Since diving full-on into an organizational rebuild nine months ago, and especially since David Stearns took over as the club’s general manager after last season, the Brewers have made a dozen major trades to rid themselves of expensive veterans and acquire young players whom they can control.
One month into the season, Milwaukee is 10-15 and in fourth place in the NL Central, so things are going about as expected – perhaps even a little bit better, actually. Several of the players Stearns has acquired are with the big-league Brewers and many more are in the minors. Their contributions and impact have, unsurprisingly, varied widely.
If even a handful of the nearly 20 prospects Stearns has traded for develop into legitimate major-leaguers, though, it would be an impressive testament to talent evaluation and deal-making.
The Brewers will almost surely make additional moves during the season – catcher Jonathan Lucroy remains the most likely and valuable asset to go – but, with a month of stats accumulated, let’s take a look at how the swaps the team’s already made have worked out.
This is a current compilation of Milwaukee’s trades since it went into rebuild mode midway through last season, including the players involved, their numbers thus far in 2016 and a note of commentary about the deal.
(For position players, the abbreviated statistics are: games, at-bats, batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage, home runs, runs batted in, strikeouts, walks and stolen bases. For pitchers, they are: games, innings pitched, won-loss record, earned run average, strikeouts, walks, batting average allowed and walks plus hits per inning pitched.)
1. July 23, 2015
Trade: Brewers send third baseman Aramis Ramirez to the Pirates for relief pitcher Yhonathan Barrios.
Ramirez (age 37): No statistics, retired
Barrios (age 24): No statistics, disabled list
Commentary: With Ramirez on his last legs and a big 2015 salary, Milwaukee launched its rebuild by dealing the veteran to his original big-league club in exchange for a reliever who pitched well the rest of the season but last month underwent rotator cuff surgery.
2. July 30, 2015
Trade: Brewers send centerfielder Carlos Gomez and starting pitcher Mike Fiers to the Astros for outfielders Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana and starting pitchers Josh Hader and Adrian Houser.
Gomez (30): 22 G, 80 AB, .213/.241/.275, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 24 SO, 2 BB, 2 SB with Houston
Fiers (30): 5 G, 29.0 IP, 2-1 W-L, 4.97 ERA, 22 SO, 3 BB, .294 AVG, 1.28 WHIP with Houston
Santana (23): 23 G, 85 AB, .259/.322/.408, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 28 SO, 11 BB, 0 SB with Milwaukee
Phillips (21): 23 G, 80 AB, .250/.355/.388, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 30 SO, 12 BB, 1 SB with Double-A Biloxi
Hader (22): 5 G, 23.0 IP, 0-0 W-L, 0.78 ERA, 32 SO, 9 BB, .200 AVG, 1.09 WHIP with Double-A Biloxi
Houser (23): 4 G, 20.0 IP, 1-2 W-L, 7.20 ERA, 16 SO, 10 BB, .267 AVG, 1.50 WHIP with Double- Biloxi
Commentary: In a blockbuster deal, the Brewers sent a couple of regulars with real value to the contending Astros for four of the top prospects from Stearns' former franchise – all of whom could eventually contribute in the big leagues. Gomez has battled injury and had a nightmarish start to the season; Hader has been stellar and potentially profiles as a front-of-the-rotation starter.
3. July 31, 2015
Trade: Brewers send outfielder Gerardo Parra and relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton to the Orioles for starting pitcher Zach Davies and outfielder Malik Collymore.
Parra (28): 24 G, 102 AB, .284/.298/.461, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 14 SO, 2 BB, 5 SB with Colorado
Broxton (31): 10 G, 10.0 IP, 0-0 W-L, 1.80 ERA, 11 SO, 9 BB, .167 AVG, 1.50 WHIP with St. Louis
Davies (23): 3 G, 13.1 IP, 0-3 W-L, 8.78 ERA, 10 SO, 7 BB, .411 AVG, 2.25 WHIP with Milwaukee
Collymore (21): No statistics, Rookie-league Helena season begins in June
Commentary: Neither Parra nor Broxton is still with Baltimore, while Davies, one of the Orioles’ top young pitchers, has earned a spot in the Brewers’ rotation (though he's struggled mightily).
4. Nov. 18, 2015
Trade: Brewers send closer Francisco Rodriguez to the Tigers for second baseman Javier Betancourt.
Rodriguez (34): 11 G, 9.2 IP, 0-0 W-L, 4.66 ERA, 7 SO, 4 BB, .257 AVG, 1.34 WHIP with Detroit
Betancourt (20): 20 G, 59 AB, .288/.338/.356, 0 HR, 10 RBI, 7 SO, 5 BB, 0 SB with Double-A Biloxi
Commentary: Milwaukee’s on-again, off-again affair with K-Rod ended, presumably for the last time, with a deal that netted them a promising second baseman with major-league potential.
5. Nov. 19, 2015
Trade: Brewers send starting pitcher Cy Sneed to the Astros for shortstop Jonathan Villar.
Sneed (23): 4 G, 15.2 IP, 1-0 W-L, 1.15 ERA, 18 SO, 5 BB, .228 AVG, 1.15 WHIP with Double-A Corpus Christi
Villar (25): 23 G, 80 AB, .263/.372/.388, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 24 SO, 13 BB, 7 SB with Milwaukee
Commentary: Sneed was a decent young starter in the Brewers’ system – and he’s continued to pitch well this season – but Stearns clearly liked and wanted back Villar, who’s played as expected (good in the field, average at the plate) at shortstop.
