The first major trade of the Major League Baseball season could reportedly come quite early.
According to Michael J. Duarte of NBC Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Dodgers are discussing a trade that would send Matt Kemp and prospects to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Ryan Braun.
BREAKING: Just received info from a reliable source that there is a possible trade in the works between the Dodgers and Brewers involving @TheRealMattKemp and several top Dodger prospects.
— Ron Cervenka (@Think_BlueLA) March 31, 2018
I can confirm that the trade talks with the #Dodgers and #Brewers are for Matt Kemp and Ryan Braun as well as Dodger prospects. Right now, the deal is hung up one specific player the #Dodgers don't want to move.
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) March 31, 2018
This is a curious move. The Dodgers would like to move Kemp and his salary, but Braun is 34, signed through 2020, and saw his numbers decline in 2017. It’s also unclear what caliber of prospect the Dodgers would be moving. The Brewers may have their own reasons to move Braun, but there are a lot of moving parts here.
The Brewers are going to try their best to make sure there are as few Cubs fans as possible at Miller Park when the Cubs visit Milwaukee next season.
On Friday, the Brewers will begin a presale that runs through next Thursday for tickets to the 10 games when the Cubs come to town. There is a catch, though: The presale is only available to residents of Wisconsin.
It’s not that we dislike Cubs fans, per se. We just really prefer Brewers fans.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) February 8, 2018
Later in the day, the Cubs had a little fun at the Brewers’ expense regarding their ticket offer. The Cubs used its Twitter account to say everyone can buy tickets to their home games, “even if you live in Wisconsin.”
Reminder that EVERYBODY can buy #Cubs tickets starting Feb. 23 …
Even if you live in Wisconsin! pic.twitter.com/apmiG9tJAD
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) February 8, 2018
The presale may help in limiting the number of Cubs fans in attendance when they are in Milwaukee. Fielding a team that makes Brewers fans attend games in droves will also help accomplish that goal.
The Brewers have added Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain so far this offseason. They reportedly can still afford to add another major free agent, which could be Yu Darvish. If they open up the season playing strong, there should be plenty of enthusiasm surrounding the team and not much room for opposing fans.
- Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers have made two big moves in the last week, and if it’s up to them, they don’t sound done.
Brewers general manager Mark Attanasio said Sunday that, even after trading for outfielder Christian Yelich and spending big money on outfielder Lorenzo Cain, the team still has room in the budget for a starting pitcher.
Mark Attanasio says that after adding Yelich and Cain, there is still room in the payroll to add one of the big free agent pitchers. So, we’ll see.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) January 28, 2018
Reports indicated before the Brewers’ busy week that the team had an offer on the table for the most prominent free agent starter on the market. Based on these comments, that may be true. It’s clear that Milwaukee is determined to make a serious run at playoff contention in 2018.
- Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers appear serious about landing a free agent starter, and they’ve reportedly gone for one of the big ones.
According to Yahoo Japan and Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic, the Brewers have made an offer to free agent pitcher Yu Darvish.
Source confirms: #Brewers have made offer to Darvish. First reported: Yahoo Japan.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 22, 2018
Darvish himself had an interesting reaction to the original report.
— ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) January 22, 2018
Previous reports had linked the Brewers to another free agent starter, but they apparently prefer Darvish. The 31-year-old struck out 209 batters with a 3.86 ERA between the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers last season, though he infamously melted down in the World Series against the Houston Astros.
The Milwaukee Brewers want to contend again in 2018, and they feel they need a frontline starter to do it.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported Monday that the Brewers have signaled their interest in free agent pitcher Jake Arrieta.
Source: #Brewers showing interest in free agent Jake Arrieta. With Jimmy Nelson expected to miss portion of 2018 after shoulder surgery, team is looking for top-of-the-rotation upgrades. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 20, 2017
#Brewers had payrolls in excess of $100 million earlier this decade; at present, commitments are ~ $32 million before arbitration raises, per Spotrac. They drew 2.6 million fans in 2017 and have the capacity to make a major addition. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 20, 2017
As noted, Jimmy Nelson, the team’s top starter last season, will miss a good part of the year with a shoulder injury, so there’s a void at the top of the rotation. Arrieta will not come cheap — even if Milwaukee has a willingness to make a big move, it remains to be seen exactly how much they’re willing to pay.
The Brewers went out of their way to make the Marlins feel at home during their weekend series in Milwaukee.
Due to recovery efforts around South Florida as a result of Hurricane Irma, the Marlins will be playing their series against the Brewers at Miller Park instead of Marlins Park. The Marlins will be considered the “home” team for the series and bat in the bottom half of innings.
The Brewers took extra steps to help make the Marlins feel at home by decorating their stadium with palm trees, flamingos, fish, and seashells.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) September 15, 2017
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) September 15, 2017
The Rays were also forced to temporarily vacate as a result of the storm. They played their series against the Yankees earlier this week at Citi Field in New York, home of the Mets. The Marlins will return to their real home for their series against the Mets that begins on Monday.
No playoff contender is flawless. 14 MLB teams are above .500 and sitting in the midst of a division or wild card race. Nearly half the teams in the league are involved in the pennant race this year, and all of them have some issues that could upend them either in September or October. Some issues are obvious, while some can’t be controlled, like injuries or inconsistency.
Here’s a look at every contending team, and what could prove to be their fatal flaw down the stretch.
Arizona Diamondbacks — Back of the bullpen
Do you trust Fernando Rodney in a big spot? The Diamondbacks do, and he has 32 saves, but the veteran reliever is a notoriously shaky figure. Despite his solid save numbers, his 4.53 ERA is the second-worst mark in the Arizona bullpen among relievers who have thrown at least 20 innings. Only mopup man T.J. McFarland has been worse. Rodney can get the job done, but you can never be completely sure what you’re going to get from him when you send him out there. In a tight playoff game, it might be heart-in-throat time.
Chicago Cubs — Rotation consistency
The Cubs still have all the pieces in place to make a big run in October, but the big difference between the 2016 juggernaut and the 2017 team that has comparatively slogged has been the starting rotation. Jon Lester and John Lackey have both seem their ERAs rise above 4, and after a strong start, trade acquisition Jose Quintana has struggled to settle in. Injuries haven’t helped at all, either. If the Cubs can get Jake Arrieta, Quintana, Lester, and Kyle Hendricks pitching consistently well, they have every chance in October. Rotation consistency is the key, and they haven’t gotten it yet.
Colorado Rockies — Pitching