The first salvo of the 2017 MLB trade season was fired across the bow yesterday as the Chicago Cubs partnered with the crosstown White Sox in a blockbuster deal that sent left-handed starter Jose Quintana to the north side. The first-place Milwaukee Brewers countered with a deal of their own, albeit one not nearly on the same scale - Slingin’ David Stearns swapped 1B Garrett Cooper for lefty reliever Tyler Webb from the Yankees in an effort to shore up his bullpen depth. It doesn’t sound as though we should expect Milwaukee’s young GM to stop there, however.
According to a report from Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports, Stearns and the Brewers “are planning to be buyers” at this year’s trade deadline. Heyman adds that one rival executive thinks they may be “reluctant buyers,” but given that multiple sources have stated that the Brewers were a part of the Quintana talks before he went to the Cubs, it appears as though nothing is truly off the table for Milwaukee.
Per Heyman, the Brewers are at the very least “definitely looking at upgrading the pen” and “are checking in on the better relievers available.” All-Star closer Corey Knebel has been outstanding all season long, but beyond him there has been plenty of uncertainty surrounding the rest of the relief corps. JP Morosi of MLB.com also noted that Milwaukee will likely be in the market for bullpen help. He didn’t link any specific relievers to Milwaukee at this point, but did list players like Brad Hand, Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, David Phelps, Trevor Rosenthal, Raisel Iglesias, and several others among those who will be available in trade this summer.
Morosi also adds within his post that Milwaukee entered the market for starting pitching relatively recently, as well. If the Brewers do truly desire to add an impact starter, their strong farm system leaves them well positioned to go out and get whatever arm they may desire. The Brewers are known to be specifically targeting players controllable beyond 2017 in any trade, and with Quintana now off the market Morosi says Milwaukee would be most interested in either J.A. Happ of the Blue Jays or Sonny Gray from Oakland.
Stay tuned, folks.