This is a solid deal for both clubs. Starting with Arizona, Lopez is a free agent at the end of the year, and the D'Backs are clearly out of contention. They have Augie Ojeda and Ryan Roberts, who are definitely downgrades, but can man second base well enough for the remainder of the season. In return a player that likely would leave after this lost season, Arizona got a couple pieces that could be a part of their future.
Long-time readers of the Musings may remember Cole Gillespie from my very first watchlist back in 2006. Cole, now 25, is in his first year in AAA and doing so-so. He started the year with a wrist injury, and perhaps that is part of the reason for a sluggish year. Gillespie does a little bit of everything, but not a lot of anything. He definitely is no Justin Upton, and I doubt he will jump over Gerardo Parra or Chris Young on the outfield depth chart either. He looks like a backup outfielder for the D'Backs starting next year, unless Chris Young fall flat on his face again like he did at the start of this year.
Roque Mercedes is a 22-year-old power arm in advanced A ball. Arizona may move him to AA, which is what I would do. He has dominated in the bullpen so far this year and definitely profiles as a reliever at this point. As a bullpen arm at his age and level, I am not ready to say he is a budding closer. However, a dominating second half in AA may change my mind. Roque certainly has promise, and a legitimate chance to reach the majors in the next two or three years.
All in all, the Diamondbacks got a couple prospects that have a good chance to become useful role players for several years in exchange for a second baseman they only had for a couple more months. It is not a home run of a deal, but it was one certainly worth making.
As for the Brewers, they are in the thick of the playoff hunt right now. They have Casey McGehee at second base after Rickie Weeks went down with a season-ending injury. So far, McGehee has been sensational, batting well over .300 with power. However, McGehee's OPS of nearly .900 is over 200 points higher than his career .774 OPS in the minors. There is no way he keeps up his current pace. It is a miracle he has done as well as he has for this long. Felipe Lopez is definitely an upgrade at second base, and they gave away none of their prized prospects.
However, Milwaukee could play Lopez elsewhere. He could certainly play shortstop, which makes trading JJ Hardy a little easier. Lopez could take Hardy's place the rest of the season, leave in free agency, and the spot would be top-prospect Alcides Escobar's in 2010. Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin pointed out Felipe's defensive versatility when the deal was officially announced.
If JJ Hardy is now a little more available, that is good news for the Mariners. It would take Jarrod Washburn or Erik Bedard to acquire him, but that would be a good deal. Ryan Rowland-Smith has put together three strong starts in a row in AAA, so he could take a spot in the rotation. On top of that, Brandon Morrow should be ready to come back before the end of the year too. There are answers in the rotation, and I doubt both Washburn and Bedard are coming back in 2010. Hardy would upgrade the Mariners this year, and also be a long-term answer at a spot where the team has no internal answers remotely close to ready.
You know Jack Z is talking to the Doug Melvin. They are good friends. Surely JJ Hardy has come up. Surely Bedard and Washburn have too. It is surprising a rumor hasn't surfaced involving those names yet, but maybe one will now.