The first significant trade deadline deal went down today as the Brewers panicked and shipped three well regarded pitching prospects for declining setup man Scott Linebrink.
The Brewers were feeling the pressure to make a move with the Cubs breathing down their necks in the NL Central and the bullpen weakened by the need to shift Yovani “Lamborghini” Gallardo back into the rotation to replace the ever-injured Ben Sheets.
(Amazingly, I appear to be the first person to ever make that lame Lamborghini joke, at least according to Google)
It seems like Scott Linebrink has been the subject of trade rumors since players still wore stirrups. I mean, I’m pretty sure every man on the Red Sox 40-man roster has been rumored to be involved in a trade for Linebrink by now.
But Kevin Towers and the Padres wisely held their hand until they finally got an offer they couldn’t refuse. And this offer was pretty damn nigh unrefusable.
For starters, one of the players received from the Brewers, Triple-A reliever Joe Thatcher, is probably already a better option than Linbrink, whose peripherals have been declining and who just yesterday demoted from his role as the Friar’s primary set-up man in favor of rising star Heath Bell. Thatcher will be immediately slotted into the back end of the Padres ‘pen, and deservedly so.
But the real payoff in the trade for the Padres may will be acquiring Double-A starter Will Inman, who Baseball America ranked as the third best prospect in the Brewers system this spring, behind only Ryan Braun and the aforementioned Gallardo.
Just to give you an idea how good that makes Inman, Braun will almost certainly be named NL rookie-of-the-year this season and Gallardo is regarded as a future top-of-the-rotation who one scout recently said is .