Milwaukee was hopeful they could bring back Corey Hart for the 2014 season. Now that he's signed with the Mariners, the Brewers have shifted their focus back to the trade market. The club has been intermittently involved in negotiations with the Mets in an effort to acquire 26-year old first baseman Ike Davis, but the two sides haven't been able to agree on a proper return for the Mets.
New York had their eyes set on Brewers starter Tyler Thornburg, who posted a 2.03 in 66 innings in 2013, but Milwaukee has balked at including him in a trade for Davis. Coming into the season, Thornburg was one of the highest ranking prospects in the Brewers system. For an organization that doesn't often produce much in the way of starting pitchers, a guy who projects as a back-end starter has more value to them than he might in other organizations. He's not a big guy at 5'11" and 185 pounds, but he hides the ball well and employs a highly repeatable delivery. Thanks to the torque he's able to generate, he can touch the mid- to upper-90s with his fastball, regularly sitting between 92 and 93 MPH.
His moderate potential and Davis recent decline in performance seem to be the cause of the rift between the teams when it comes to Thornburg.
Davis has had varied results over the last several seasons after bursting onto the scene in 2010, with a .264/.351/.440 batting line and 19 home runs. He followed up that performance with a promising start to the 2011 season, hitting .302/.383/.545, but after sustaining an ankle injury just 36 games into the season, he was unable to return. Since then, Davis has struggled to find consistency at the plate, culminating in a dreadful 2013 season that saw him hit just .205 in 377 plate appearances.
Milwaukee has also been linked to free agent first baseman James Loney, but the fact that negotiations with the Mets are ongoing indicates that Loney's camp wants more than the Brewers would like to invest in him.