The David Stearns era has officially ended in Milwaukee. He surprisingly stepped down from his role as President of Baseball Operations. His right hand man Matt Arnold will now take over. With the change, that gives us some time to reflect on moves that Stearns has made over the past seven years.
Here are three good and three bad moves from the David Stearns era.
Good Move #1: Trading for Christian Yelich and Signing Lorenzo Cain
In one day, David Stearns made two significant franchise altering transactions. He first acquired Christian Yelich by trading away four prospects. Then, to add to it he signed Lorenzo Cain. Both would go onto have monster 2018 seasons, including MVP hardware for Yelich. The Brewers also came from behind to clinch the NL Central division that season and made a deep play off run.
Bad Move #1: Trading for Jonathan Schoop at the 2018 trade deadline
In 2018, the Brewers were buyers at the trade deadline for the second consecutive season. That year they acquired three players at the deadline. Those players were Mike Moustakas, Joakim Soria, and Jonathan Schoop. Unfortunately, Schoop ended up performing poorly for the Brewers and they had to part ways with Jonathan Villar, Luis Ortiz and Jean Carmona in order to acquire him from the Orioles.
Good Move #2: Signing Eric Thames prior to the 2018 season.
Eric Thames signed a three year $16MM deal with the Brewers prior to the 2018 season. He had spent a few years overseas playing baseball and was looking to return to major league baseball. With the Brewers, he had an immediate impact and came through in several clutch situations. During his three seasons, he hit 72 home runs and he will forever be remembered for his hilarious post game press conferences.
Bad Move #2: Trading for Trevor Rosenthal at the 2022 trade deadline
It is not very often that you see a contending team trade for a player who hasn’t pitched in a few years. Unfortunately, that is what David Stearns did this past trade deadline. To make matters worse, he had a known hamstring injury at the time and began his tenure with the Crew on the injured list. During his rehab stint, a new shoulder injury popped up that shut him down. Rosenthal will never throw a pitch for the Brewers, they acquired his entire $4.5MM salary, and gave up a talented outfield prospect in Tristan Peters in the process.
Good Move #3: Trading For Willy Adames Mid-Season
The Brewers had a shortstop problem in 2021. They parted ways with Orlando Arcia, which freed up an opportunity for Luis Urias to be the everyday shortstop. Unfortunately, he was slumping both offensively and defensively. Rather than wait it out over the course of several months, Stearns pulled off a great trade with the Rays and acquired Willy Adames mid-season. He parted ways with pitchers Drew Rasmussen and J.P. Feyereisen, but Adames has been a great addition to Milwaukee.
Bad Move #3: The poorly thought out Josh Hader trade
It was seemingly inevitable that Josh Hader would be traded at some point, but how it played out was not good. Trading one of the best closers mid season and not following it up with a big addition, especially on offense, was not a good look. To make matters worse, Stearns was ‘unable to find room’ for Dinelson Lamet, who was a part of the Hader package deal. Hopefully Robert Gasser and Esteury Ruiz will play a big role for the Brewers in years to come, otherwise this trade may go down as the worst move made during the Stearns era.
It is nearly impossible to predict how transactions in baseball will pan out. As mentioned, David Stearns made a lot of good moves during his tenure, but also some bad ones. Overall, Matt Arnold is taking over with the organization in good shape, but a lot of tough decisions lay ahead of him.
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