Why the Brewers aren’t necessarily going “all in” with these recent moves

The Milwaukee Brewers and general manager David Stearns are back at it again. The club is the talk of the off-season right now after trading for Miami Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich and signing former All-Star outfielder Lorenzo Cain as a free agent Thursday night.

Milwaukee still has a crowded outfield, which means that more moves will be likely to come before the start of spring training and players such as Domingo Santana, Brett Phillips, and Keon Broxton could be on the move. Despite all of these transactions, though, the Brewers aren’t necessarily going all in with a win-now mentality.

Here are some of the reasons why the Brewers didn’t mortgage their future and are not only going to contend for a playoff spot this season, but for a World Series for the next five years.

Trading for Yelich cost Milwaukee its top prospect in Lewis Brinson and other highly ranked prospects in Isan Diaz (6th), Monte Harrison (14th), and Jordan Yamamoto (21st). Yelich is the player right now that the Brewers had hoped Brinson could become and the one Miami is banking on him becoming.

The 23-year-old Brinson spent some time in the majors last season, but struggled when given the chance to play. At 26 years old, Yelich has been playing in the big leagues for five years, and is coming off a season in which he hit .282 with 18 home runs and 81 RBIs. He did that while hitting at Marlins Park, a much bigger stadium than Milwaukee’s Miller Park.

Milwaukee included 21-year-old Diaz in the deal and was able to do so because of the depth at its middle infield spots. The Brewers currently have Orlando Arcia at shortstop and are hoping for a bounce back season from Jonathan Villar at second base. The Brewers also have their seventh-ranked prospect in Mauricio Dubon, who is expected to see time at the big league level this season. Milwaukee also has another top prospect, Jean Carmona (13th) at that position.

The 22-year-old Harrison was another prospect that became expendable because of the depth at the outfield position. Harrison had a big season last year between low and high-A. He was still a ways away from the big leagues at this point in his career.

The last player involved in the trade, 21-year-old Jordan Yamamoto is coming off a good season in high-A with Carolina, but was among the organization top-10 pitching prospects.

Yelich will be under contract through a good chunk of his prime. He won’t be eligible for free agency until 2022. Yelich will command the most money during the 2021 season, a season in which he will make $15 million. Milwaukee basically nailed down an All-Star caliber player for a reasonable price during the prime of his career.

Many fans have questioned the signing of Cain, especially after trading for Yelich. Yes, the Brewers still have a crowded outfield. Yes, Cain turns 32 years old during this upcoming season. Yes, he’s making an average of $16 million per year over the next five season with this new deal.

What many people don’t know is that is that every Major League Baseball owner was given $50 million due to the deal that Disney struck with the league related to streaming and marketing. This means that Milwaukee’s owner, Mark Attanasio, could put that money towards the Brewers team salary. In the past, Attanasio hasn’t hesitated to spend money when he feels the team can contend and these moves suggest he does.

The Brewers could essentially use that money to pay for part of Cain’s $80 million contract. This would leave Milwaukee on the hook for $30 million over the next five years, which makes it a much more team-friendly deal at $6 million per year over five years. Under the ownership of Attanasio, the Brewers have seen their team salary rise as high as $110 million. The Brewers expected salary is around $90 million for the upcoming season, which should leave the Brewers with roughly $20 million dollars a year to spend on future signings, extensions, etc. The Brewers still have financial flexibility to make future moves.

Brewers fans are a winning starved bunch and just seeing progress from off-season moves like these can lead to this kind of “all in” thinking by fans. The moves that Stearns and the Brewers made yesterday by no means show that the Brewers are in the “win now” mode. These two transactions are just another step in the rebuild and the push for getting to the World Series in the near future. Milwaukee definitely added better players to their roster yesterday, but still have a farm full of prospects, financial flexibility, and time to build towards championships.

Report: Brewers have put together trade package for Yelich

According to Sirius XM Radio Host Craig Mish the Milwaukee Brewers have put together a trade offer for Miami Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich.

The report was later confirmed by Joe Frisaro, the MLB.com reporter for the Marlins.

Frisaro reports that the Marlins have an interest in Milwaukee prospect Lewis Brinson. Brinson is the top prospect in the Milwaukee system, according to MLB.com. He made his Major League debut last season, playing in 21 games. Brinson had a slash line of .106/.236/.277, totaling two home runs and three runs batted in.

Yelich has expressed his interest in being traded from the Marlins after they have already sold off key players in Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, and Marcell Ozuna. Last season he hit 18 home runs while driving in 81 runs and posting a 3.9 Wins Above Replacement (WAR).

