If you're a White Sox fan, this season has been frustrating, but you know, there's that whole Chris Sale thing to have fun with. Phillies fans have Maikel Franco, Rockies fans have Nolan Arenado. For most floundering teams, there is some bright spot to 2015.
Who the hell do the Brewers have, though? Their best hitter, and not by a little, has been Adam Lind, who has been a Brewer for 10 minutes and isn't likely to end the season in Milwaukee. Their best pitcher, and not by a little, has been Francisco Rodriguez, who they didn't even really want back in the preseason and who also might not end the season there. Their starters have a collective ERA in the neighborhood of 5.00, they've already changed managers, and they don't have one of those cool uber-prospects that all the other teams seem to have chambered and ready to release.
If I'm a Brewers fan, the only thing I really have to get excited about is the hope for some interesting trade returns. Keith Law said in his chat Thursday that the only thing for the team to do is deal everyone with return value:
With the possible exception of Jonathan Lucroy (and he's a 29-year-old catcher with injury issues this year), there really isn't anyone on the current Milwaukee roster who has much of any chance of being a factor in the team's next playoff push. It would mean a near-complete teardown, as Law said, but why the heck not? As it is, the team is within shouting distance of the worst record in the game with a payroll near $100 million; why not be that bad and cut the money down by a quarter?
Considering the Brewers' injuries so far, the team's backups have gotten plenty of play. Going forward, assuming there's any, you know, smartness in Milwaukee, you'd expect those backups to see even more time (unless of course they're moved as well, but then they stand a chance of regular playing time elsewhere, which continues my general point).
The question, then, is what current backups/middle relievers/utility guys/etc. in Milwaukee could be worth an extended look in fantasy. And I see two. Michael Blazek is the first, as he's currently rocking a 1.69 ERA and a 2.43 FIP in 37.1 innings out of the bullpen, and if Rodriguez were to leave Milwaukee with Blazek staying around, he'd likely scoop up whatever limited save opportunities came around.
The other one, though, is already interesting to me. Gerardo Parra. With Khris Davis out for an extended time and Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez missing chunks themselves, Parra is actually fourth on the team in plate appearances with 231 entering Thursady, behind only Braun, Lind and Jean Segura. In that time, he's put up a slash line of .290/.320/.442, with four home runs and five steals.
It's not new for Parra, either. He put up double-digit steals as a quasi-full-timer in Arizona 2011-13. He has some power, some batting average. And he's a strong defender. Parra's never going to be a star player — there's a reason he's been a backup more often than not — but if he finds himself continuing to get full-time play, either because the Brewers dumped off all their assets or because he was one of the dumped-off assets, Parra could help in the deeper fantasy leagues.