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Brewers Get Linebrink for Inman, Prospects

It's probably unusual for a team that's very much in the playoff hunt like the Padres are to trade a veteran like Scott Linebrink for prospects, but when the prospects are this good, you just have to do it. The Padres get pitchers Will Inman, Joe Thatcher and Steve Garrison. Garrison is a young, B-minus grade starting pitching prospect and Thatcher's a high-minors reliever who should be able to immediately join the Padre 'pen and pitch pretty well. That's already pretty good, but the real keeper here is Inman, who breezed through High A this year as a 20-year-old. He's getting by with polish and command, so he may struggle at the higher levels - if you're being pessimistic, you might think of him as a better version of Pirates prospect Todd Redmond, who has stalled somewhat at Lynchburg after posting great numbers at Hickory last year. But Inman has struck out 274 batters in 229 innings in the past two years despite being young for his levels - now isn't the time for pessimism.  

Linebrink, meanwhile, is a free agent at the end of the year and is in the midst of an unimpressive season. In 2004 and 2005 he teamed with Trevor Hoffman to form a lethal back-end bullpen combination for the Padres, but since then he's been merely okay, and this year he only has 25 strikeouts in 45 innings.

Presuming this is all there is to the deal, I give a big thumbs up for the Padres and a rare thumbs down for the Brewers. At least they should get a couple of draft picks if Linebrink leaves at the end of the season. The Brewers usually don't do dumb things like this, so if this is represents what the market is going to be like, then it's very important that the Pirates trade Salomon Torres and Damaso Marte before the deadline.

UPDATE: Paraphrase of the Mets' play by play guy just now: "The problem is that everyone in the race is looking for the same thing: bullpen help."

Thanks to Lone Star Ball.