Last week, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the Brewers could be looking at a complete fire sale this offseason, trading off several key components of their team that won the NL Central this year.
“Those sources, briefed on the Brewers’ discussions but not authorized to discuss them publicly, say the team is open to moving virtually any player on its roster,” Rosenthal writes. “The process effectively has begun, with the Brewers sending outfielder Mark Canha to the Detroit Tigers for a pitching prospect. A continued teardown, considering the Brewers’ current position, would not be without logic. It might even be the proper course.”
The Brewers have a plethora of players that could intrigue Alex Anthopoulos and the Braves. Corbin Burnes is entering the final year of his deal and seems to have one foot out the door. Adding a perennial Cy Young candidate like that would give the Braves an elite rotation for the 2024 campaign, something they’ve been missing in each of the last two seasons.
If the Braves were looking for a more cost-controlled option with years of control, Freddy Peralta makes a lot of sense. Devin Williams is also under contract for two more years and arguably the best reliever in all of baseball. Willy Adames would be an upgrade over Orlando Arcia at shortstop, and Christian Yelich could help the Braves fill their hole in left field if the Brewers are willing to eat some of his contract.
It’s also important to note that the Braves and Brewers completed a blockbuster trade last offseason, which turned out to be a win-win for both sides. The Braves landed an All-Star catcher in Sean Murphy, and the Brewers somehow ended up with the second best player in William Contreras, so there’s a relationship already in place.
This will be a two part series surrounding Milwaukee’s trade chips. In this piece, I’ll be taking a look at some potential packages for their starting pitchers. The second piece will focus on Williams, Adames, and Yelich.
Corbin Burnes Trade Package
Braves Receive: Corbin Burnes
It seems highly unlikely the Brewers sign Corbin Burnes to an extension, so expect him to be dealt before the start of the season. However, with just one year remaining on his contract, they won’t get nearly as much as they would have this time last year.
In this deal, Bryce Elder and Vaughn Grissom are the centerpieces. Elder might not be the All-Star pitcher he was in the first half of the season, but he’s still a major-league ready starter that pitched to a 3.81 ERA last season over 31 starts. Elder seemed to run out of gas at the end of the season, which is understandable for a pitcher that hasn’t pitched nearly that many innings in his career. On top of that, Elder isn’t a free agent until 2029. That’s quite a haul in itself in return for a pitcher that’s only under contract for one more season.
The Braves have mentioned the possibility of putting Vaughn Grissom in left field, but it’s very possible he will be used in a trade this offseason. Despite his defensive faults at shortstop, he still is an elite bat who’s ready to contribute at the major-league level as soon as 2024.
Freddy Peralta Trade Package
Braves Receive: Freddy Peralta
Brewers Receive: Bryce Elder, AJ Smith-Shawver, and Vaughn Grissom
Corbin Burnes may be the best pitcher available on the trade market this offseason, but Peralta is even more valuable because of his control. Since 2021, he owns a 3.41 ERA and 3.42 FIP with an 11.4 K/9, and he’s under team control through the 2026 season for a total of $21.5 million. That’s a bargain that’s incredibly difficult to find, but it will also make it tough for the Braves to pry him away from Milwaukee.
It’s going to take a king’s ransom to convince the Brewers to trade Peralta with three more years of control, but this is the kind of deal that might get it done. All three of these players are major-league ready and would help Milwaukee immediately.
Bryce Elder could immediately step into their starting rotation. AJ Smith-Shawver might be able to as well and has the upside to be a potential frontline arm, and Vaughn Grissom could start at a number of positions on the diamond, depending on who they move on from this offseason.
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