At 1:16 pm CT, Robert Murry of The Athletic tweeted the following:
Over the next few minutes, Brewer Nation went out of their collective minds. What kind of significant trade could this be? Was postseason hero Madison Bumgarner coming to Milwaukee? Jon Morosi doused those dreams.
Madison Bumgarner is *not* going to the Brewers.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 31, 2019
Okay, no Bumgarner...then the significant trade would have to involve former Brewer reliever Will Smith coming to Milwaukee. Jon Morosi continued to break the hearts of Brewers’ fans.
Will Smith is not going to the Brewers in the reported trade agreement between Milwaukee and San Francisco, either.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 31, 2019
What could Murray have meant by “significant trade” that involved Mauricio Dubon? It turns out the significant trade was Dubon for recently failed starter and current left-handed reliever, Drew Pomeranz, and hard throwing right-handed pitcher, Ray Black.
The build-up created another collective feeling among Brewer fans: disappointment. Those emotions were compounded in that Dubon had achieved “most favored” prospect status among Brewer fans, and for good reason. Dubon appeared on the fast track to the big leagues. When Orlando Arcia was in his epic struggles at the plate in 2018, ultimately getting him sent down to AAA, Mauricio Dubon was the player that was to replace him. At best one week from being called up, Dubon suffered a season ending knee injury.
Coming off the injury, Dubon endeared himself further as he demonstrated grit and a great attitude via social media, broadcasting work outs and progress. Coming into Spring Training there was a lot of optimism around the young shortstop. Unfortunately, bad luck in the form of a stomach illness shut him down again. During the ordeal, he lost 15 pounds.
Again adversity seemed not to stop him as he played at a high level at AAA San Antonio. He played so well, he got a proverbial “cup of coffee” with the Brewers. While he played sparingly, the call up made him the first Honduran-born and raised player in the history of the game.
He was sent down after only a few games. Back in San Antonio, he had continued success. At the point of the trade with the Giants, Dubon slashed .297/.333/.475 with 16 home runs. As Craig Counsell said, he was major league ready.
Drew Pomeranz and Ray Black were the return for Dubon. Pomeranz is a rental, and Black is controllable. Pomeranz has been a starter for most of his career. In 2019, he held down one of the rotation spots for San Francisco. Over 17 starts with the Giants, he posted a 6.10 ERA. That performance coupled with a poor 2018 caused his transition to the bullpen.
It looks like his stuff plays up in shorter stints. At least the initial results suggest that. Over 5 1⁄3 innings in relief, he has not given up a run, he has struck out 8, and batting average against is .067. The 2-month rental might be a force down the stretch in relief, but the sample is too short to know.
Hard throwing right-harder Ray Black is the other pitcher coming to Milwaukee. He will start off in San Antonio, but Craig Counsell says he will throw meaningful innings for the big league club this season. Over two MLB seasons, he has thrown a little over 25 innings, and only 2 in 2019.
Black’s numbers are less than stellar in Triple-A, posting a 5.16 ERA and a 5.16 BB/9. He is striking out 14.29 per 9 in AAA and his fastball grades at an 80, routinely hitting 100 MPH. David Stearns obviously feels that his stuff can be harnessed into something more than a AAAA arm.
Not many Brewer fans were enamored with this trade. Mauricio Dubon had become a fan favorite. The rental of Drew Pomeranz seems light. However if Pomeranz’ relief results continue to manifest as well as they have to this point, over the next couple of months, the Brewers might have another dominant arm in their bullpen.
Ray Black might be the big value here. He is a big risk. While his fastball grade is 80, his command rating is 35. Dubon was probably at least an utility guy who could play anywhere and hit a little. Black, already 29 years old, may be nothing more than a fringe arm that the Brewers send up and down through the years. However, if his stuff can be harnessed, i.e. finding a modicum of command, he could be a dominant force at the back end of the bullpen for years to come. And the force would come at a very reasonable price in terms of dollars.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference and Fangraphs