The Brewers season has been a nightmare from the get-go. Things continued going wrong when Wily Peralta was forced out of a start with left side tightness. It was hoped he wouldn't miss a start but instead ended up on the DL and is expected to miss at least 4-6 weeks. That's a good 6-8 starts. The in-house options are Taylor Jungmann and Tyler Thornburg and that's pretty much it. Since the season is over it doesn't really matter who gets the rotation spot but those guys could, for various reasons, benefit from more time in the minors. This is where Eric Stults comes in.
Over the last couple of days the Braves and Dodgers completed a baffling trade. The Braves sent Alberto Callaspo, Eric Stults, and two minor league players who are possibly just org filler to the Dodgers for Juan Uribe and injured reliever Chris Withrow. Basically, the Dodgers got some salary relief and opened up third base. The Braves got an upside play in Chris Withrow and a better third baseman in case they can actually compete this year which they can't. It's just a weird trade because no one really important was traded and the Dodgers are basically going to eventually DFA everyone they got.
They already DFA'd Eric Stults and that's why he's going to be basically free to acquire. The Dodgers never wanted him in the first place and only took on his salary to offset the Uribe contract going to the Braves. If the Brewers were to claim him they'd be taking his salary (pro-rated portion of $2 million) for the Dodgers and saving them money. It's highly unlikely the Dodgers would get in the way and try to squeeze an org filler type prospect out of the Brewers in return for Stults.
So why would the Brewers do this? Simply because he's a cheap starting pitcher with some bullpen experience. They need someone to start in place of Wily Peralta. He's not very good but that doesn't matter anymore. The season is in salvage mode even if the Brewers won't openly admit it. So wins aren't important. In fact, they're now counterproductive as the best thing that can happen now is a high draft position for next year.
In addition to that, he does have some experience in the bullpen and honestly had a decent year a little while back as a swing man. When Wily Peralta does return Stults could be transitioned to the bullpen as the long reliever. Currently that role is filled by Michael Blazek but, right or wrong, they're going to want to transition him to late inning relief sooner than later the way he's pitching. So that's an added bonus.
And finally, Eric Stults has one more year of team control left. Next year he'll be eligible for his third and final year of arbitration. If the Brewers are going into a multi-year rebuild phase he's exactly the type of player they'll need. Basically, he's a cheap starting pitcher that can soak up some innings until one of the better pitching prospects is ready.
This isn't an exciting move. This isn't a move geared towards making the Brewers a better team. This isn't even an upside play or something designed to bring in prospects in a trade down the line. This is just the type of utilitarian move a team in the position the Brewers are should be making. In fact, it makes so much practical sense I'd be rather shocked and more than a little confused if the Brewers didn't try and claim him.