By Jimmy Carlton Sportswriter Published Aug 01, 2016 at 5:30 PM

Mere minutes before the 3 p.m. MLB trade deadline on Monday, the Brewers finally completed the blockbuster deal that seemed preordained in the offseason more than seven months ago.

Milwaukee sent prized catcher Jonathan Lucroy, along with closer Jeremy Jeffress, to Texas in exchange for a pair of highly touted young players, consummating the trade that Lucroy had essentially requested back in January and one day after he vetoed a different proposed deal with Cleveland.

The Brewers acquired outfielder Lewis Brinson and right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz, the Rangers’ second- and third-ranked prospects, both of whom are in the MLB Top 100 list. Milwaukee also received a player to be named later, which could be a significant piece, given the value of Lucroy and Jeffress.

Brinson, 22, a raw but athletic center fielder with speed and power, is’s 21st overall prospect (fifth among outfielders). The 20-year-old Ortiz, the website’s 63rd-ranked minor leaguer, has good stuff and the potential to become a No. 2 starter.

General manager David Stearns announced the move Monday after the deadline passed.

"While it is extremely difficult to part with players the caliber of Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress," Stearns said in a statement, "we are excited to add more young and talented players to the organization as we continue to build toward future winning seasons in Milwaukee.

"We would like to thank Jonathan for his seven years of not only all-star play on the field, but for the leadership and dedication that he and his wife, Sarah, displayed throughout the community. We also would like to thank Jeremy for his contributions to the Brewers, particularly his admirable work as a first-time closer this season."

The Brewers made another major trade a little earlier in the day, sending lefty reliever Will Smith to San Francisco for pitcher Phil Bickford, San Francisco’s top prospect, and catcher Andrew Susac. Bickford, 21, is a hard-throwing right-hander with good size and stuff; Susac, 26, has 87 games of big-league backstop experience and is expected to help fill the hole left by Lucroy.

Considering Lucroy, an All-Star at a key position, and Jeffress, who’s emerged as one of the best closers in baseball, are both relatively cheap and under team control beyond this season, there was some concern – notably on social media – that the Brewers didn’t receive enough for them in return, especially since Texas didn’t have to part with top prospect Joey Gallo. The 30-year-old Lucroy, who’s under contract for $5.25 million in 2017, is batting .299 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI in 95 games this season. Jeffress, 28, who has a 2.36 ERA and 27 saves this year while making just $519,000, is arbitration eligible after the season.

The market for catchers was thin, and Lucroy is one of the game’s best, and previous trades for high-caliber relievers – such as Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller – had netted large hauls of prospects. In a vacuum, though, Milwaukee got three very talented, promising young players, and the team had always seemed destined – and determined, following the Cleveland trade falling through – to deal Lucroy, Jeffress and Smith.

At least the Brewers waited until after last Saturday's "90s Night" at Miller Park to deal the back-end bullpen duo.

Brinson, the Rangers’ first-round draft pick in 2012, batted .237 with 11 homers, 40 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 77 games at Double-A Frisco this season. If he can stay healthy, cut down on his strikeouts and develop his tools, Brinson is a good defensive glove with 30-30 potential. Ortiz, Texas’ 2014 first-round pick, went a combined 4-6 with a 3.48 ERA in 16 games between Class-A High Desert and Double-A Frisco this year. With a 92-97 mph fastball and a plus slider, he could be a front-of-the-rotation starter if he continues to advance.

The player to be named later is probably not a throw-in type and could turn out to be very important. There’s a chance the Brewers will get to choose from Rangers selected in the 2016 MLB Draft that took place in June; it’s also possible Milwaukee simply didn’t have enough time before the trade deadline to pick a player. In 2008, when the Brewers acquired CC Sabathia from the Indians, they traded three prospects and a player to be named later, who turned out to be eventual All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley.

In trading Smith, one of the most dependable setup men in baseball, with a 3.28 ERA in 181 relief appearances with Milwaukee, the Brewers received San Francisco’s best pitching prospect.

Bickford was the Giants’ first-round pick in 2015 and is currently MLBPipeline’s 65th-ranked overall prospect. This season, he went a combined 5-6 with a 2.71 ERA in 17 starts between Class-A Augusta and Class-A San Jose. With a mid-90s fastball and above-average secondary pitches, Bickford, who appeared in this year’s All-Star Futures Game, held opponents to a .208 batting average with 105 strikeouts in 93.0 innings.

A 2011 second-rounder who was on the Giants’ 2014 World Series team, Susac has a .240 batting average with six home runs and 33 RBI in 87 major-league games from 2014-15. He was batting .273 with eight homers and 36 RBI in 58 games at Triple-A Sacramento this season.

The trade deadline has passed, but the Brewers could still make more transactional moves – the players must first clear waivers, though, which makes it more difficult – and they likely will, given wheeling-and-dealing Stearns’ active track record. Some candidates for waiver trades include relievers Carlos Torres and Blaine Boyer, starter Junior Guerra and first baseman Chris Carter.

On Monday, Lucroy sounded happy to be dealt to Texas, where he’ll be on a contending team and closer to his home of Lafayette, La. The veteran and Milwaukee fan favorite posted on Twitter:

What did you think of the trades? Did the Brewers get enough? Let us know in the comments.

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, 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.