Looking at Paul Hoynes' recent column in the Plain Dealer I am underwhelmed by the players he mentions. He mentions John Jay. I live in St. Louis where he played up to this year and he is not what we need by any stretch of the imagination. The rest of these guys are shopping in the bargain basement and I don't think that will help us win this year or next year. We may get these guys without giving up top prospects but they won't be difference makers and so I would not trade for any of them.
So, here, in my opinion, is our trade target: Ryan Braun
Yes, this guy is the face of the Brewers.
Yes, it will take a haul of prospects to get him, minimally Clevinger, Clint Frazier and Erik Gonzalez. We might even have to throw in Lonnie Chisenhall which might be acceptable if they gave us a good lefty reliever back in addition to Braun.
Yes, by the time Braun's contract ends we will regret this deal as his production by that point is likely to underwhelm his salary (just like Albert Pujols' salary looks incredibly stupid right now, given his lack of production). We will also regret the prospects we give up as they will be blossoming at just about the time Braun is declining.
But I think for that very reason the Brewers might do this deal. I think they realize in their division that they better start forgetting about the present and focusing on 5 years down the road, a time when Braun will be pretty old and his contract will have expired, anyway.
I think we can win this year and next year, and maybe the year after that, with Braun and a healthy Brantley if the rest of the team stays healthy. For that reason and the length of Braun's contract I do this deal. It is such an anti-Indians deal as we love our prospects in Cleveland but, at the same time, you rarely have all the pieces we have in place right now.
Ryan Braun is no LeBron James but I think he is the elite hitter missing in this lineup. That is all I think we need, in addition to a good lefty reliever, of course.