Yelich has four years remaining on a seven-year deal worth $49.57 million. He also has a $15 million dollar option for the 2022 season. His 2018 salary is $7 million.

Report: Brinson out 4-6 weeks

The Milwaukee Brewers top prospect Lewis Brinson left Tuesday night’s game for Triple-A Colorado Springs with a left leg injury. Brinson was seen with a noticeable limp after coming up lame while running to first base. His injury didn’t look good as it happened, and he was later pinch-hit for an inning later.

According to a report by the Milwaukee Brewers beat writer Adam McCalvy, Brinson will miss 4-6 weeks with a strained left hamstring. This could potentially be the rest of his season, and the chance to be re-called for September call-ups.

Brinson had two stints at the major league level this season with the Milwaukee Brewers. In his second stint, he preformed at a much higher level than he did in his first. Brinson was having a big season in Triple-A Colorado Springs prior to the injury. He was batting .331 with 13 home runs and 48 RBIs in 76 games this season.

What this Brewers offense is missing

The Brewers have undoubtedly played better than anyone expected this season, and are still in the hunt for the National League Central title. This has lead to Brewers general manager David Stearns making some moves to sure up the Milwaukee bullpen, which emerged as the team’s weakest unit.

The team has struggled since the All-Star break going 9-14 in that time. The starting pitching has been relatively good all season, and the bullpen has made strides as of late. What is really plaguing the Brewers is the fact that the offense isn’t hitting home runs and not scoring runs in general.

David Stearns mentioned how he would continue to look at every option available to improve this ball club. I’m sure he’ll continue to scour the waiver wire and look to make deals during the waiver trade deadline.  He could also continue to bring up younger players from the minor league in hopes of a spark. Which might not really happen until September.

Lewis Brinson and Brett Phillips are two highly touted prospects, but both have shown that the Brewers need to be patient with their progression as they’ve both struggled in their limited time at the big league level.

There has been a lot said lately about how the Brewers have struggled to score runs especially when they aren’t hitting home runs. That is true, but the team is struggling to even get on base at the same time. What I think this Brewers team is missing is a true lead-off hitter. Jonathan Villar was the Brewers lead-off man for most of last season, but he has been anything but productive so far this season.

Villar is hitting .216 this season with 8 home runs and 32 RBIs. He does have 20 stolen bases, but has shown a lack of concentration on the bases too many times in his career. He has also struck out 111 times this season, which is over 34% of his at-bats. His on-base percentage of .276 is terrible for a traditional lead-off hitter. He has also committed 11 errors this season, which doesn’t help his case.

Eric Sogard has also seen quite a bit of time in the lead-off spot since mid-May. He was fitting the role nicely up until he went on the disabled list just before the All-Star break. Since returning to the lineup a little more than two weeks ago, he has really struggled. Since July, Sogard is a combined 3-39 for a batting average of .077 during that time period. The Brewers have to monitor his playing time because he is coming off of knee reconstruction surgery.

The Brewers don’t really have many other options. Eric Thames and Domingo Santana have seen some time at the top of the order, but Craig Counsell and the Brewers would prefer them lower in the order. Keon Broxton has also gotten starts in the lead-off spot, but has struck out at too high of a clip to be a good candidate for the position. The Brewers could try Orlando Arcia at the top spot in the order, but Craig Counsell seems content with batting him in the seventh or eighth spot.

Without a consistent lead-off hitter, the Brewers offense will continue to struggle as long as they aren’t hitting the long ball. For my money, I’d pull the trigger on calling up top prospects Lewis Brinson and/or Mauricio Dubon and let them find their swings at the major league level.

 

 

 

 

Brewers make first move post-trade deadline, recall Keon Broxton from Triple-A

The Brewers made their first roster move since yesterday’s trade deadline. Milwaukee recalled Keon Broxton from Triple-A Colorado Springs, he was previously sent down on July 22nd after having a mediocre first-half of the season. Broxton was also sent down to make room for Eric Sogard, who returned from the disabled list after suffering an ankle injury.

Broxton was hitting .218 with 14 home runs and 38 RBIs for the Brewers. The biggest concern with Broxton was his inability to put the ball in play. He had a lot of swings and misses, and was striking out at a clip of 38% of his at-bats. The Brewers have since used multiple players in center field. Prized prospects Lewis Brinson and Brett Phillips have had opportunities to play in center in the absence of Broxton. Both have shown improvement in their second stint in the major leagues.