6. Nov. 20, 2015
Trade: Brewers send infielder Luis Sardinas to the Mariners for outfielder Ramon Flores.
Sardinas (22): 9 G, 22 AB, .182/.217/.318, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 6 SO, 0 BB, 1 SB with Seattle
Flores (24): 21 G, 49 AB, .143/.208/.163, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 11 SO, 4 BB, 0 SB with Milwaukee
Commentary: The Brewers had unquestionably seen enough of Sardinas struggling at the big-league level, and Stearns ended a three-day trade tornado by getting what he could for him, adding outfield depth with a left-handed line-drive hitter.
7. Dec. 9, 2015
Trade: Brewers send first baseman Adam Lind to the Mariners for starting pitchers Daniel Missaki, Carlos Herrera and Freddy Peralta.
Lind (32): 22 G, 70 AB, .229/.247/.300, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 19 SO, 2 BB, 0 SB with Seattle
Missaki (20): No statistics, disabled list
Herrera (18): No statistics, Rookie-league Helena season begins in June
Peralta (19): 5 G, 15.2 IP, 1-0 W-L, 1.72 ERA, 17 SO, 6 BB, .242 AVG, 1.34 WHIP with Single-A Wisconsin
Commentary: Milwaukee cut bait on Lind at just the right time, with his value high after a productive 2015 and before this season’s drop-off, acquiring three super-young starters that can develop in the minors for a few years.
8. Dec. 10, 2015
Trade: Brewers send cash to the Red Sox for third baseman Garin Cecchini.
Cecchini (25): 20 G, 70 AB, .271/.329/.386, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 8 SO, 6 BB, 1 SB with Triple-A Colorado Springs
Commentary: Stearns is hoping that, in exchange for only cash considerations, the unspectacular-but-consistent Cecchini needed a change of scenery to succeed. Don’t be surprised to see him called up to Milwaukee later this season.
9. Dec. 17, 2015
Trade: Brewers send first baseman Jason Rogers to the Pirates for outfielder Keon Broxton and starting pitcher Trey Supak.
Rogers (28): 11 G, 41 AB, .366/.435/.683, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 8 SO, 5 BB, 0 SB with Triple-A Indianapolis
Broxton (25): 6 G, 16 AB, .000/.111/.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 11 SO, 2 BB, 2 SB with Triple-A Colorado Springs
Supak (19): No statistics, Rookie-league Helena season begins in June
Commentary: Rogers looked like a AAAA hitter with the Brewers – good at the Triple-A level but over-matched in the majors – and that was the case, as well, early this season in Pittsburgh. The physically gifted Broxton started the year in Milwaukee, but was terrible, and his struggles have continued with the Sky Sox. The deal seems like a wash, unless Supak turns into something.
10. Jan. 28, 2016
Trade: Brewers send relief pitcher Trevor Seidenberger to the Padres for outfielder Rymer Liriano.
Seidenberger (23): 7 G, 14.0 IP, 1-1 W-L, 4.50 ERA, 14 SO, 8 BB, .192 AVG, 1.29 WHIP with Single-A Lake Elsinore
Liriano (24): No statistics, disabled list
Commentary: For a player they really didn't need, Stearns took a flier on Liriano, a once-heralded prospect who was hit in the face by a pitch in March and is currently on the 60-day DL.
11. Jan. 30, 2016
Trade: Brewers send shortstop Jean Segura and starting pitcher Tyler Wagner to the Diamondbacks for third baseman Aaron Hill, starting pitcher Chase Anderson and shortstop Isan Diaz.
Segura (26): 25 G, 111 AB, .333/.362/.523, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 15 SO, 3 BB, 4 SB with Arizona
Wagner (25): 3 G, 15.2 IP, 0-3 W-L, 3.45 ERA, 8 SO, 6 BB, .317 AVG, 1.66 WHIP with Triple-A Reno
Hill (34): 24 G, 72 AB, .194/.247/.264, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 13 SO, 6 BB, 2 SB with Milwaukee
Anderson (28): 5 G, 24.1 IP, 1-3 W-L, 5.55 ERA, 19 SO, 10 BB, .346 AVG, 1.89 WHIP with Milwaukee
Diaz (19): 24 G, 86 AB, .198/.296/.337, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 22 SO, 12 BB, 2 SB with Single-A Wisconsin
Commentary: The Brewers had to offload Segura to make room for top prospect Orlando Arcia, and Wagner, Hill and Anderson made the terms work. Segura has played superbly so far this season, but this move was always about Milwaukee's shortstop of the future, and Stearns is extremely optimistic, as well, about Diaz’s big-league potential.
12. Feb. 12, 2016
Trade: Brewers send left fielder Khris Davis to the Athletics for catcher Jacob Nottingham and starting pitcher Bubba Derby.
Davis (28): 25 G, 94 AB, .234/.273/.436, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 28 SO, 3 BB, 0 SB with Oakland
Nottingham (21): 19 G, 65 AB, .169/.260/.292, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 18 SO, 7 BB, 0 SB with Double-A Biloxi
Derby (22): 5 G, 21.2 IP, 2-0 W-L, 2.49 ERA, 31 SO, 8 BB, .235 AVG, 1.29 WHIP with Single-A Brevard County
Commentary: Davis will always be who he is: a minus-defender who hits for lots of power and little average. Milwaukee expects Nottingham – a good hitter that’s in a bad slump – to be its big-league catcher at some point soon; Derby, with a baseball-ready name, has a major-league-caliber arm.
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.