The Milwaukee Brewers are heading into the 2024 season with a very different team than the one they had in 2023. Gone is 2021 National League Cy Young Award winner, Corbin Burnes, who was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for left-handed pitcher DL Hall and infielder Joey Ortiz, who is the 63rd ranked prospect in all of baseball. Additionally, Milwaukee received a competitive balance Round A pick (or the 34th overall pick in the upcoming MLB Amateur Draft.
Gone too is Brandon Woodruff, who suffered a severe shoulder injury and missed most of 2023. His injury will keep him on the shelf until at least August, and there is a possibility that he may not pitch again.
Of course, other players from the 2023 roster have departed as well, but the young core of Garrett Mitchell, Sal Frelick, Brice Turang, and Joey Wiemer remains intact. That being said, there were a few other offseason moves that the Brewers were a part of, or were linked to, that shocked the MLB world.
In an article posted by MLB.com, baseball insider Anthony Castrovince detailed eight offseason moves that were unexpected. While things like Shohei Ohtani’s $700 million contract and the 12-year $325 million contract the Los Angeles Dodgers gave Yoshinobu Yamamoto dominated the list, Milwaukee was involved, in some way or another, in two of the eight surprising moves.
Craig Counsell Ditched the Milwaukee Brewers to Manage the Chicago Cubs
Just about everyone was shocked when former Brewers manager Craig Counsell, who has always touted himself as a Milwaukee native who was born to be a Brewer, decided to turn coat and signed the richest contract in MLB history for a manager with the Chicago Cubs. The Brewers were not given a chance to counter the offer.
While Counsell claims to have taken the job to set a new standard of managerial pay, he also cost David Ross his job. He also turned entire state of Wisconsin against him.
Of Counsell’s move to Chicago, Castrovince wrote:
“No one was more surprised by this one than David Ross, who was touted as “our guy” by team chairman Tom Ricketts at the outset of the offseason only to be replaced by Craig Counsell a month later…
“Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer had to meet with and orchestrate the deal with Counsell in secret and then flew to Florida to give Ross the unexpected bad news in person.”
For someone who was trying to advocate for the better treatment of managers, Counsell sure did dirty by at least one of them, and no one saw that coming,
Josh Hader Returns to the Team that Traded Him to the Milwaukee Brewers
Everyone knew that Josh Hader would become one of the highest-paid relief pitchers in baseball once he hit free agency. Therefore, the five-year $95 million contract he signed was not that surprising at all. Instead, the surprise was who he signed it with: the Houston Astros, who originally traded Hader to the Brewers in 2015.
Of the surprising signing by Houston, Castrovince wrote:
“Though they had key relievers Hector Neris, Phil Maton and Ryne Stanek reach free agency this winter, the Astros weren’t expected to do a top-of-the-market deal to fill in any blank spots behind closer Ryan Pressly.
“But when Kendall Graveman experienced renewed discomfort in his throwing shoulder after resuming his throwing program and required surgery, likely sidelining him for the entire season, the Astros changed course dramatically.”
Castrovince notes that the Astros and Hader started negotiations and came to an agreement all within 72 hours.