It was just five days ago that reliever David Goforth was added to the 40-man roster and called up to the big league squad. After just one appearance — a scoreless inning in Sunday’s loss to the Cubs — Goforth was designated for assignment. When no corresponding move was announced right away, it was easy to guess that Stearns had something else coming.
An hour later, the team announced it had made a deal with Baltimore for the recently-DFA’d reliever Oliver Drake. The 6’4” righty attended the U.S. Naval Academy and made his Major League debut as a 28-year-old in 2015. He’s made sporadic appearances in the majors since then, throwing 37 innings in the past 2+ years with 41 strikeouts and 19 walks. Drake is out of options and was DFA’d after giving up 3 runs on 5 hits in a single inning of work against the Red Sox on Tuesday.
So why make what seems like at best a lateral move? It might have something to do with the fact that, according to FanGraphs, Drake throws a splitter. As we’ve noticed over the past year, Stearns & Co. seem to have an affinity for the pitch. The Brewers will owe Baltimore a player to be named later or cash for their latest split-fingered lottery ticket.
Not content to stop there, Stearns made another deal with the O’s, agreeing to trade another recently-DFA’d reliever — Damien Magnifico — to Baltimore. While the Brewers lose an 80-grade name in the deal, they do gain Baltimore’s international signing bonus slot (#15) for the current signing period. According to Baseball America’s Ben Badler, that’s not an insignificant amount of money:
Brewers add $885,300 in pool money for this period, which ends June 15. Orioles don't spend in Latin America anyway. https://t.co/rXRBTMqYBM— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) April 14, 2017
It’s important to note that this pool money is for the current signing period. That means a.) it won’t be added to the Brewers’ pool of $5.25 million for the signing period that starts on July 2nd and b.) it won’t be used to make a run at Shohei Otani.
Still, it’s hard to turn your nose up to an extra $800,000 to spend on the international market in the next couple of months, and it’s good to see the front office taking this approach to add more spending power in an area that’s been neglected in years past by the organization.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs