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Inbox: Which pitchers are on Crew's radar?

Beat reporter Adam McCalvy answers fans' questions
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

If I were Brewers general manager David Stearns, I wouldn't trade top prospects for a half-season rental. Are there any starting pitchers on the trade block that are controllable for two to four years?
-- @KRice19WI via Twitter

Is rebuilding over? Is it already time to start trading the prospects Doug Melvin and Stearns have traded for in the past two years? Is it time for the Brewers to go all-in? Those are the most-often asked questions this week, and the same sort of thing that has been debated inside Stearns' front office.

If I were Brewers general manager David Stearns, I wouldn't trade top prospects for a half-season rental. Are there any starting pitchers on the trade block that are controllable for two to four years?
-- @KRice19WI via Twitter

Is rebuilding over? Is it already time to start trading the prospects Doug Melvin and Stearns have traded for in the past two years? Is it time for the Brewers to go all-in? Those are the most-often asked questions this week, and the same sort of thing that has been debated inside Stearns' front office.

I asked two of MLB.com's July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline gurus to weigh in.

"The guys that fit the mold -- and are 100 percent on the trade block -- are Sonny Gray and Jose Quintana," wrote Mark Feinsand in an email. "Gerrit Cole also is a match if the Pirates decide to trade him, though I don't think they'd move him within the division. Tampa Bay's not trading Chris Archer until the offseason."

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It would take a haul to acquire any of those players. Should Stearns go for it? Or be patient and continue the rebuilding project?

"I would say somewhere in the middle," Feinsand said. "I certainly wouldn't abandon the rebuild entirely, but if he can bring in a controllable piece or two that can improve their playoff chances this year and still help going forward, then go for it. As for rentals, I wouldn't be opposed to them if I was Stearns, but I wouldn't give up any major prospects for them. There will be plenty of players available, and there will undoubtedly be some bargains to be had."

Brewers' Top 30 Prospects

MLB.com columnist Jon Paul Morosi was not so quick to dismiss the notion of aiming for a player with an expiring contract.

"I agree that pitchers under control make more sense for the Brewers, but I could see them adding a rental if the prospect cost is low," Morosi wrote. "Lance Lynn fits into this category, as would Marco Estrada or Francisco Liriano in Toronto -- Estrada and Liriano have pitched poorly this year, but a change of scenery away from the American League East usually helps. If the Cardinals or Blue Jays, respectively, pay most or all of the salary, the risk is minimal.

"In addition to the names Mark mentioned, Edinson Volquez and J.A. Happ are pitchers under contract through 2018 who could fit with the Brewers' plans, although Volquez now has a knee injury that bears monitoring. 

"I would stress that in all of these cases, Brewers fans should not worry about how much money these pitchers are making. Salary always can be retained in these deals to mitigate the financial cost, and the Brewers' farm system is deep enough that David Stearns can be creative."

Three and a half weeks to go before July 31.

Why didn't Eric Thames make the T-Mobile Home Run Derby?
-- @maverick1265 via Twitter

Thames says he wasn't asked, and I imagine his .163/.267/.402 slash line in June didn't help. For what it's worth, Thames said he would have declined the invitation anyway.

"Personally, I don't really like doing stuff like that," Thames said. "I did that in Korea, and for two weeks, my swing was like jacked up. It's all right, I'll watch [Aaron] Judge and those guys just, like, let it eat."

Video: BAL@MIL: Thames swats a mammoth drive to right

How long a leash does Keon Broxton have with Lewis Brinson and Brett Phillips waiting in the wings? Striking out 38 percent for the year is not getting it done.
-- @PaulOlmsted viaTwitter

Yes, the strikeouts are a problem. Among qualified Major League hitters, only Joey Gallo strikes out at a higher rate than Broxton. It's one reason Broxton's weighted runs created plus stood at 97 through the end of the homestand, meaning he's slightly below league average in terms of offensive production, despite all of the good things Broxton has done. He has proven an extremely streaky player, and in his hot streaks, he can carry a team.

One more thing to remember: Broxton has 537 Major League plate appearances. The leash is not endless, but it is worth some patience to see whether he can make adjustments to cut his whiff rate.

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.

Milwaukee Brewers, Keon Broxton, Eric Thames