With this year’s trade deadline now behind us, the initial reaction to what the Brewers did seems to range from mild disappointment to disbelief that David Stearns didn’t acquire a starting pitcher (or at least one without major flaws).
In his post-deadline debrief with the media, Stearns offered an explanation — the prices were simply too high, and when guys started getting hurt left and right in the past couple weeks, the organization simply needed bodies.
Stearns said the Brewers' Trade Deadline outlook changed in the last week to 10 days as their pitching situation changed. They needed numbers. pic.twitter.com/PE8DUxsuyR— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) July 31, 2019
The Brewers came into this deadline with fewer chips to cash in than at any point in David Stearns’ tenure, which was going to be an obstacle to begin with. Their biggest chips to trade were Mauricio Dubon and Trent Grisham, and while Dubon was involved in multiple trade talks, he ultimately was only able to fetch a pair of relief pitchers.
The rest of the league apparently felt the same way Stearns did about the starting pitching market, as names like Madison Bumgarner, Robbie Ray Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, Mike Minor and Matthew Boyd stayed put. It looked like a completely underwhelming deadline day for pitching until the news of Zack Greinke’s trade to Houston broke. In that case, Greinke had a no-trade clause to work around and still commanded four of the Astros’ best prospects, the best three of whom likely would have ranked better than anyone the Brewers have in their system.
As for the players the Brewers were able to acquire, Stearns says the initial plan (and initial may end up being the key word there) is for Pomeranz to pitch out of the bullpen. Ray Black and Jake Faria, the pitcher the Brewers acquired earlier in the day from Tampa Bay for Jesus Aguilar, will be optioned to Triple-A San Antonio.
To clear the extra spot on the 40-man roster for all three, Donnie Hart was designated for assignment. The spot vacated by Marcos Diplan — who was traded to Minnesota for cash today after being designated for assignment — was taken by Jordan Lyles.
In the end, with the price — and quality — of starting pitching what it was at this year’s deadline, it looks like Stearns opted instead to try to solidify the middle relief innings and, with no opportunity to make any more trades after today, build organizational depth to make it through the final two months.
If Pomeranz’s turnaround in the bullpen is legitimate, he could become another multi-inning option along with Josh Hader, Junior Guerra, Freddy Peralta, and Adrian Houser (once Houser gets bumped out of the rotation). Black and Faria both have the stuff to contribute at the Major League level, too, and could be considered small upgrades over the shuttle fodder the Brewers had been employing in the first half of the season.