ESPN Senior Writer
The Milwaukee Brewers should go all-in and trade for Jacob deGrom.
The Brewers have made the playoffs four times in their history. It’s interesting to note that in each of those years, they made a big trade for a pitcher:
• In 2011, they acquired Zack Greinke before the season for Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress. Greinke went 16-6 as the Brewers won 96 games and the NL Central.
• In 2008, they acquired CC Sabathia on July 7. He went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 starts, threw seven complete games and memorably carried the Brewers to the wild card by starting three times on three days’ rest the final nine days of the season.
• In 1982, they acquired Don Sutton on Aug. 30 and he went 4-1 in seven starts, including beating the Orioles on the final day of the season as the Brewers won the AL East by one game over Baltimore.
• In 1981, they acquired Rollie Fingers in the offseason, and he went on to win Cy Young and MVP honors as the team’s closer.
In those rare seasons when the Brewers have chased a playoff spot, seizing the moment has been their defining characteristic. The Brewers lead the Cubs in the NL Central. The Cubs are still the division favorites, but the Brewers are a good team. They have a dominant bullpen led by the unhittable Josh Hader. The lineup has a couple of holes and is only middle of the pack in the NL, but the Brewers lead the majors in defensive runs saved. The rotation is solid but unspectacular, ranking 13th in the majors in ERA. What the rotation needs is an ace. It needs Jacob deGrom.
The Mets’ season is over. They’re 13 games under .500, and their lineup on Tuesday included an LOL defense of Jose Reyes at short, Asdrubal Cabrera at second, Dominic Smith in left and Jose Bautista in right. It isn’t certain that the Mets should trade deGrom, let alone that they will, especially given that he’s under team control through 2020. The announcement Tuesday that GM Sandy Alderson is taking a leave of absence for cancer treatment and that his tenure as GM is probably over only complicates the direction of the club.
Do the Brewers have the young talent to acquire deGrom? It probably would take a package that exceeds even what they gave up for Greinke, who had two seasons of team control. Their top prospect is bat-first second baseman Keston Hiura, who is hitting .331/.389/.537 in the minors, including .358 in 21 games at Double-A. Corbin Burnes is the team’s top pitching prospect, and he has a 4.93 ERA at Triple-A Colorado Springs, with more K’s than innings, and I’d look at that more than a high ERA at Colorado Springs.
You start with those two. The Brewers have a glut of outfielders. Domingo Santana hit 30 home runs last year and has been sent back to Triple-A to find his stroke and get some playing time. The Mets have their own glut of outfielders, but you can sort all that out later. Maybe you throw in Freddy Peralta, the undersized right-hander with the big numbers at Triple-A and a couple of impressive outings in the majors, including seven scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts and one hit on Tuesday against the Royals (though he probably faced better lineups at Colorado Springs). Is that enough? Hiura, Burnes, Santana and Peralta for deGrom? Maybe you get the Mets to include Cabrera, who would provide an offensive upgrade at second base.
The Cubs are vulnerable. The Brewers can win this thing. It isn’t likely that they can ever sign an ace, since they’ll lose every bidding war. They have to trade for one.