In seven games in Triple-A,  Broxton was hitting .385 with one home run and seven RBIs, he also stole four bases. He will be taking the spot of Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who the Brewers designated for assignment a day after selecting his contract from Triple-A. The Brewers are hoping Broxton found his swing in the ten days he spent in the minor leagues.

Recap: Brewers July trades

Brewers  general manager David Stearns remained active all the way up to the deadline and ended up pulling off three trades in July. The Brewers made one trade today before the non-waiver trade deadline, which passed at 3 p.m. CST. Stearns acquired talent without mortgaging the organization’s farm system. He made trades with lower-rated prospects or from a position of depth within the minor leagues.

 

Trade Recaps

July 13th

The Brewers acquired left-handed relief pitcher Tyler Webb for Triple-A first basemen Garrett Cooper. Tyler Webb is currently in Triple-A Colorado Springs after posting a 0-0 record with a 9.00 ERA and a 3.15 WHIP in two appearances with the Brewers in Mid-July. He threw two innings and gave up two runs, including a grand slam to the first batter he faced as a Brewer.

July 26th

The Brewers acquired right-handed pitcher Anthony Swarzak for their 17th ranked outfield prospect Ryan Cordell. Cordell was playing at Triple-A Colorado Springs, but Stearns and the Brewers felt like he was expendable due to the crowded outfield in the Brewers farm system. Swarzak has pitched two innings so far for the Brewers and has allowed one hit, a home run versus the Chicago Cubs. He has also struck out two batters.

July 31st

The Brewers acquired right-handed pitcher Jeremy Jeffress for Double-A relief pitcher Tayler Scott. Jeffress played three seasons for the Brewers from 2014-16 and was a valuable set-up man and closer. He was ultimately traded in the Jonathan Lucroy deal in which the Brewers acquired Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, and Ryan Cordell last summer. Jeffress has struggled with the Rangers, posting a 1-2 record with a 5.31 ERA. He has struggled with drug and alcohol issues in the past, and didn’t want to leave Milwaukee last season because of the good support-system he had there. The Brewers hope he can return to his old form.

David Stearns acquired the talent he could without hurting the organization’s future all the way up to the non-waiver trade deadline, but don’t expect the Brewers to be quiet in August. Stearns expects to be busy looking for quality deals in the month of August during the waiver trade deadline that expires at the end of the month.

Brewers reacquire pitcher Jeremy Jeffress from Rangers

MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Brewers have reacquired right-handed pitcher Jeremy Jeffress from the Texas Rangers in exchange for
right-handed pitcher Tayler Scott. To make room for Jeffress on the 40-man roster, outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis was designated for assignment.
The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.
Jeffress, 29, returns for his third stint with Milwaukee (also 2010 and 2014-16). He was traded by Milwaukee to Texas last August 1 as part
of a five-player deal (Lucroy trade). He was originally selected by the Brewers in the first round (16th overall) of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.
Jeffress is 13-6 with a 3.31 ERA and 28 saves in 249 career relief appearances with Milwaukee (2010, 2014-16), Kansas City (2011-12),
Toronto (2013-14) and Texas (2016-17), including 1-2 with a 5.31 ERA in 39 appearances this season. He has gone 9-3 with a 2.38 ERA and 27
saves in 158 games as a Brewer. He served as the closer in 2016 prior to being traded to Texas, converting 27 of 28 save opportunities.
Scott, 25, signed with Milwaukee as a free agent on July 4, 2016. He went 4-6 with a 2.34 ERA and 2 saves in 42 relief appearances at
Double-A Biloxi this season.

Brewers won’t trade Brinson to A’s, now targeting Straily

MILWAUKEE — With the MLB trade deadline approaching on Monday afternoon, the rumor mill continues to turn for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Milwaukee has been involved in several trade talks to acquire a starting pitcher, but talks have reportedly stalled with the Oakland A’s because the Brewers are unwilling to include outfielder Lewis Brinson as part of the deal to land Sonny Gray.

The Brewers are in the midst of a crucial series with the Cubs that could set the tone moving forward in the National League Central. In 17 games at the Major League level, Brinson has struggled to a .128 batting average, but has been lighting it up in Triple A Colorado Springs, batting .345.

It would appear as though Milwaukee has moved on to a new trade target, with reports linking the Brewers to the Marlins, though several other teams are also interested in right hander Dan Straily.

Straily will make just $552,000 for this season, meaning Miami will want a large haul of prospects in return for the lengthy team control. Perhaps a preemptive move to build demand in the market, Miami was reportedly not considering and trade offers for Straily.

