Well out of contention, Arizona dumps about $2 million worth of salary while netting a couple of “C” grade prospects in the process. Cole Gillespie is your prototypical tweener. He’s already 25-years old, his offensive profile fits better in center field but his lack of defensive skills limit him to an outfield corner. He did put together a strong offensive season (.396 wOBA) while battling a toe injury last year for Double-A Huntsville, but his production has been way down this year (.330 wOBA). Over the past two seasons he’s shown some moderate power and good patience. While he’s scuffled recently due to some injuries, he’s an MLB-ready fourth outfielder. As for Mercedes, he has a decent fastball/slider combo and has moved from starting to relief this past season. He’s closing games for the Brewers’ High-A affiliate and will be 23 this winter.
You would think that the quartet of Casey McGehee, Craig Counsell, Bill Hall and Mat Gamel would be enough options for second/third base, but apparently the plan is to send Gamel back to Triple-A. After terrorizing Pacific Coast League pitchers, Gamel has been striking out in 40% of his plate appearances in the majors and could stand to benefit from some more seasoning back in the minors. ZiPS projects a .331 wOBA for Lopez the rest of the season. Lopez should never play shortstop, but he won’t hurt the Brewers defensively playing second base (career UZR/150 -0.4 at second, -11.2 at short). All in all, he looks like a 1 WAR player the rest of the way.
For a minor splash, I can’t help but wonder about some of the ripples this deal could cause. The perplexing J.J. Hardy could shown the door soon, and Counsell could slide over to short while Alcides Escobar put the finishing touches on his game in the minors. Right now at least, it looks like McGehee/Counsell will form a platoon at the hot corner. There’s also some speculation that this is a preliminary move for the Brew Crew to make a move for some pitching.
This is a small win-small win deal if there ever was one. Arizona dumps some salary, the Brewers get a little better offensively while allowing their top hitting prospect to gain a little more experience.