’t even register on the Brewers top 30 prospects list.
Number two, the Brewers have recently introduced winning baseball back to Milwaukee and now they have a chance to seize on an opportunity to compete in the NL. With the St. Louis Cardinals recently trading for Marcell Ozuna and apparently looking to keep adding, Milwaukee needs to keep pace with their division rivals. Acquiring Danny Duffy, Whit Merrifield, and Kelvin Herrera allow them to do just that. The three Royals that would be moving to Milwaukee fill in three holes that the Brewers need to fill in order to compete for a playoff spot in 2018.
Number three, the Brewers have the opportunity to add back prospects later on. Like I mentioned earlier, Whit Merrifield and Danny Duffy are both under control for the foreseeable future. The Brewers are apparently trying to trade Domingo Santana already, meaning that they could add back some depth there. Also, when Keston Hiura is ready to debut, Milwaukee could turn around and flip Whit Merrifield again, or move one of the two to the outfield more permanently. Danny Duffy’s contract could also allow the Brewers to make trades after 2018, whether it be in another Duffy trade or by trading one of their own SP prospects.
The Royals really only need one reason to make this trade: Milwaukee is by far the Royals best trade partner right now and like I mentioned before, Diaz, Burnes, and Harrison would instantly become the Royals top 3 prospects. The Royals appear to be ready to go through a rebuild (although this painfully slow offseason has me worried that they might be reconsidering), and they can instantly remove themselves from the conversation of “league’s worst farm system” by making this trade.
The Kansas City Royals need to make an effort with Milwaukee. Milwaukee signed Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo this offseason, but they’re not fooling anyone. Their rotation still needs some help and Danny Duffy would be a perfectly-priced solution for them. Herrera and Merrifield also fill holes on their roster that they need to fill in order to make a playoff run in 2018. The Cubs, Phillies, and Orioles have all been rumored to be interested in Duffy, but none of these teams can offer the same fire-power to Kansas City that Milwaukee can. Kansas City needs to commit to this rebuild, and this trade would send them all in.