Two National League playoff contenders hooked up on a reliever-for-prospects trade Wednesday night, with the Brewers landing veteran Scott Linebrink and the Padres getting three young pitchers in return. Two of the prospects–righthander Will Inman (third round) and lefthander Steve Garrison (10th round)–were
|The Big Leaguers|
The Padres claimed Linebrink on waivers from the Astros in May 2003 and the righthander’s fortunes reversed dramatically. A middling reliever to that point in his career, Linebrink used his hard sinker, slider and splitter (with an assist from
The centerpiece of the deal from San Diego’s perspective, Inman, 20, leads the minor leagues with 140 strikeouts, though he hadn’t yet broken through against Double-A competition (1-5, 5.45 in eight starts) like he had against A-ballers. He went 10-2, 1.71 with a 134-24 K-BB ratio for low Class A West Virginia in 2006, and followed that up by going 4-3, 1.72 with a 98-23 K-BB for high Class A Brevard County to begin this season. Though not overpowering, Inman, who was drafted from a
Garrison, 20, attended the elite Hun School of Princeton, N.J.,
Thatcher, the old man of this bunch at 25, has moved quickly to Triple-A since joining the Brewers in July 2005. Undrafted coming out of
With the emergence of Heath Bell and a sizable advantage in NL bullpen ERA–almost half a run, in fact–the Padres felt comfortable dealing from strength to acquire three young arms. And while Linebrink has been quite dependable, he also averaged 81 innings per season from 2003-2006, and it would only be natural for the Padres to wonder how many bullets he has left after his mediocre start to 2007. The Brewers, meanwhile, bolster their playoff chances against the hard-charging Cubs by adding a power reliever to go with closer Francisco Cordero and set-up man Derrick Turnbow.