Zack Greinke: For Sale

On July 19th, Milwaukee Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin looked ahead to his team’s schedule and proclaimed to the underlings in his front office that if the Brewers were to lose more than they won in the next six games, they would have to be sellers ahead of the July 31st trade deadline.

The Brewers proceeded to get swept by both the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies in consecutive three game series. There’s no more pretending otherwise, Zack Greinke is available.

According to Melvin:

We’re taking phone calls. We’ve been working here. I’m in the office in the ‘war room’ already. It’s a busy week. At this point we have to listen to opportunities to improve the ball club for the future and still try to win ball games now. There’s a lot of teams that make contact. You try to narrow the list down in that regard. You take the serious ones.

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel chimes in by looking at all of the potential suitors and listing the prospects that would interest the Brewers. He lists the Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals, Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox along with prospect names like Martin Perez, Justin Grimm, Julio Teheran, C.J. Cron, Zach Lee, Allen Webster, Anthony Rendon, Anthony Ranaudo and Matt Barnes.

With all this attention on Greinke, and the prospect haul that he’s likely to return to the Brewers in a trade, it’s easy to forget that he’s not the only player in Milwaukee that could fetch a handsome return. Moving third baseman Aramis Ramirez, the perennially underrated Corey Hart, and the reliable back up catcher George Kottaras are all options. The team would also love to move starter Randy Wolf and reliever Francisco Rodriguez, but poor performances of late plus oversized contracts mean that Milwaukee would most likely have to eat so sizeable a chunk of their respective salaries as to render any deal worthless.

As of right now, the Brewers have a little more than $50 million committed to next season. If they can move a little bit of extraneous salary and remain willing to spend somewhere close to the $98 million in total payroll they’re spending this season, the team could have the dollars to make a couple of clever free agent acquisitions this coming off season. Of course, this isn’t taking into account the ten players on the current roster who will be eligible for arbitration next year, some of whom are definite non-tender candidates.

It appears as though the 2013 Milwaukee Brewers will be a very different team from the one fielded through the majority of the 2012 season, and putting next year’s club together begins this week. We’ve talked a lot about the Philadelphia Phillies, Miami Marlins and Houston Astros as being the teams for which this year’s trade deadline is the most important, but with the Brewers joining the list of sellers, they’re most likely vaulted to the front of that list.

It’s going to be a very interesting and important final week of July in Milwaukee this year.