OF Quintin Berry outrighted to Triple-A Colorado Springs, elects free agency
2B Neil Walker elected free agency
RHP Anthony Swarzak elected free agency
RHP Matt Garza elected free agency
RHP Carlos Torres elected free agency
C Jacob Nottingham added to 40-man roster
INF Mauricio Dubon added to 40-man roster
RHP Freddy Peralta added to 40-man roster
RHP Marcos Diplan added to 40-man roster
RHP Dylan Baker claimed off waivers from Cleveland
RHP Jared Hughes non-tendered
C Dustin Houle signed to minor league contract
C Alex Hall signed to minor league contract
SS Jesse Williams signed to minor league contract
RHP Angel Ventura signed to minor league contract
RHP Dylan Baker designated for assignment
LHP Mike Zagurski signed to minor league contract
RHP Jhoulys Chacin signed to 2-year deal
RHP Yovani Gallardo signed to 1-year deal
RHP Dylan Baker traded to Los Angeles Dodgers for cash
C Christian Bethancourt signed to minor league contract with an invite to spring training
RHP Taylor Jungmann released to sign in Japan
RHP J.J. Hoover signed to minor league contract with an invite to spring training
LHP Boone Logan signed to 1-year deal with a team option for a second year
LHP Nick Ramirez signed to minor league contract
1B Ji-Man Choi signed to minor league contract with an invite to spring training
RHP Ernesto Frieri signed to minor league contract with an invite to spring training
OF Lewis Brinson, 2B Isan Diaz, CF Monte Harrison and RHP Jordan Yamamoto traded to Miami Marlins for OF Christian Yelich
OF Lorenzo Cain signed to 5-year contract
LHP Wei-Chung Wang released to sign in South Korea
3B Gabriel Noriega signed to minor league contract
C Andrew Susac designated for assignment
RHP Matt Albers signed to 2-year contract
SS Shane Opitz signed to minor league contract
C Andrew Susac traded to Baltimore Orioles for cash
RHP Alexis Ramirez signed to minor league contract
LHP Joandris Tolentino signed to minor league contract
RHP Claudio Mota signed to minor league contract
OF Quintin Berry signed to minor league contract
The unexpected success of the 2017 season had the Brewers and GM David Stearns at an interesting crossroads -- do they stay the course on the rebuild, planning to let prospects like Lewis Brinson and Brett Phillips get more time in the starting lineup, or do they take stock of the large amount of National League teams not trying to win anytime soon and strike while the opportunity to play in October is there?
As it turns out, the decision was made fairly soon after the season to ‘go for it’ in 2018 and beyond -- even if it wasn’t apparent to the rest of us right away. In a historically cold hot stove season -- and the reasons for that vary, depending on who you ask -- Stearns and the Brewers played the long game, mostly sticking to small moves for the first half of the offseason until signing Jhoulys Chacin to solidify the middle of the starting rotation and bringing back onetime Brewers great Yovani Gallardo to see if he has anything left at the end of December.
January saw more minor moves, many of them made to provide some options in middle relief. Lefty Boone Logan was signed to a major league deal, while veterans J.J. Hoover and Ernesto Frieri -- both of whom have had success in the majors -- were inked to minor league pacts with an invite to big league spring training.
But if we’re being honest, the Brewers’ offseason came down to one day -- January 25th. That’s when Slingin’ Stearns slung the biggest deal of his tenure, and possibly the deal that will define his tenure as GM, sending a package headlined by Brinson to Miami for All-Star Christian Yelich. Minutes after the trade was announced, word leaked that Stearns had also orchestrated Lorenzo Cain’s return to Milwaukee with the largest free agent deal in franchise history (5 years, $80 million).
The moves led most of us to believe Stearns had something else in the works -- after all, the moves left the Brewers with six outfielders capable of (and deserving of) meaningful playing time in the majors. But to this point, nothing else has come to fruition, despite the persistent rumors about Domingo Santana this winter.
For now, Craig Counsell will have to figure out how and where to fit in Yelich, Cain, Santana, Ryan Braun, Keon Broxton and Brett Phillips, but at the very least the Brewers now have one of the deepest outfields in baseball, and a lineup that top-to-bottom rivals some of the best in the National League.
Now the question is how the starting rotation shakes out, especially after losing out on Yu Darvish. While they continue to be linked to Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb and others, as of now it looks like they’re banking on the improvements Chase Anderson showed in 2017 being real. If he truly is Ace Chanderson, the Brewers may have set themselves up well for another playoff race.
What grade would you give David Stearns for his third offseason as GM of the Milwaukee Brewers?
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