Martin Maldonado exceeded expectations when he was called upon to replace injured Jonathon Lucroy and is now an above-average backup catcher for the Brewers.
Milwaukee would be wise to trade him.
After only hitting .198 in Triple-A, the young catcher has upped his game in the majors. As of July 15, Maldonado has a .283 average with seven home runs and 25 RBI. Although more known for his defensive skills, his offensive output with the Brewers has completely overshadowed his poor minor league stats.
With Jonathon Lucroy signed through 2016, Maldonado won't get to see much action—unless another injury mishap finds Lucroy. Having a stellar backup catcher is valuable, but trading Maldonado could prove more beneficial.
Maldonado still has room for improvement as he is just 25 years old, but his time with the Brewers has opened many eyes. Maldonado would be a valuable asset to teams in search of a catcher.
The New York Yankees would be a perfect fit for Maldonado. With Russell Martin's age rising and batting average dipping, the Yankees might look for alternative options. If the Brewers are willing to give up their talented backstop, the Yankees would almost surely be interested.
The Brewers are in the midst of a devastating and disappointing season. With their playoff hopes dashed, they will be looking toward next year to compete.
Milwaukee is in need of pitching—starting and relief. They wouldn't give up Maldonado for just some long reliever or average fifth starter. In order for teams to pry away Maldonado, they will need to give up a proven late-inning reliever or a solid middle-of-the-rotation pitcher. The asking price may be to steep, but Maldonado has great potential.
If the Brewers are smart, they'll wait to trade Maldonado during the offseason. Playoff teams won't be willing to trade a late-inning reliever, since they become more valuable in the postseason.
Maldonado is a great bat to have on the bench, which might halt the Brewers from trading him. But he is better than a backup catcher and deserves to be utilized differently.
By exceeding expectations, Maldonado has become an extremely valuable trade chip for Milwaukee. The Brewers will have to decide whether the return for the 25-year-old would be worth it.
In all likelihood, the Brewers won't trade Maldonado—at least not for awhile. He is still a relatively cheap player and has many more arbitration years coming up. But if the Brewers truly believe in Lucroy and are willing to be bold and take some risks, they will offer Maldonado to the highest bidder.