The Milwaukee Brewers tried and failed to get the best hitter available this trade deadline. The Crew is still left with a plethora of holes it needs to fill if it wants to make a playoff appearance this year. According to recent reports, they are looking at upgrades at second, short, the rotation and the bullpen. Could they also target the best player who would be available right now and probably through next winter?
The New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers were tied in Jacob deGrom talks earlier this season. A week or so after the reports were going, the Mets claimed that deGrom was off the table for the time being. Then, deGrom’s agent got in the mix. He vaguely requested one of two things: that the Mets either extend deGrom, or the Mets trade deGrom. Now, the Mets are reportedly listening again.
You don’t need me to tell you that deGrom is impressive. This year, the hurler has a 1.68 ERA over 123.1 innings. He’s struck 149 and walked just 30. That’s good for a 4.3 WARP, and we’re only 2⁄3 of the way through the season. If it weren’t for Max Scherzer’s constant dominance over everyone and everything, he’d be the undisputed leader for this 2018 Cy Young Award.
This year’s numbers aren’t an anomaly, deGrom has dominated throughout most of his career. The only time he finished a season with a DRA above 3.00 was 2016, when he only pitched 148 innings due to injury. That year was also his lowest WARP ever at 3.2.
Unfortunately, dominance is costly. We learned this when the Brewers traded for CC Sabathia and Zack Greinke. It’s even more expensive when the player is controllable for two more years after the season ends.
That control isn’t just an additional factor in the cost it would take to acquire deGrom, it’s also working against their ability to get him before July 31. The Mets can set a huge price tag for their prized pitcher (which is justifiable) and if no teams meet it, they can wait. Aside from deGrom’s agent request for a trade, there’s no pressure on New York to trade deGrom now.
If the Mets were persuaded to move on from one of the best starters in the NL, they reportedly want major league talent, not just a package of prospects. That means the Brewers are looking at a headlining cost of Peralta or Burnes, who’ve shown they are major league capable. I doubt the Mets wouldn’t also demand Keston Hiura. Then it’s up to the Brewers to fill in a competitive gap. They have major league players with decent ceilings to offer, like Brandon Woodruff, Domingo Santana and Orlando Arcia. Even though those players have struggled this season, they would be extremely valuable as complementary pieces to prospects as good as the three mentioned above.
It’s a painful cost to pay, but the Brewers will have to decide whether or not deGrom would push them over the top for the next two years. Based on his agent’s recent comments, he’s also open to an extension. Logically, it’s probably much more than what the Brewers would be willing to pay, but he’s open to it. Plus, it is the New York Mets. The Brewers have a chance to get deGrom for peanuts based on their trade history.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs