Rolling Out the Barrel: Chasing an Up-Hill Dream

It’s February, folks, which means that the last baseball-less month is in our wake. Pitchers and catchers report two weeks from today, which means we’re just 14 days away from new pictures of some of our favorite ballplayers working out in the Arizona sun. New general manager David Stearns continues to reshape the franchise, making another major move on Saturday evening. While most of the moves he’s made thus far have been just for the future, the trade this past weekend is likely to pay dividends right away with the chance to pay off big down the line. Let’s roll it out:

Baseball Prospectus || Transaction Analysis: Segura-phobia (Feb. 1, 2016)

The Baseball Prospectus staff, led by Rian Watt (@rianwatt) and BP Milwaukee’s own Ryan Romano (@triple_r_) broke down last weekend’s trade between Milwaukee and Arizona, which sent shortstop Jean Segura and right-hander Tyler Wagner to Arizona for infielder Aaron Hill, righty Chase Anderson and infield prospect Isan Diaz. The BP mothership has some of the best analysis of major trades available on the web and it’s FREE, so make sure you check it out if you haven’t already. Watt, also found at BP Wrigleyville, provides the bulk of the analysis from the Arizona side, while Romano talks about the impact the two major leagues the Brewers got in the trade could have this season. Bret Sayre (@fantasyguru) also analyzes the trade from a fantasy perspective for both sides.

FanGraphs || The Brewers’ Quiet Upside Play (Feb. 1, 2016)

Heard enough about the Brewers’ trade this weekend? No? Of course not. Jeff Sullivan (@based_ball) offers his take on the deal, in which he praises Milwaukee for acquiring perhaps the least-talked-about player in the deal, Anderson. While many have discussed the potential of Diaz to offer long-term value to Milwaukee in this trade, Sullivan discusses the underrated potential of Anderson, who lacks the upside of a front-line starter but could absolutely provide value to the Brewers as a mid-to-back of the rotation starter for the next several years and might very well be a part of the next competitive Brewers team.

SB Nation || The teams built to win now, and the teams built to win later around baseball (Feb. 2, 2016) 

Grant Brisbee (@mccoveychron), noted creator of good #content and devotee of extra-long headlines, throws every team on his X-Y graph of “nope-should contend” and “window shutting-window opening.” Milwaukee is all the way over the the left on the X-axis, perhaps underestimating their chances this year a tiny bit — while they’re certainly not in a position to compete for a playoff spot in 2016, they should be better than last year and I don’t expect them to be a bottom-five team again. Brisbee also places the Brewers just to wrong side of the window closing/opening Y-axis, which I quibble with, now that Milwaukee’s farm system ranks among the league’s best. Brisbee places a stronger emphasis on major-league ready talent, however, which isn’t necessarily an incorrect take, since none of Milwaukee’s top prospects are slated for starting jobs on Opening Day.

Brew Crew Ball || Matt Garza and the $13 million shutdown (Feb. 4, 2016) 

Pinch hitting over at Brew Crew Ball, Kyle Lobner (@BrewFrostyMug) talks about one of the wrinkles in Matt Garza’s complicated deal that might have been the cause of the divide that widened between the 32-year-old hurler and the franchise. Click on over to Lobner’s article for the full rundown, but the tl;dr is that Garza has some serious ground to make up over the next two years to see the full value of his potentially $13 million option in 2018. When the issue of finances comes up the blame from the fans almost always falls squarely on the player for being selfish, but baseball is a business just like any other, and the owners are certainly not struggling to put food on their tables. While Garza’s performance certainly merited a demotion to the bullpen last year, if he believed that his contract situation played into the decision to pull him from the rotation, it’s not hard to understand why he was so upset — the five starts he missed down the stretch in 2015 could be monumental in determining the value of his option.

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