As expected, several first-place teams in their respective divisions pulled out all the stops to advance ahead of this year’s MLB trade deadline. In the case of the Milwaukee Brewers, general manager David Stearns took a conservative route to give his team an extra boost before the end of the season.
Stearns made three trades before last Tuesday’s deadline. He made a pair of low-risk, high-reward moves with the additions of relievers Trevor Rosenthal and Matt Bush. On the other hand, he sent Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres in exchange for four players, including the NL West club’s No. 7 ranked prospect in left-handed pitcher Robert Gasser. With Hader expected to be under team control for another year, Milwaukee opted to pull the trigger to improve the organization for the long term.
The Brewers still have a quality shot to go on and clinch the NL Central against the St. Louis Cardinals later in the year. Nevertheless, they should have pushed to trade for these two players as well.
2 trades the Brewers should have made
Of the six teams that led their respective divisions before the trade deadline, the Brewers ended up being the only team not to acquire a hitter. They should have at least brought Luis Rengifo back from the Los Angeles Angels.
The Brewers continue to receive adequate production from second base of the campaign. Brewers manager Craig Counsell relied on Kolten Wong to be the go-to starter for the position. The veteran second baseman has recorded 76 total starts at second base, and he currently boasts a .257 batting average coupled with a .338 OBP.
The Brewers could have increased second base production with the acquisition of Rengifo. The versatile infielder has been up a notch at the plate lately, posting a .347 batting average and .844 OPS in his last 25 games heading into Saturday. He’s become a quality contact hitter in the Angels’ roster, and much of his success over the past few weeks has been due to his ability to turn around his misfortunes on fastballs. Overall, he’s hit .321 against fastballs this season, up from .204 last year.
Overall, Rengifo would have provided versatility for Milwaukee had he acquired it through his experience covering third base, shortstop, left field, and right field as well. And if Stearns had brought him in, then the Brewers wouldn’t have faced a dilemma over who would be their regular starter at second base next season, as Rengifo has been under the team’s control for three years of more, while Wong is set to hit free agency in the offseason.
Stearns added depth to the Brewers bullpen with the acquisitions of Taylor Rogers, Bush and Rosenthal. But as the Atlanta Braves illustrated in their World Series-winning run last season, a team can never carry enough relief pitchers on the roster.
At least Stearns should have tried to bring in Cionel Perez from the Baltimore Orioles.
Perez has been among the best players in the bullpen for the Orioles this season, recording a 1.15 ERA in 39.0 innings pitched. He has so far reached career highs in all areas, including ERA+ (351).
Taking into account that Perez has had tremendous success with his fastball due to his career-best swing hitting percentage (12.4%) and wRC+ (95) off the field, the veteran left-handed pitcher would have been a solid addition to the Brewers. bullpen.
All in all, Stearns is very hopeful that his trade time moves will pay off in the long run. Among them, he’s looking to see the Brewers coaching staff harness Rogers’ true potential.
“I think we have a very talented staff and a talented group of pitching coaches at the major league level who have proven they can help many different types of pitchers succeed,” Stearns said Monday. “In Taylor’s case, a big part of that was and is the volatility of the relievers that we can see. We think he’s a good pitcher who’s going to perform for us.
“And we believe our staff will be able to get the most out of them.”
Stearns took a gamble with his conservative stance at the trade deadline. It will be interesting to see if all of this pays off in the form of a long playoff run for Milwaukee. For now, the NL Central club is set for several crucial competitions over the remainder of August, including a four-game home series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.