The Milwaukee Brewers have made a trade. Sending Tyler Thornburg to the Red Sox for 1B/3B Travis Shaw, RHP Josh Pennington, SS Mauricio Durbon, and a player to be named later.
Yesterday was a slow news day for the Brewers. Today starts out with a bang. The Brewers have traded Tyler Thornburg, and it appears they got quite a haul. The price for relief pitching has never been higher, the Brewers were wise to capitalize on this hot market.
Tyler Thornburg has been very good lately. Last year he pitched 67 innings, posting a 2.15 ERA, 2.83 FIP, all while striking out 12.09 batters per 9 innings. Perhaps more importantly he has three years of team control left and is headed to arbitration for the first time this year. Compare his stats to Mark Melancon, who just signed for 4 years, 62 million dollars. You can see why the Red Sox were willing to part with 4 players to acquire a somewhat similar pitcher for a fraction of the dollar figure.
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Travis Shaw is the Major League component to this trade. He figures to become the Brewers everyday third baseman.Last year, the 26-year-old Shaw had 530 plate appearances. He slashed .242/.306/.421 with 16 home runs. The numbers are not eye-popping, but the Brewers had a hole at third base, Shaw fills that hole. He is also a left-handed hitter, adding more balance (along with Thames) to what was a mostly right-handed lineup. This move paves the way for Johnathan Villar to play at second base, and allows Hernan Perez to stay in a super utility role. Shaw is somewhat versatile as well, he can play at either corner of the infield.
Josh Pennington is a 21 year old right-handed pitcher who spent last year in low A ball. He pitched 56.2 innings with a 2.86 ERA and 3.75 FIP. At this low-level of the minors, it is important to look past the stat line. According to MLB.com he is there #22 prospect. He has a 70 grade fastball that sits in the 94-98 range. He also features a curve that could develop into a good secondary offering. As with most pitchers at this level, control and command are a work in progress. However its easy to dream on a prospect with a power fastball like his.
Mauricio Durbon is the #12 prospect in Boston’s system. The 22-year-old Shortstop split time between AA and A+ last year. He tore the cover off of the ball in both locations. Durbon earned a promotion from A+ after slashing .306/.387/.379 in 278 plate appearances. In 269 plate appearances at AA he slashed .339/.371/.538. in 269 PA’s. He represents another young player at a premium position with a ton of upside.
Overall I love this move for the Brewers. They capitalized on an overvalued relief market and added two solid pieces (and a PTBNL) to a stacked farm system. As a bonus they fill a hole on the major league roster with Travis Shaw.