David Stearns was hired as general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers last September. His first roster move was made in early October. He has since made a flurry of moves in trying to rebuild the roster. We rate the 10 best move Stearns has made to date, which just happens to include that first transaction.
Feb. 12, 2016 - Traded Khris Davis to the Oakland Athletics for Bubba Derby and Jacob Nottingham
Yes, Davis did smash 42 home runs for the A's this season. However he is also one of just six player in major-league history with 40+ HR and an on-base percentage lower than .310 (his was .307). Nottingham didn't exactly flourish in Double-A, but he won't be 22 until April, so there's still time for him to develop. If Nottingham becomes Milwaukee's catcher of the future, this trade obviously becomes much, much better. But for now, based on how 2016 went, it is properly placed.
Jan. 30, 2016: Traded Jean Segura and Tyler Wagner to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Isan Diaz, Chase Anderson, Aaron Hill and cash
Another trade which didn't fare as well for Milwaukee in 2016, but down the line could pay big dividends. Segura benefited from the change of scenery, setting career highs in batting average (.319), on-base percentage (.368), slugging percentage (.499), hits (203), runs (102), RBI (64), doubles (41) and home runs (20) while also stealing 33 bases (he also had a career-high 101 strikeouts). Wagner also got a taste of the big leagues, pitching well in 10 innings. While Anderson settled in as the Brewers' fifth starter, going 9-11 with a 4.38 ERA in 31 games (30 starts) and David Stearns was able to get a couple of players from Boston for the 34-year-old Hill, the key to this deal was Diaz, a 20-year-old shortstop who was named the team's Minor League Player of the Year after posting a slash line of .264/.358/.469 with 20 home runs and 11 steals at Single-A Wisconsin.
Aug. 1, 2016: Traded Jeremy Jeffress and Jonathan Lucroy to the Texas Rangers for Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz and a PTBNL (Ryan Cordell)
Lucroy and Jeffress both played well for Texas in helping Texas to the AL West title. Lucroy, who will be 31 next season, is under contract for 2017 and Jeffress is under team control, which made dealing them even tougher (not to mention Lucroy was a fan favorite). In return, Milwaukee hopes it got keys to its rebuilding project. Brinson was one of Texas' highest-rated prospects and the closest to appearing in the majors. He flat-out raked upon joining the Brewers' system and could be a member of Milwaukee's starting outfield in come April. Ortiz pitched OK in Double-A and projects as a mid-rotation kind of starter. Cordell has some pop, however he'll be 25 in March. As with Nos. 10 and 9, this deal will depend on how the players the Brewers got in return. Could be boom or bust, but with Brinson we should know sooner rather than later.
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May 13, 2016: Purchased Jhan Marinez from the Tampa Bay Rays
You'd think Tampa Bay would try to hold on to any decent pitcher they can get their hands on and perhaps the Rays selling one would be a red flag, but Stearns read this one well as Marinez provided serviceable relief for the Brewers. Pitching 58 2/3 innings, Martinez had a 3.22 ERA with a 1.381 WHIP and 7.2 strikeouts per nine innings. Not bad for a guy who was added to the roster in mid-May.
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Nov. 16, 2015: Re-signed free agent Hernan Perez to a minor-league deal
OK, this one is a bit of a good move, bad move kind of thing. Yes, the Brewers brought back Perez, who had batted just .243 with one home run with Milwaukee and Detroit in 2015. And he responded by becoming the Brewers' Mr. Everything, playing every position but pitcher and catcher, while opening eyes with a .272 batting average, 13 home runs and 34 stolen bases. Then why is he the No. 6 move? Well, Milwaukee had outrighted him after the '15 season and brought him back on a minor-league contract. So we'll give this move an asterisk.
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Jan. 6, 2016: Signed Chris Carter as a free agent
Having spent time in Houston's organization, Stearns was obviously familiar with Carter and his strengths and weaknesses. After signing a one-year deal with Milwaukee, Carter rewarded the Brewers with his best season since 2012, and he only played in 67 games that year. Taking control as Milwaukee's starting first baseman, Carter led the National League in games played (160) and home runs (41), however also in strikeouts (206); all part of the package that is Carter. He also set career highs for runs (84), RBI (94), doubles (27) and walks (76). His .321 on-base percentage and .499 slugging percentage were his best since that abbreviated 2012 season. All in all a good signing, especially since it gave the Brewers some much-needed power in the lineup.
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April 2, 2016: Signed Carlos Torres as a free agent
Two days before the start of the season, Stearns signed veteran reliever Torres, who thrived as a setup man and was one of the most consistent pitchers in the Brewers' bullpen. Torres appeared in a team-high 72 games, posting a 2.73 ERA, 1.154 WHIP and 8.5K/9 in 82 1/3 innings.
Dec. 23, 2015: Traded Jason Rogers to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Trey Supak and Keon Broxton
Rogers hit .296/.367/.441 for the Brewers in 2015 and was thought to be in contention for a larger role with the team in 2016. Instead, Pittsburgh sent over Broxton, 26, who hit .242/.354/.430 with nine home runs and 23 steals and was so good in the second half of the season (.294/.399/.538 in 39 games) he'll have a chance to win a starting outfield job in 2017. In addition, the 20-year-old right-handed Supak pitched well in the low minors. Rogers, meanwhile, hit just .083 in 33 at-bats for the Pirates this past season.
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Nov. 19, 2015: Traded Cy Sneed to the Houston Astros for Jonathan Villar
Again, that Houston connection for Stearns. Clearly, Villar wasn't needed in Houston anymore, as the Astros have a plethora of young talent, including Carlos Correa, who took over at shortstop for Villar. The expectation by many was that Villar would just be a placeholder for Brewers shortstop prospect Orlando Arcia. And indeed Arcia did get the call late in the year. But Villar also earned himself a spot in the lineup thanks to a phenomenal season in which he hit .285/.369/.457 with 92 runs, 38 doubles, 19 triples and a major-league leading 62 stolen bases. Instead of being a stopgap, Villar is now in the conversation for playing time in 2017 with the Brewers -- at second base and/or third base.
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Oct. 7, 2015: Selected Junior Guerra off waivers from the Chicago White Sox
When the Brewers obtained Guerra, it was barely a blip on the radar, other than the news that it was the first official roster move made by Stearns as Milwaukee GM. After all, Guerra turned 31 in January and hardly lit it up in Chicago's organization. But Guerra started mastering a split-finger fastball and he put together one of the best pitching seasons for a Brewers rookie as well as establishing himself as the best starter on the team, going 9-3 with a 2.81 ERA, 1.126 WHIP and 7.4 K/9 in 20 starts.