The Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres, two of the National League’s better teams, agreed to a trade that would send relief pitcher Scott Linebrink to the Brewers in return for three pitching prospects. The package is headed by right hander Will Inman and also includes left handers Steve Garrison and Joe Thatcher.
The Brewers Haul
The Milwaukee Brewers, already featuring a good bullpen, attempt to upgrade their late innings with the acquisition of Linebrink, 30. He will likely split eighth inning duties with Derrick Turnbow. Over the last four years, Linebrink has been one of the better setup men in all of baseball, but this season he currently sports a 3.80 ERA and six blown saves. Outside of the spacious PETCO Park, he has a 6.05 ERA.
The Padres Haul
Dealing with a bumbling offense, general manager Kevin Towers dealt his best trade commodity to upgrade the team’s farm system. Inman, 20, is tied for the minor league lead in strikeouts with 140 and is currently in Class AA. Both Garrison and Thatcher may best be suited for roles in the bullpen, though the former could become an average-to-back-end-of-the-rotation starter, if he’s lucky.
Fantasy players in H2H leagues that own Linebrink may have to drop him. He has a 6.05 ERA on the road and has seemingly lost his ability to strike hitters out. Linebrink does not carry much value anymore, but if you’re willing to gamble on Mike Maddux’s magic, go for it. Turnbow and closer Francisco Cordero will likely not lose any value.
The Padres figure to bump Heath Bell into the eighth inning, and he has done quite well this season: 2.07 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 56 2/3 innings. He also should be second in line in saves, should Trevor Hoffman go down with an injury.
The Final Word
The Brewers definitely paid a high price to get Linebrink. Inman is a talented pitcher who could contribute in the 2009 or 2010 seasons. He may not be a number one or two starter, but he should be an effect number three or four behind Jake Peavy and Chris Young. Give the advantage to Towers, who helped boost a farm system direly in need of help.
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