This trade is a head-scratcher

Posted by Steve

Immediately after the game on Tuesday, the Brewers traded Gabe Gross for minor league pitcher Josh Butler. I didn’t know much about Butler, so I probably can’t comment on whether the Brewers’ got fair value for Gross, but they probably did. After skimming over some numbers, Butler seems to be a big guy with a nice sinker who gets ground balls. He’s 23.

As for losing Gross, well, it frustrates me quite a bit. The Brewers traded a good fourth outfielder for a minor league pitcher and downgraded their MLB squad in a year where they are trying to make the playoffs. This is not likely to make a big difference if nobody gets hurt, but the Brewers could be in a lot of trouble if one of Braun, Cameron or Hart goes down for a significant amount of time. Gross offensively brings things the Brewers need more of: patience, power off the bench and left-handedness. Tony Gwynn Jr., his replacement, only brings upgrades over Gross in defense and speed (rather than, like, hitting), and if he needs to play full time the Brewers’ offense will take a hit–see here.

Melvin admitted that acquiring Butler helps replenish the system of minor league pitchers after trading for Scott Linebrink last year, but isn’t that what their compensation picks for Linebrink and Cordero are for? Why give up a solid bench player when you’re trying to contend?

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4 responses to “This trade is a head-scratcher

  1. I like the Gross trade for a couple reasons now that Gwynn is healthy:

    1. Gwynn’s batting average in the majors is .271 vs. Gross’ .243.

    2. Gwynn has much more potential to become a solid player.

    3. Although Gross was stepping it up before he got traded, he was having a terrible year. Gwynn started the year off on fire, playing a huge role in the win over the Cubs.

    It looks like Gwynn is an all around better player than Gross, especially with defense and speed like you said. When Cam comes back chances are Gross wouldn’t have gotten any playing time, even if someone got hurt.

  2. I’m going to respectfully disagree. I’ll give you the batting average comparison. However, Gabe’s career line of .243/.343/.402/.745 compares favorably to Gwynn’s career MINOR league line of .272/.350/.344/.694. For that reason alone, I doubt that Gwynn has the potential to be a more solid player. Gabe posted a .384 minor league OBP in 1900+ at bats and his minor league OPS of .833 is 139 points higher than Gwynn’s. Gwynn is beter defensively, I’ll concede that as well. His skillset (speed/defense) is useful in a 5th outfielder role, but I still think Gross is far and away the better player. I’m not the first person to say this, but if Tony Gwynn’s name was basically anything else (maybe excluding Barry Bonds Jr.) he would be out of baseball.

  3. Nick, I’m just curious as to why you think Gwynn has more potential? Is it because he’s younger?

  4. He is only a little younger than Gross, but Gwynn, from what I’ve seen is an overall better choice for the brewers.

    Its more opinion than anything. When we look back at this a month or two from now I’m confident you guys will agree. Call it a hunch?

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