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Brewers shifting focus in post-Machado market

Milwaukee still looking for infield, starting pitching help
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- What's next for the Brewers after losing the Manny Machado sweepstakes? Trying to contain him at the plate.

Not only did they miss out on an All-Star caliber middle infielder -- a pursuit confirmed by Brewers GM David Stearns on Thursday -- but the Brewers have to play Machado's new club, the Dodgers, seven times over the next two weeks. Machado is expected to make his Dodgers debut on Friday night at Miller Park.

MILWAUKEE -- What's next for the Brewers after losing the Manny Machado sweepstakes? Trying to contain him at the plate.

Not only did they miss out on an All-Star caliber middle infielder -- a pursuit confirmed by Brewers GM David Stearns on Thursday -- but the Brewers have to play Machado's new club, the Dodgers, seven times over the next two weeks. Machado is expected to make his Dodgers debut on Friday night at Miller Park.

"The [opponent] gets a good player before you play them -- I think that's where the disappointment lies as much as anything," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "But that's going to happen over the next two weeks for a lot of teams. Players are changing teams the next two weeks, and we're going to see it a lot. I'm sure we'll see some other new names as we go into series."

Stearns confirmed reports that Milwaukee made one of the top offers to Baltimore for Machado. Asked what's next, he joked that he was "going to take the next two weeks off, let Craig do his thing and see what happens."

In truth, Stearns will keep shopping. The Brewers need offense on the middle infield and potentially at catcher. Stearns also didn't rule out shifting his focus to pitching as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches.

"There are a lot of on-going discussions this time of year," Stearns said. "Machado is probably going to be the best player traded this Deadline. I think that's probably going to be the reality, but that doesn't mean there aren't other players out there who can potentially help us, and we're going to see if we can find a fit for a deal somewhere."

The Brewers have been linked to several Twins infielders, including second baseman Brian Dozier. Despite entering the season looking to repeat their 2017 success, the Twins find themselves 7 1/2 games behind the Indians in the American League Central and will likely be sellers at the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Dozier would fill a need at second base, with Jonathan Villar on the 10-day disabled list and inconsistent options in Nate Orf, Hernan Perez and Brad Miller. While Dozier is having the worst season of his seven-year career with a .230 average, his pop (16 homers) and run-producing ability (48 RBIs) would be welcomed in the middle of the Brewers' lineup.

Other infield options include Dozier's teammate Eduardo Escobar, who, like Dozier, is eligible for free agency after the 2018 season. Escobar has a .271/.327/.507 slash line with 14 homers and a Major League-leading 35 doubles. The Brewers have also shown interest dating to last winter in Royals utility man Whit Merrifield.

Other infielders who could be traded: All-Star Scooter Gennett of the Reds, the Orioles' Jonathan Schoop and Mets' Asdrubal Cabrera.

If the Brewers use the prospects they planned to send to the Orioles for Machado on a pitcher, potential trade targets include Toronto's J.A. Happ, Texas' Cole Hamels, Miami's Dan Straily, San Diego's Tyson Ross and Tampa Bay's Nathan Eovaldi.

And with the A's acquiring Jeurys Familia from the Mets on Saturday, Zach Britton of the Orioles is the top reliever on the market.

"The Dodgers made a good trade," Stearns said. "They got a good player, they gave up a lot of talent. We'll move on and see if we can help our Major League team in another way."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Stephen Cohn is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. Follow him on Twitter @Stephen__Cohn.

Milwaukee Brewers