Brewers outbid for Linebrink

Posted by Steve

Well we got our wish, apparently: A trade at the deadline to bolster the bullpen.  The only thing is they gave up a slew of pitching prospects for him.

Most notably the Brewers gave up Will Inman, their third round pick in 2005.  Inman was considered the Brewers top prospect after Gallardo was called up.  Inman made mince meat of the lower minor leagues before struggling a bit in his recent call-up to AA.  Inman isn’t the prospect that Yo was, but he wasn’t too far off.  He probably project as a number two to number four starter, although some scouts say his ceiling is as a four or five starter.

Thatcher was close to major league ready, and the Padres are actually bringing him to the majors to be their LOOGY.  He had very good AAA numbers.

Garrison had come on lately as a prospect.  He’s a 20-year old lefty.

Looking at Linebrink a little closer, and it may not be as nice as you’d expect.  He was dominant in 2004 and 2005, but not as good last year and especially this year. He has a 3.8 ERA, a 1.222 WHIP and just 5k/9 IP.  Not bad numbers for a reliever, but far from elite.  The K rate in particular is way down.  Another scary split is his home/road rate: Home ERA of 2.1, Road ERA of 6.05.

Linkbrink is also a free agent after this season.  He’s probably only the fourth or fifth best reliever on the Brewers right now, although he’s definitely a lot better than Balfour or Spurling.

You can spin this one of two ways: The Brewers gave up their top prospect for a declining reliever, or they got a still-good reliever for a prospect who hit a bit of a wall in AA.  You can argue for either side.

To me the wildcard in this whole thing is that Linebrink is a Type A free agent.  That means the get a compensatory pick after the first round and a pick from the team that signs Linebrink in the offseason.  That second pick is top-15 protected, so theoretically the Brewers could get picks 20 and 38.  That is a huge factor in this trade (picks 20 and 38 are both earlier than the slot the Brewers used to select Inman), and Doug Melvin admitted as much.  If Linebrink was not a Type A it’s safe to say I would hate this trade.  Since he is, and I trust that the Brewers can replace Inman, Garrison and Thatcher, I’m ok with it.  It makes the big league club better this year, and it gives them more picks.  Not to mention the only time I openly opposed a Doug Melvin trade, he got Francisco Cordero.

Just a little note:  The Brewers could potentially have five picks in the top 40 spots or so next season.  Cordero is a Type A free agent as well, so the Crew will hopefully restock their system in a big way next June.

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3 responses to “Brewers outbid for Linebrink

  1. i saw this at mlb.com. “He has allowed seven runs in 2 2/3 innings over his last three outings, but prior to that had a 2.55 ERA and was holding opponents to a .228 average.”

    even though that isn’t good, it obviously inflated his stats. hopefully it was just an artificial inflation.

  2. Yeah Stevo, his K-rates over the last 3 seasons were 8.89, 8.55, 8.09 and 5.00 this year. Definitly a little concerning. Also, like Dave pointed out, he definitly has been roughed up a little lately, but that happens. He had a 2.52 ERA at the break. His BB rate is in line with his career rate, but his HR rate is WAY up. It’s currently a Brandon Claussen-esque 1.88 HR/9. Either way, solid addition to the pen.

  3. This trade also makes me think the Gwynn Jr. for Otsuka rumors were bogus. Otsuka is better than Linebrink and Gwynn is still garbage.

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