The Brewers currently sit atop the NL Central with a record of 52-35. However, to win their first division title since 2011 (and inject misery into the hearts of hordes of Cubs fans), they will need to upgrade their roster as it currently stands. The Brewers have a bevy of needs across the board, most notably at either of the middle infield positions, the bullpen, or the front of the rotation. Here are some players the Brewers have either been linked to or should target in the weeks leading up to the July 31st deadline (for your peace of mind or lack thereof, a “Keston Hiura trade inclusivity” field has been added for each target):

Starting Pitcher


Noah Syndergaard and Jacob DeGrom – These two are the “elite” options that the Brewers could pursue to give their rotation a massive upgrade. DeGrom comes with 2.5 years of controllability and a sterling 1.84 ERA. He is likely a top-5 arm in the MLB, and is likely one of the very few players the Brewers would give up Keston Hiura for. Syndergaard is probably on that list as well. He has 3.5 years of controllability remaining, but comes with some injury concerns. He is an ace nonetheless, and currently sports an ERA of 3.06. Acquiring one of these arms would clear the top of the Brewers farm, but that may be the price for a deep postseason run in Milwaukee. Recent reports have pegged these two as now being off the market, but you’d have to think the Mets would pull the trigger if the offer is right. Requires Hiura: Yes and Yes

Michael Fulmer – Fulmer is a young arm that is on the peak of greatness. After an impressive rookie campaign for Detroit in 2016, many thought we would see Fulmer emerge as a bonafide ace in 2017. However, injuries hampered his effectiveness, and his struggles have seemed to dampen his outlook for the time being.  He still holds great potential as a front-end starter and would require a combination of high-level prospects to pry him away from Detroit. He currently holds a 4.22 ERA with a mediocre K/9 of 7.62, so the Tigers may want to hang onto him and try to rebuild his one sky-high value. Requires Hiura: Maybe


Middle Infield

Manny Machado – The Orioles shortstop/third baseman has been floated as a trade possibility for the Crew, and for good reason. He is an elite MVP level talent, and is currently hitting .308/.378/.561. He is poised to land a massive free agent contract in the offseason, meaning that he would only be a Brewer for half of a season. His price could be too high for Stearns to pull the trigger on a rental, but anything is possible. Requires Hiura: Maybe

Jed Lowrie – Aside from Manny Machado, Lowrie is likely the next-best infielder that could be on the trading block this July. The Athletics are just barely hanging on to their playoff aspirations, as they sit 7 games back of the second wild card in the AL. Lowrie offers the positional versatility the Brewers covet (can play both positions up the middle) and would be a drastic offensive upgrade at either middle infield position. He is currently hitting .291/.357/.498 with 14 HR, and has accrued 3.1 WAR thus far. Lowrie is on the last year of his contract making him a pure rental, but he could be part of what pushes the Brewers over the top. Requires Hiura: No

Derek Dietrich – Dietrich was connected to the Brewers a couple weeks ago as a trade target, and for good reason. The Miami utility man could fill Milwaukee’s second base hole while providing a great offensive boost. He is currently hitting .287/.346/.459, but does not grade out as well defensively. He will certainly be available as the Marlins continue their firesale, and would come with a moderate price tag that the Brewers should be able to easily meet. Requires Hiura: No

Whit Merrifield – Merrifield is yet another second base option that should be available due to the Royals rebuild. His offense has taken a slight step back this year in the power department, but he had made up for it with improved plate discipline. He would certainly be an upgrade for the Crew with his .288/.358/.411 slash line. Merrifield likely will have a higher price than Dietrich due to his 3 remaining years of controllability. Requires Hiura: No

Bullpen

Who knows. A multitude of names are available, but it ultimately will come down to price and fit for David Stearns.

Additional Possibilities

Catcher:Wilson Ramos, JT Realmuto – The price on Realmuto will be high, but the Brewers are struggling to generate offense behind the dish. Both Ramos and Realmuto are offensively sound, and don’t sacrifice any skill defensively either. Requires Hiura: Ramos – No, Realmuto – Yes

Rotation Depth: J.A. Happ – Even though Stearns has stated publicly he will look for a starter to lead the rotation, Happ would be the best fallback option should he decide to go for depth. He won’t command the sky high prospect haul of Syndergaard or DeGrom, but the price won’t be cheap to acquire his services. Requires Hiura: No

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