Asked yesterday whether the Brewers will look to trade Prince Fielder or Ryan Braun for pitching help, general manager Doug Melvin said: “I don’t see that happening.”
Milwaukee finished next-to-last in the NL with a 4.87 ERA, including a league-worst 5.37 mark from the rotation that lost CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets from 2008, but Melvin smartly seems to realize that trading MVP-caliber hitters isn’t the solution for those problems, especially when Fielder is under team control through 2011 and Braun is signed through 2015.
In fantasy baseball, you can dream about what you could get back for Prince or Ryan Braun. In reality, there’s not too many teams that can give up the package that we would really want that would guarantee you to be competitive.
Melvin also added that keeping both Alcides Escobar and J.J. Hardy next season “would be very difficult,” which makes it pretty obvious that the Brewers will be shopping Hardy for pitching help this offseason. Hardy had a very disappointing year, losing his starting job to Escobar down the stretch, but he’s still a 26-year-old shortstop with a good glove and .267/.325/.441 hitting line over the past three seasons. Milwaukee should be able to get at least a solid mid-rotation starter for Hardy.
I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.
Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.
The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.
Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.
Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.
The rest of the voting: