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Rebuild is on after Brewers’ deadline deals

August 5, 2015

Not trading with the New York Mets may prove to be the best move the Milwaukee Brewers made last week. But the moves they did make weren’t bad, either.

When the Mets decided against acquiring Carlos Gomez for Zach Wheeler and Wilmer Flores, it opened the door for the Brewers to complete an even bigger — and better — deal, sending Gomez and Mike Fiers to the Houston Astros. They got four top prospects in return, who rank second (Brett Phillips), fourth (Domingo Santana), 15th (Josh Hader) and 28th (Adrian Houser) on the Brewers’ top prospect list.

They followed that up by dealing outfielder Gerardo Parra to the Baltimore Orioles for right-hander Zach Davies, who ranks 11th on the list, right behind 2014 first-round pick Kodi Medeiros. That’s four top-15 prospects acquired in less than 24 hours.

Phillips, a 21-year-old five-tool outfielder, ranks 39th overall in MLB.com’s top 100 prospects. He was the Astros’ minor league player of the year last season and has started to show more power over the last two years. He’s having an excellent 2015 season, hitting .317/.377/.543 with 16 home runs, 71 RBIs and 15 stolen bases over 101 games at Classes A and AA. He could start in center field within a couple of years, or slide over to right field with his well-above-average arm.

Santana, a boom-or-bust-type power hitter, ranks 87th overall among MLB prospects and has enough raw power to drive the ball out of the park in any direction. He’s hitting .322/.424/.574 with 16 home runs and 63 RBIs over 78 games at Class AAA. A likely September callup candidate, Santana also has a strong arm in the outfield.

In Hader, Davies and Houser, the Brewers brought in three starters that could be part of the rotation in the near future. None of them profile as front-of-the-rotation starters, but they could fit in well as Nos. 3, 4 or 5 starters, and add to a pretty good haul for general manager Doug Melvin and the Brewers.

In trading away Gomez, Fiers and Parra, they brought back five upper-level prospects that could be integral pieces of the team within a couple of years. Most important, they didn’t go for the quick fix.

Yes, they acquired players that are mostly just a year or two from the majors, but the Brewers showed they’re committed to a rebuild. These aren’t proven players they’re bringing back. These are high-upside prospects that they’ll look to develop into major league stars in the next couple years.

This team hasn’t been close to contending this season and likely won’t next year. But come 2017 or ’18, these deals could have them right back in the National League Central race.

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