According to JSOnline, the Milwaukee Brewers have made their second trade of the season, adding infielder Felipe Lopez from the Arizona Diamondbacks. To get the player that will likely be their new starting second baseman, the Crew gave up outfield prospect Cole Gillespie and pitcher Roque Mercedes.
Lopez is enjoying one of his finest seasons as a professional, batting .301 with six home runs and a .364 OBP. He can play second base, third base and short stop. He's been around the block despite being only 29 years old, the Brewers will be the sixth stop in his Major League career.
Lopez' best season came back in 2005 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. That season he hit .291 with 23 home runs and 85 RBI's. You may remember Lopez last year as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. He was traded to the Cards from the Nationals and in 43 games in the Central he batted .385.
What he gives the Brewers is both a switch-hitting leadoff hitter, and an everyday second baseman. He is a decent defender and second base has been his best position. Another big positive is that Lopez is a switch-hitter, eliminating at least one platoon for the Crew.
The cost, to fix one of the understated needs, is not all that high. Gillespie was a third round pick back in 2006. Coming into this season he had hit .286 in his minor league career. At Triple-A this year he was batting just .242 this season after starting the year on the disabled list. In his last couple months though, he showed signs of turning it around. In June and July he was batting .267.
As far as Gillepie's potential as a pro you'll hear differing opinions. His tools don't jump out, he doesn't have great power, speed and isn't a gold glove defender. Realistically his most likely role would have been as a fourth outfielder, good but not great.
The other player in the deal was High-A pitcher Roque Mercedes. Mercedes has been in the organization since 2004. He spent two and a half seasons in rookie ball as a starter before being moved into the pen and advancing to Brevard County this year. As a relief pitcher this season, he was sporting a 1.08 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 41.2 innings.
Could this move be a lead-up to a Roy Halladay deal? I'm of the thought process that it's not. A Halladay deal would probably take four or five more prospects out of the the system, which means the Brewers would have dealt away eight minor leaguers this year. The system would be fairly thin after such a deal.
This likely will spell the end of Mat Gamel's time with the big club for a while. Yes, we'd all love to see Bill Hall gone, but that won't happen. We'd love to see Jody Gerut gone but that isn't going to happen either. Gamel has some big holes in his swing and his confidence seems to need a boost, he's not as aggresive as when he was first called up.
Take this deal as it is. The Brewers added a starting position player to fill a hole that was a drain on the offense. The Brew Crew just got better.