The Brewers 2021 season was a fun one in which the 95 win team ended up winning the National League Central and making the play-offs for the fourth consecutive season. Over the course of the season, 61 different players were utilized. This broke the previous franchise record of 53.
With that being said, president of baseball operations David Stearns had to orchestrate several moves during the season. Immediately, most think of the trades for Willy Adames, Rowdy Tellez, and Eduardo Escobar. However, there are a plethora of underrated moves that also helped this team.
In this article, we will take a look at three under the radar moves from the 2021 season.
3) May 2nd – Jacob Nottingham Acquired From Mariners
Nottingham began the 2021 season as a member of the Brewers, but on the injured list. Upon being activated, he was designated for assignment and claimed by the Mariners on April 28th. Shortly after his departure, Manny Pina sustained a toe injury and Omar Narvaez injured his hamstring. This left the Brewers in an interesting spot.
With Luke Maile now poised for more playing time and Mario Feliciano in line to serve as the primary backup, David Stearns couldn’t help but smile as on May 1st the Mariners announced that they too were designating Nottingham for assignment. Needless to say, Nottingham was on the first flight back to Milwaukee where on May 2nd he hit two long balls in a game he started against the Dodgers. Unfortunately for Nottingham, he was DFA’d again by the Brewers on May 13th.
2) June 25th – A Trade Involving Minor League Players With The Pirates
In this trade, the Brewers gave up catcher Samuel Escudero in exchange for outfielder Troy Stokes Jr and pitcher Jandel Gustave. Both Stokes and Gustave were sent to Triple-A and had no immediate impact with the Brewers.
13 days after the trade, Gustave was added to the Brewers 40 man roster. He ended up making his Brewers debut on July 9th and overall pitched very well out of the Brewers bullpen. Over the course of 18 innings he recorded a 3.44 ERA and put himself in contention to make the opening day roster in 2022.
1) June 12th- Hunter Strickland Acquired From Angels
During the 2021 season Strickland played for three different teams. He was excellent as a member of the Rays, not so good as an Angel, and then re-found success as a Brewer. David Stearns acquired him for cash for the Angels designated him for assignment.
With the Crew, Strickland pitched 36.1 innings and had a 1.73 ERA. He was often times called upon to pitch out of jams created by other players and was quite successful at limiting damage. Currently he is a free agent, so it is possible that he re-signs with the Brewers after the lockout.
Of course not every move worked out as well as the ones mentioned above. For instance, Jordan Zimmerman was briefly a Brewer before deciding to retire. John Axford made one appearance but had to leave due to injury. Additionally, pitcher Patrick Weigel, who was acquired in the Orlando Arcia trade, struggled in both the major and minor leagues and now faces an up hill battle in returning to the big leagues.
There are many other names and moves not mentioned as well. With the calendar year coming to an end, now is a good time to reflect upon those players.