The Brewers are in the first year of their rebuild and they will be sellers at the trade deadline. So, who do the Brewers have to trade? I have broken them up into categories: Untouchables, Unlikely, Very Steep Price, On the Block, Available, and Everybody Else.
None. There are no untouchable players this year. General manager David Stearns will make any deal that he feels will make the team better in the long run.
These players are ones that teams would be interested in, but the Brewers want to hold on to. They would be the closest to untouchables, and they consist solely of young starting pitchers.
Nelson is considered by many to be the ace of the Brewer staff of the future. He is just 27 and is under club control until 2020. He has not lived up to the ace role yet, but he has been solid. This season, he is 5-7 with a 3.65 ERA and 74 strikeouts. It is highly unlikely that the Brewers would trade the pitcher that they still think can be their ace.
Davies is only 23 and is under club control until 2021. He came up last season and went 3-2 with a 3.71 ERA in 6 starts. Davies got off to a rough start this season, going 0-3 with an 8.78 ERA in 3 starts before May 1, but he is a solid 6-1 with 3.24 ERA since. He figures to be an integral part of the Brewer rotation for years to come.
Anderson is 28 and under club control through 2020. He started the season with 2 starts in which he did not give up an earned run. Unfortunately, he has been inconsistent since then. He would go from giving up 6 earned runs in 5 innings to going 8.2 innings and giving up 2 runs just 2 starts later. The Brewers still consider him to be part of their future rotation.
Very Steep Price
These players will be very attractive to contending teams, but ones that the Brewers will likely hold on to unless a team is willing to give up a stable of prospects and maybe a Major League ready player. I have previously addressed the myths involving Lucroy and Braun.
Lucroy is an elite catcher and one that could help the Brewers in their rebuild, especially with the young pitching staff. He just made his second All-Star team after suffering an injury-ridden 2015. He is hitting .302 with 10 home runs, 40 RBI, and 16 doubles. He has also thrown out a Major League leading 26 would-be base stealers. He is under contract through the end of the season with a club option for 2017, so the Brewers have time to explore an extension before they need to trade him.
Braun is a 6-time All-Star who is returning to his MVP-form. He is hitting .322 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI while patrolling left field. He is on the Final Vote ballot for the All-Star Game, but he is currently 5th in the voting. Braun’s contract is relatively club-friendly, which may bring some interest. The Brewers will be asking a considerable price for Braun, who is climbing the Brewer leader boards. They are also limited by Braun’s limited no-trade clause.
Villar is a 25-year-old shortstop that is under club control until 2020. The Brewers picked him up from the Astros for minor league pitcher Cy Sneed, which led to the Brewers dealing shortstop Jean Segura. Villar has established himself as the Brewer shortstop by hitting .294 with 19 doubles, 42 runs scored, and a Major League leading 28 stolen bases. The Brewers may want to move him to second and third with Orlando Arcia coming up, but they want his bat at the top of their order.
Jeffress is 28 and is under club control until 2019. He has locked down the closer role, converting 23 of 24 save opportunities. Jeffress would definitely be sought after, but since he is under club control for the next 4 years, the Brewers can demand a high price.
On the Block
These are the players that are the most likely to move to teams looking for that spark that will propel them to the playoffs.
Carter is 29 and is under club control through the 2018 season. He is older than one would think of for a rebuilding team, but he is holding down first base, a position that the Brewers have been weak at since Prince Fielder left following the 2011 season. Carter has a team-high 20 home runs this season, after hitting 24 all of last year.
Hill is 34 and his contract expires at the end of the season. In a lot of ways, Hill is the most expendable piece on the Brewer roster. He has done a great job at third base and has played a number of games at second base. He got off to a slow start, but he is hitting .314 since May 7 with 7 home runs, 21 RBI, and 27 runs scored in 50 games.
Guerra has been one of the biggest surprises for the Brewers this season. The 31-year-old rookie pitcher is 6-1 with a 2.93 ERA and 67 strikeouts. The reason that the Brewers would be likely to trade Guerra is his age. He would be a great pickup for a contender looking for starting pitching help.
Garza is an 11-year veteran pitcher that is under contract through the end of next season. He is 32 and is not considered to be part of the Brewer rebuild. He is just coming off of an injury, so contenders are going to wait to see how he pitches this month before making a decision. He could be of value as a middle of the rotation innings-eater. He would also not be just a 3-month rental, which some teams would find beneficial.
Smith is 26 and is under club control through 2019. He is a hard-throwing left hander that excels in late-inning situations. He was going to be a co-closer with Jeffress until a freak knee injury in Spring Training shut him down. He recently came back and has posted a 1-2 record with a 1.84 ERA in 17 appearances.
Thornburg is 27 and is under club control until 2019. He is a solid reliever, going 3-2 with a 2.76 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 32.2 innings in 34 appearances. Thornburg would be a valuable reliever that could even be called in to close if a team needed him to.
These players are ones that the Brewers would trade if a team is interested. They could be packaged with one of the more sought after players or dealt on their own.
Gennett is 26 and is under club control through 2019. He has improved his hitting against left-handed pitching this season, which makes him more than a platoon second baseman. The Brewers have several middle infielders that are close to ready to bring up, which makes Gennett somewhat expendable.
Nieuwenhuis is 28 and is under club control through 2019. He has been one of several players used in center field for the Brewers this year, and has done a good job defensively. He has struggled at the plate to the tune of a .212 average, but there is some upside to him.
Perez is 25 and is under club control through 2020. He has been a pleasant surprise for the Brewers this season. The utility infielder has started to play in right field lately, adding to his value. He is hitting .269 and is second on the club with 10 stolen bases in limited action.
Maldonado is 29 and is under club control through 2018. He is a solid catcher, at times even great behind the plate. The problem with Maldonado is at the plate, where he is hitting just .161 this year, though he does have 3 home runs. He has thrown out 50% of the runners that have tried to steal against him this year and has a respectable career rate of 35%.
Those players not mentioned are not likely to be involved in a trade, not because of their value to the rebuild, but due to the fact that many teams will not be interested in giving up prospects for them at this time.