The David Stearns era in Milwaukee has officially come to an end today. The general manager for the Brewers from 2015-2022 was an advisor with ownership this season but will now take his talents to the New York Mets organization. The Mets are hiring David Stearns as president of baseball operations, per multiple sources. He will begin his new job after the 2023 season. Stearns played a monumental role in constructing the current Milwaukee roster while helping lead the franchise to a winning record in six of the team’s last seven seasons.
The New York Mets are hiring David Stearns as president of baseball operations, sources familiar with the situation tell ESPN.
A monumental addition to the organization, Stearns, 38, will take over officially once the regular season is over. The new era of the Mets begins soon.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 12, 2023
David Stearns will be in charge of a hefty payroll with the New York Mets. However, Stearns managed to keep Milwaukee consistently winning over the past seven years despite having yet to operate with the deepest pockets in baseball. The 38-year-old made many trades during his tenure with the Brewers that changed the organization’s outlook. Below, we will look at the five best transactions during the David Stearns era.
The FIVE best deals for the David Stearns regime
1. The Brewers Traded Lewis Brinson, Isan Díaz, Monte Harrison, and Jordan Yamamoto to the Miami Marlins. Received Christian Yelich.
Efficiently the most significant trade of the David Stearns era, the Milwaukee Brewers sent out former top prospects Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison, and Isan Diaz for Miami outfielder Christian Yelich. Yelich, a then 25-year-old fresh off an 18 home run, 16 stolen base campaign in 2017, was starting to look like the player he was touted to be before the 2013 season. His inaugural season in Milwaukee was epic, launching 36 home runs and driving in 110 while hitting a National League-best .326. Yelich also added 22 steals en route to winning the MVP in the NL.
Yelich smacked a career-best 44 home runs in 2019 while finishing runner-up for his second MVP. Unfortunately, the two-time All-Star suffered back injuries over the next few years, slugging just .388 from 2020-22. He has since reverted to his star-studded self in 2023, posting a .800 OPS in 136 games.
Meanwhile, the return for Miami has been nothing short of brutal. Lewis Brinson, the #18 prospect entering 2018 per Baseball America, hit .203 in four seasons with Miami before being released in 2021. Monte Harrison, another blue-chip prospect, posted a .493 OPS in 41 games with Miami before getting the boot. Isan Diaz, who partook in the 2019 Futures Game, has a -2.9 WAR in four pro seasons. Yamamoto was solid in his rookie year with the Marlins, going 4-5 with a 4.46 ERA in 15 starts, but has thrown just 18 innings since 2020.
2. The Brewers trade Adam Lind to the Seattle Mariners and, in return, receive Carlos Herrera (minors), Daniel Missaki (minors) and Freddy Peralta.
Former All-Star and starting pitcher Freddy Peralta initially began his professional career outside the Milwaukee organization. The six-foot hurler spent his teens with the Seattle Mariners before getting dealt to the Brewers for his age-20 season. The Dominican native quickly rose through the minor league ranks, making his MLB debut in 2018 as a 22-year-old.
Since then, Peralta has been among the most electric pitchers in the Brewers’ system, going 41-25 with a 3.84 ERA in 565.1 innings. He remains atop a loaded Milwaukee starting rotation in 2023 and will be a significant factor in any postseason success for the Brewers this season.
Meanwhile, Adam Lind regressed mightly with Seattle, posting a .717 OPS and a 94 OPS+ in 125 games with the Mariners. The following year, he signed with the Nationals, launching 14 home runs and hitting .303 in his final MLB season. The other two pieces sent to Seattle in the deal never made it to the Show. Carlos Herrera last played in 2019 with the AZL Brewers Gold, while Missaki never appeared with any Seattle affiliate. He spent 2021-2022 with the Yomiuri Giants in the Japanese League. This David Stearns deal is still paying dividends in 2023.
3. Traded Tayler Scott to the Texas Rangers. Received Jeremy Jeffress.
Jeremy Jeffress, an original first-round pick for the Brewers in 2006, was in and out of the Milwaukee organization from 2010-2017. He was traded in 2010, signed as a free agent in 2014, and was traded again in 2016 before being dealt back to the Brewers in 2017. His third stint with Milwaukee was his longest, but it also contained one of the greatest seasons for a Milwaukee pitcher in franchise season.
Jeffress was a man possessed in 2018, going 8-1 with a microscopic 1.29 ERA and 0.99 WHIP with 15 saves in 73 games. He fell off in 2019, but that previous season was a MASSIVE reason for the Brewers winning the division for the first time since 2011.
Meanwhile, Tayler Scott is with the Oakland Athletics but owns a 9.00 ERA in 46 major league innings. He never pitched for the Rangers. Bringing Jeffress back a third time was one of the most clutch moves by David Stearns during his tenure.
4. Traded Tyler Thornburg to the Boston Red Sox. Received a player to be named later, Josh Pennington (minors), Mauricio Dubón and Travis Shaw. The Boston Red Sox sent Yeison Coca (minors) (June 5, 2017) to the Milwaukee Brewers to complete the trade.
To shore up the infield, the Brewers dealt star reliever Tyler Thornburg for a 27-year-old third baseman named Travis Shaw. The infielder had smacked 16 home runs and hit .242 with Boston in 2016. He filled in as the starter at the hot corner for the Brew Crew. Shaw immediately made a massive impact, launching 31 dingers and driving in 101 runs in 144 games.
He did more of the same in 2018, hitting another 32 home runs while posting an OPS north of .820 for the second consecutive season. Injuries derailed his 2019, hitting just .157 in 86 games before his release. Shaw never returned to his slugging ways, but his two-year stretch of 63 home runs will forever be a bright spot during the David Stearns era.
Josh Pennington and Yeison Coca never made it to the majors, while Mauricio Dubon played just two games with Milwaukee before being sent to the Giants for Drew Pomeranz and Ray Black.
Meanwhile, Tyler Thornburg, who posted a 2.16 ERA in his final season with Milwaukee in 2016, missed the entirety of the 2017 season with a shoulder injury. He posted a 6.16 ERA in 48 games from 2018-2020 before undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing the 2021 season.
5. Traded Alex Binelas (minors), Jackie Bradley Jr., and David Hamilton to the Boston Red Sox. Received Hunter Renfroe.
One of the most slept-on deals of the David Stearns regime was acquiring slugger Hunter Renfroe in 2022. The outfielder launched 29 home runs, drove in 72 runs, and posted a .807 OPS in 125 games. He was then dealt for three prospects, including Elvis Peguero, who owns a 3.51 ERA in 57 games with Milwaukee this season.
Meanwhile, David Stearns and company sent Alex Binelas, Jackie Bradley Jr., and David Hamilton to Boston. Binelas is a 23-year-old in AA, while Bradley is batting a lowly .187 since leaving Milwaukee. Hamilton has appeared in 15 games this season, hitting .121 with just two extra-base hits.
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