Milwaukee to unload Spivey, Counsell

Junior Spivey comes to a team that has Rickie Weeks, their top draft pick in 2003 who is also a second baseman.

Updated: December 2, 2003, 10:32 AM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
Junior Spivey said he was "devastated" to learn he had been traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday as part of the deal that saw All-Star Richie Sexson go in the other direction. "I fell in love with the city, had some unbelievable friends, and the fans treated me great," he told Mark Gonzalez of the Arizona Republic. "But hey, that's (manager Bob) Brenly's team, and I understand it's a business. I knew this could be coming because they were going to cut payroll."

Junior Spivey
Junior Spivey will likely be on the move again.
Spivey, who made the All-Star team himself in 2002, was shipped along with Lyle Overbay, Craig Counsell and Chad Moeller all of whom experienced diminished playing time in the second half, Gonzalez notes. Spivey comes to a team that has in its possession Rickie Weeks, their top draft pick in 2003 who is also a second baseman like Spivey. Weeks was the second player chosen in the amateur draft overall and comes with serious college hitting credentials. Gonzalez speculates that this might mean Spivey is only going to serve as trade bait for another deal.

The presence of Counsell in the deal is an interesting one as well. There is the local angle in that he grew up near Milwaukee. On the other hand, there is his salary to consider. Counsell makes over $3 million per season. The Brewers have stated that they intend to cut their payroll from $40 million to $30 million. This would mean that Counsell, a utility infielder, would be making ten percent of the team's salary. That does not seem like the best way to spend available resources, does it? Counsell has his uses and he can be a handy guy to have around, but at the money he makes he is more a luxury item than a necessity. A team with a larger payroll like the D'backs could absorb his salary and make use of him. In order for the Brewers to get the most out of him, they would have to make him a regular and he does not produce enough to make that work at any position other than shortstop. What is more, he is 33 years old and has only played enough to qualify for the batting title twice in his career. It will be interesting to see how the Brewers go about using him.

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at