PITTSBURGH -- Brewers relievers and best buddies Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith expressed the same sentiment this week when asked about the growing chorus of trade rumors with their names attached."I just don't listen to it," Jeffress said. "I've got a job to do here."And Smith?"Me, personally, I don't want
PITTSBURGH -- Brewers relievers and best buddies Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith expressed the same sentiment this week when asked about the growing chorus of trade rumors with their names attached.
"I just don't listen to it," Jeffress said. "I've got a job to do here."
"Me, personally, I don't want to know," the left-hander said. "After you've been traded that first time, it's not that big of a deal anymore."
If that's the case, then the run-up to the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline will be a breeze, because both pitchers have been traded twice before. Smith was dealt from the Angels to the Royals in July 2010, and from the Royals to the Brewers in December 2013. Jeffress was traded by the Brewers to the Royals in December 2010, and from the Royals to the Blue Jays in November 2012. He re-signed with Milwaukee on a Minor League deal early in the 2014 season and worked his way back to the Majors.
Now, the duo represents the back end of the Brewers' bullpen, and two of the team's most tradeable assets. Smith entered Tuesday a 2.12 ERA in 20 appearances since returning from a knee injury, and he has limited both right-handed and left-handed hitters to a batting average below .180. Jeffress entered the day 23-for-24 in saves with a 2.35 ERA in 40 appearances.
Adding to their value, both have three years of club control after this season. Smith entered arbitration last winter as a Super 2 player and is earning $1.475 million. Jeffress' salary is just above the league minimum, but he'll be a first-time arbitration-eligible player after this season.
The Yankees hold the top two relievers on the trade market in Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, but if they opt to hold, then Brewers GM David Stearns would be even better positioned to move Jeffress and/or Smith. The list of clubs shopping for relief help is long; of the six current division leaders, only the Orioles' bullpen appears set, while the Indians, Rangers, Nationals, Cubs and Giants are considered in the market for relief. The Giants and perhaps the Cubs are looking at closers. The Cubs and Indians look like good fits for a left-hander.
Stearns' asking price is believed to be high. Earlier this month, MLB Network's Peter Gammons reported via Twitter that the Brewers asked the Marlins for 20-year-old right-hander Chris Paddack plus two other prospects for Jeffress. Miami sent Paddack to the Padres instead for Fernando Rodney.
"I guess it's a cool feeling if you're in people's talks," Smith said. "But as far as going out and reading what's happening, nah."
"If it happens, it happens," Jeffress said. "And if it doesn't, I'll be very, very happy."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.