Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Mat Gamel recently aggravated his surgically repaired right knee and will miss the entire 2013 season.  Gamel’s name was one mentioned in 2008 in connection to the CC Sabathia trade, but we all know that the Indians ended up acquiring Matt LaPorta, Michael Brantley, Rob Bryson and Zack Jackson for the left-hander.  The Brewers (at least for now) are saying that they will try to find a solution internally to replace Gamel.  They may end up looking outside of the organization though; Mike Carp, recently designated by Seattle, was one person they were supposedly considering before he went to the Red Sox.  (Carp was actually involved in the 2008 trade that sent Franklin Gutierrez to Seattle and brought Joe Smith and Luis Valbuena to Cleveland; he and Ezequiel Carrera were two of the players that went from the Mets to Seattle).  The Indians will have a number of first baseman in camp this spring that will probably be blocked by Mark Reynolds and Nick Swisher.  With the signing of Bourn, there may not be much room on the roster for an extra first baseman.  A utility player that can play around the infield (and possibly the outfield) will be a much more logical choice.  Could the Brewers and the Indians match up on a trade for one of these spare first basemen?

The Indians still have Matt LaPorta, who is no longer on the 40-man roster and was out of options anyway.  They also have Mike McDade, acquired from Toronto after the Tribe claimed him off waivers, and Chris McGuiness, who was a Rule 5 pick from the Texas Rangers.  They also have Jesus Aguilar in the pipeline, although he is probably not major league-ready at this point and would not be of immediate assistance to the Brewers.  With the Indians’ offseason additions, their most immediate need is obviously starting pitching.  Unfortunately, I don’t really see a way they could match up with the Brewers in a way that would provide a significant upgrade.  The Brewers had their own pitching struggles last season; their staff ranked 13th in the National League in ERA and runs allowed and their bullpen had the worst ERA in the NL.  They may end up relying on young, inexperienced starters to fill out their rotation themselves; any surplus they may have may not be better than some of the Indians’ internal options.  The more talented arms may come at a cost much greater than a McDade or a McGuiness.  It’s too bad (for the Brewers) that the Russ Canzler musical chairs game stopped as soon as it did.

There is one other option that wouldn’t necessarily benefit the Indians that much, but may be nice to see.  Work out a way for Matt LaPorta to return to Milwaukee, the organization that drafted him.  It’s obvious that he’s not going anywhere in Cleveland; that was solidified by all of the Indians’ offseason acquisitions.  Let him fill in for Gamel, his teammate on the 2008 Double-A Huntsville Stars.  LaPorta’s OBP is usually pretty atrocious, but he does have some power and could probably hit for a somewhat respectable average.  He’s one of those people that I’ve always wanted to see succeed; not just because he was the centerpiece for the Sabathia deal, but because he seems like a good guy.  It has to be disappointing to go from the seventh pick overall in the draft, to someone who is not even on a 40-man roster anymore.  He’d be a cost-effective option for the Brewers, and it would give him one final chance with the organization that drafted him.  I really can’t bear to see him bat in an Indians uniform at this point, but I’ve always hoped that maybe he could stick somewhere else.  Even though the Indians and Brewers may not match up in a trade, there is still a solution that may benefit multiple parties.

14 Comments

  • Mary Jo says:

    Ack, the cynical side of me says: 1) we make a deal with the Brewers to send LaPorta over to them; 2) we end up facing the Brewers in the World Series and 3) yup, LaPorta gets the game and series winning HR in Game 7. *facepalm*

    Since the above scenario is pretty unlikely it would be nice to see LaPorta work out somewhere. He says his hip isn’t bothering him now – it just might be his lucky year.

    OT but I’m guessing the snow will be gone before you get to AZ? Saw picks of Salt River Fields on the http://www.ktar.com website and OMG!!!

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      This is so weird, but in 2008 I had a dream the Indians went to the World Series and played the Brewers. But pitching for the Indians was Scott Lewis, that guy who got hurt and isn’t even in baseball anymore. I’m not sure if that voids the entire dream, but I guess it could!

      I hope it warms up a little. I remember in 2010 it was pretty cold when I was there…I had on a sweatshirt and jeans most days. In fact, one of the games even got rained out. I guess I’ll just cross my fingers that no more of those big winter storms move through!

  • David says:

    How do we match up with the Dodgers and all of their excess starting pitching?

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      It’s an interesting though, but I was thinking “what do the Dodgers even need that they couldn’t just buy?” Then I heard that they had a strong interest in Chris Perez this offseason. If he’s involved, it may get a deal done.

  • Chris Burnham says:

    I’m for it. Just never worked out here. Consequences be damned.

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      Yeah, plus I’m wondering if he’d have better luck in the NL. Not that he’ll suddenly be able to hit the pitches he can’t hit, but the change of scenery may help.

  • joey says:

    josh beckett for cris perez seems to make sense to me.

    • Mary Jo says:

      Beckett is an arrogant head-case with slipping skills. His contract for this year and next are $15.75M a year and, IMO, he is nowhere near worth it.

      • joey says:

        true…he is arrogant,just like most athletes,and he makes way more money than he deserves,just like most athletes,that being said last year when he got traded away from boston(a place he didnt want to be)he pitched to a 2.93 era in dodger blue,plus obviously him and francona have a past,not to mention the dodgers could use an upgrade at shortstop,and closer…that makes it a perfect match…just my opinion tho.

        • Mary Jo says:

          Going AL to NL is almost always an advantage for a pitcher, it’s an easier league when the pitcher has to hit. Plus, Beckett’s arrogance isn’t the “pride in your skills” kind, it’s the “I’m special and I don’t have to play by the rules” kind. There are many stories about him being a problem child – and as someone who LIVES in the Boston media area I’ve heard most of them. He butted heads with Francona the last couple years Tito was the Boston Manager. I’d be hesitant to have Beckett playing for someone he disrespected last time around. Josh Beckett is to Tito Francona like Milton Bradley was to Eric Wedge. We don’t need that kind of drama. ;-)

          • joey says:

            true about the nl to al thing,but he still would be better than any of are starters tho…i didnt know tito had a problem with him…i thought it was just the boston media,and fans…cuz of the chicken an beer stuff.

          • joey says:

            im just trying to think of some trades that make a little sense…cuz i think with one more piece like beckett(stanton would be a dream,and he will be traded by the deadline cuz his arbitration srarts next year,but yanks probly get him tho) we could be buying playoff tix…anyway if a team is gonna trade a good pitcher away its either cuz he has baggage or a team is to cheap to pay him…so whom ever we can get wont be perfect,but he/they just might the get us to where we want to be…tribe just won their 1st game of the year…reds are apealing tho…lol go tribe.

    • Chris Burnham says:

      Forget Beckett. Get Clayton Kershaw! :-D

      • joey says:

        lol…kershaw,and grienke arent going anywhere,but beckett could probly be had for perez,aviles,or cabrera,and some good prospects.