The Brewers made a surprising move today, sending Chris Dickerson to the New York Yankees in exchange for RHP Sergio Mitre.
I have to say, this trade really shocks me. If there was one position the Brewers were overwhelmingly questionable at, it was center field. In Dickerson, the Brewers had a perfect option to replace Carlos Gomez if he struggled out of the gate again.
While the trade may shock me, I do understand what the Brewers were trying to accomplish in this deal. With Zack Greinke banged up for a couple of regular season starts, the Brewers were scrambling for some depth at starting pitching. In Mitre, the Brewers are getting another option who has starting pitching experience in the major leagues. However, experience doesn't necessarily translate to success.
While Mitre, 30, hasn't been completely useless in his career, he hasn't exactly been tearing it up either. Over the last three seasons, he is striking out just five batters per nine innings. He has been able to keep his walks down (2.51 BB/9), but still isn't blowing anyone away. During that same stretch, Mitre has a FIP near five. The one thing Mitre has been solid at is his ability to keep the ball on the ground (50.9% last season). If he is able to keep those walks down and the ball on the ground, he should be somewhat useful in Miller Park.
While weighing the positives and negatives in this deal, it's pretty clear the Brewers got the worse of this trade. By trying to salvage a couple of starts out of Mitre, the Brewers have really put themselves in trouble in the outfield. With Corey Hart likely headed to the DL, the Brewers outfield other than Braun and Gomez will consist of Brandon Boggs, Jeremy Reed and Mark Kotsay. That's troublesome to say the least. If anything, I was excited to see Dickerson get regular playing time while Hart was out.
The Brewers had internal options who were just as good, if not better than Mitre. Marco Estrada has looked very good this spring and likely loses his chance with this trade. Even if he were to come out and struggle, it would've likely been for only a couple of starts. Why deal a need for something that isn't as necessary.
In the grand scheme of things, this trade may not make or break the Brewers 2011 season. However, downgrading at positions that are very frail to begin with is never a good decision. The Brewers have been linked to Nyjer Morgan and I'm really hoping something gets done on that end. Call me crazy, but I'm just not that confident in the center field with what the Brewers currently have.