During the 2017 MLB Winter Meetings, rumors were swirling that Danny Duffy and Whit Merrifield could soon be on the move, particularly to the Milwaukee Brewers who are looking to contend in the tough NL Central. I wrote about what a potential trade might look like, that included sending Duff, Whit, and Kelvin Herrera to the Brew Crew.
Unfortunately for me (and more importantly the Royals), the Brewers turned around and sent nearly the exact same package I was hoping for Kansas City to get back in a trade to the Miami Marlins. Once I got the bad news about that ordeal, I began to look elsewhere for a landing spot for Danny Duffy.
Circumstances however have changed since then. Last week, Milwaukee closer Corey Knebel injured his knee and was placed on the DL. The Brewers also optioned top pitching prospect Brandon Woodruff back to AAA, and I’m here to tell you that Jhoulys Chacin has no place in a rotation that has playoff aspirations.
The Milwaukee Brewers are an incredibly talented baseball team. They have arguably the best outfield in the NL (since Miami traded theirs away) and a good combination of players at the corner infield spots. Their bullpen has actually been pretty good so far, and the rotation has a couple of nice pieces at the top. The problems for Milwaukee moving forward will come in the back end of the ‘pen with Knebel out and the front of the rotation.
Fortunately for Milwaukee the Royals possess, and should be looking to move, a couple of players who fit the bill. For this exercise, I’m going to use two of the three players I used in the first mock trade that I did with Milwaukee, and see if there is still anything left for Milwaukee to bargain with in what was once a very deep system.
Milwaukee Brewers receive:
- LHP Danny Duffy
- RP Kelvin Herrera
Kansas City Royals receive:
- OF Brett Phillips
- OF Troy Stokes Jr.
- RHP Freddy Peralta
- CIF Gabriel Garcia
Here’s why I think this trade works for both teams:
The Brewers accept because:
- The Brewers made some nearly “all in” moves when they acquired Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain this offseason. Yelich, as I mentioned before, brought in a king’s ransom all on his own and Lorenzo Cain got $80M in free agency. The Brewers invested three top 100 prospects and $80M into their outfield in one offseason in an attempt to make a playoff run, and need to reach the playoffs to make it worth while. Adding Danny Duffy and Kelvin Herrera to their pitching staff would help the Brewers do just that.
- The aforementioned acquisitions of Yelich and Cain also create a long-term logjam in the outfield for Milwaukee. With Domingo Santana and Ryan Braun splitting time in the third outfield spot, Brett Phillips just doesn’t have a spot on the team. Phillips is probably Milwaukee’s top outfield prospect, but even if they deal Phillips, Milwaukee will still have highly touted prospects Trent Grisham, Corey Ray, and Tristen Lutz ready to assume jobs in the Brewers next outfield generation.
- Kelvin Herrera has looked absolutely stellar in his brief bit of work so far in 2018. The Brewers will likely return Corey Knebel to his closer’s role when he returns from the DL, but they will need someone to bridge the gap to Knebel in the playoffs. Perhaps no reliever in baseball has shown the ability to bridge a gap in the playoffs better than Kelvin Herrera recently, and the Royals laid the blueprint for winning in the playoffs on the back of an elite bullpen. Adding Kelvin Herrera would help Milwaukee shorten the game, and give them arguably one of the best 1-2 punches in the National League in the back of their bullpen.
- The Brewers would get to keep all four of their top prospects, something they did not get to do in the Yelich trade, as well as 8 of their top 10 prospects. While 2 of their top 10 may seem expensive, there is certainly a price to pay for two quality Major League players in the middle of a playoff hunt. “Prospects are cool, but parades are cooler,” and the Brewers are currently situated for a parade more than they are to hold prospects.
The Royals accept because:
- They would instantly add two players to the top of their prospect list. Freddy Peralta and Brett Phillips would both instantly become the Royals top prospect. This would go a LONG way in helping Kansas City with their “reload” or what ever. Phillips would be the Royals center fielder as soon as the trade was made and Peralta could be in the rotation by season’s end.
- Getting rid of Duffy would really suck. Danny Duffy is one of my all-time favorite Royals and has been a ton of fun to watch. But the Royals are still on the hook for $60M with Duffy and he isn’t getting any younger. Duffy, while being incredibly talented, is also expendable, and Kelvin Herrera is in his last year of team control. The Royals have replacements for Herrera ready and waiting in Omaha, and can piece together the rotation in Duffy’s absence. Especially if Peralta (or Burnes/Woodruff) is part of the return. Shedding $60M is also a big win for a rebuilding team, which shouldn’t be under looked in this trade.
- The Royals NEED to commit to a rebuild. Trading guys sucks, but when you have 4-5-6 bad/unlucky drafts in a row, these are the kind of rebuilds you have to undergo as a small-market team. It happens. No one ought to be too upset for the situation that the Royals currently find themselves in. But Dayton Moore and company possess the ability to make this rebuild even worse as much as they can make it better, and turning down a trade of this magnitude would certainly not help make it better. The Royals ought to be looking to make any trade possible like this.
I’m not a GM. I haven’t discussed any of this with Dayton Moore. But if you read my first trade proposal with Milwaukee, you’ll notice that I nearly nailed the return that Miami got for Yelich, who is nearly as valuable as the package that KC would be sending to Milwaukee. Duffy’s contract probably prevents KC from getting much else in return in the way of top tier prospects. Although, there won’t be much of a SP trade market this summer, and if Duffy can avoid injury for the first half of the season, he may be worth more than I think he’s worth. In any case, I think this deal makes a lot of sense for both teams, and I would hope that both teams would be interested in making a deal that is in the best interest of both teams immediate futures.