The 28-year-old hurler gave up a league-high 31 home runs last year and has already given up 19 this season in his 21 starts. The positive for whichever team ends up controlling Straily through 2020 is that his K/9 rate last year (7.6) has improved to 8.2 in 2017.

Lots of talk surrounding the early exit of Lewis Brinson from last night’s game

David Stearns and the Milwaukee Brewers pulled the trigger on another trade last night. The Brewers acquired Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Anthony Swarzak. The Brewers in return sent the number 17th ranked prospect in the organization, outfielder, Ryan Cordell to the White Sox. Swarzak will be a rental player, as his contract is up at the end of the year.

In the first inning of the Triple-A Colorado Springs game, Lewis Brinson was pulled from the game before his first at-bat. A report from Jon Heyman cited that Brinson was headed to the big leagues, and wasn’t part of a trade. This sent the social media world into a frenzy, and had lots of people theorizing what the Brewers corresponding move would be.

Some wondered if Braun could be part of potential trade talks or could have reaggravated one of his prior injuries from this season. Others thought maybe Brett Phillips could be in trade talks after he has become more comfortable with the bat at the Major League level in the past couple weeks. Could it also be Brinson’s Triple-A numbers forcing the issue? Brinson is slashing .345/.417/.569 in Colorado Springs. He also has 10 home runs and 43 RBIs in 68 games this season.

According to Brewers beat writer, Tom Haudricort, David Stearns wouldn’t confirm the Lewis Brinson call-up, but did say that Ryan Braun isn’t injured. He also mentioned how he would continue to explore trade options for every area of the team. He did confirm that there would be more news later today. Something is in the works here. Maybe another trade? Maybe a demotion? We’ll have to wait and see what The Milwaukee Brewers decide to do later today and for the rest of July.

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game Results

All-Star week festivities kicked off Sunday afternoon with the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Marlins Park in Miami. The Futures Game features the best minor league prospects in baseball. Team USA came away with a narrow 7-6  victory over the World team. The USA team has now won seven of the last eight contests and twelve of the nineteen All-Star Future games. MVP honors went to Brent Honeywell, property of the Tampa Bay Rays organization, who started the game for the United States. Honeywell went two innings, allowing no hits or walks, and striking out four batters. The Brewers organization was represented well, as they had three prospects playing in the game. Playing in the game for the Brewers organization was Lewis Brinson, Corey Ray, and Mauricio Dubon.

Brewer Prospects

Lewis Brinson

Brinson was the only Brewers prospect to start in the Futures game. He started in center field and batted second in the Team USA order. In his first at-bat in the first inning, Brinson struck out on a full count from a nasty slider. In his second at-bat, Brinson worked the count full and ended up walking. Just a few pitches after walking, he showed off his good speed, and stole second base with ease. In the fourth inning, he had an RBI double and scored a run. Brinson’s last two at-bats in the game were hard-hit fly outs to center and right field respectively. Brinson earned the second highest bat speed in the game, recording a bat speed of 75.4 mph. He was also the only player on the USA team to play all nine innings. Brinson finished the game 1-4 with an RBI, run, walk, and a stolen base.

Corey Ray

Ray entered the game in center field in the sixth inning after Lewis Brinson was moved to left. He struck out swinging in his first at-bat of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. In his second plate appearance in the eighth inning, Ray grounded out to another Brewers prospect, Mauricio Dubon, at second base. In the top of the ninth inning, Ray committed an error in center field. On a base hit to center, he looked up to throw the runner out at home too soon and the ball went right under his glove. He finished the game 0-2 with a strikeout. Ray may have struggled while playing in the Futures game, but he shined in batting practice before the game. Ray put on a show lunching eight home runs, most by any prospect who took batting practice before the game.

Mauricio Dubon

Dubon entered the game in the fifth inning at second base. He is a shortstop by trade, but is expected to join the Brewers next year as a second basemen. In his first at-bat in the sixth inning, Dubon doubled down the right field line and scored a run. In the seventh inning, Dubon lined one to another Brewers prospect in Lewis Brinson. The two Colorado Springs teammates had a good laugh and were joking with each other. Dubon’s third at-bat ended the game in the top of the ninth as he grounded out on a sharply hit ball to third. He finished the game 1-3 with a run.

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Bats quiet in Milwaukee’s loss to Reds

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Big night from Yelich leads to Milwaukee win

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Last strikes: Brewers 7, Pirates 4

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