With Sheets and Gallardo at the to of the Brewers rotation, the Brewers starting rotation is solidified with no real need make a blockbuster move by the deadline. With the struggles of Manny Parra come the second half, there may have been a need for a 3rd or 4th starter, such as a Joe Blanton-type pitcher, although I might argue that Seth McClung filled that spot admirably. What this means for the Brewers is they are able to retain top prospect Matt LaPorta. While I believe Matt was still a half year to a year away from being an everyday starter, his presence in the organization allows for the Brewers to be more active on the trade front this year. With our "young core" getting older and hitting arbitration, the Brewers are not going to be able to afford to keep them all. LaPorta has the ability to play first base or a corner outfield position, meaning Corey Hart and Prince Fielder become available to move for a top of the rotation starter for 2009. With San Fransisco's anemic offense, it seems that prying Matt Cain from them wouldn't be too hard with either of those two being available. I think what might be a bigger part of the CC trade than some people realize is Michael Brantley.
Michael Brantley gives the Brewers a dimension that they have lacked since the departure of Pod-zilla: a bona fide base stealer. I know that Weeks and Hart have speed and the ability to steal between 20-30 bases, but Brantley looks like a guy that can give you 40-50. Imagine having a leadoff hitter that can get on second, with either his bat or his feet, with Braun and Fielder behind him. Having him in scoring position consistently would alleviate the need for Braun and Fielder to swing for the fences in order to drive in runs. This will help bring up their batting average (and RBI totals), but this also has an effect that you might not think of. With a true leadoff hitter, Rickie Weeks can move to a more natural spot in the lineup. Personally, I saw Rickie as an ideal candidate for the 5th spot in this lineup and to begin this year, his batting average with RISP and RBI numbers show that I may be right about this. But when I thought of it a little bit more, I think that Rickie has about as much power as anyone on this team (yes I mean anyone), think of the damage he could do in the two hole. With Braun and Fielder directly behind him, he could feast off of the opposing pitcher's fastballs. Think of the damage that could be done next year with this lineup (depending on who gets traded):
I realize that lineup places a lot of importance on our young players and there are those of you that will say "there's no guarantee they will be any good". But the same could have been said for Fielder, Hart, Braun and Hart (by the way, they're all all-stars).
This last part is pure speculation on my part, and I'm more throwing it out there simply as a talking point. If Gallardo stays healthy all year, there's a chance that Sheets does not injure his arm. I know Ben Sheets is made out of glass, but when you think about it, most of the games he's missed in his career are from his inner ear condition or blisters or the wind blew too hard etc... Without the presence of a true number 2 starter all year, a greater burden was placed on Ben and Ned's shoulders. With two guys that can give you 7 or 8 innings night in and night out, you may be able to pull Ben out of the game when his pitch count gets high because your bullpen is fresh. Without Gallardo, Yost was forced to push Ben a little harder to secure some wins, this extra wear-and-tear may have contributed to his arm injury. Again, Sheets' durability has been a question since 2004, but a healthy Sheets all year could provide you with one of two things come the offseason. Either Melvin makes an aggressive offer to keep Sheets in Milwaukee, or Sheets becomes one of the most desirable pitchers on the free agent market and the Brewers nab another 1st round pick in this year's draft.
I thought I'd just throw those possibilities out there, let me know what you think.