This year was a significant turning point for the Milwaukee Brewers. In recent interviews owner Mark Attanasio admitted that his desire to compete left the Brewers “in the middle” for too long, but the team now has a different direction under a new manager and GM. Former General Manager Doug Melvin kicked the rebuilding process off with a bang this season, trading six players from the major league roster in an effort to restock the farm system and build towards a competitive future. The success of those prospects since coming to Milwaukee has been well documented, but how did the players that the Brewers sent off finish the season?
3B Aramis Ramirez – Traded to Pittsburgh 7/23
Brewers: 302 PA || .247/.295/.430 || 11 HR || 90 wRC+
Pirates: 214 PA || .245/.299/.413 || 6 HR || 97 wRC+
Aramis has traditionally been a slow starter during his career, but a 54 wRC+ in April helped to sink the Brewers’ season early on this year. Ramirez managed to heat up enough by the trade deadline for the Brewers to convince Pittsburgh to add him to the fold. He was a solid contributor as the Pirates won themselves a playoff spot, including four home runs and a .790 OPS in the final month of the season. He grounded into a double play in his final career plate appearance last night, as Pittsburgh fell 4-0 to the Cubs in the NL Wild Card game and was eliminated from the playoffs.
CF Carlos Gomez – Traded to Houston 7/30
Brewers: 314 PA || .262/.328/.423 || 8 HR || 104 wRC+
Astros: 163 PA || .242/.288/.383 || 4 HR || 81 wRC+
Carlos was mostly beloved in Milwaukee as he put up superstar type numbers from mid 2012-2014, but he has struggled with injuries this season for both the Brewers and Astros. His numbers took a dive upon his trade to Houston, but he still managed to be worth 0.7 rWAR in his short time there thanks mostly to his terrific defense. Gomez returned to lineup in time to launch a mammoth home run for the Astros in the AL Wild Card game against the Yankees, helping Houston advance to the ALDS.
SP Mike Fiers – Traded to Houston 7/30
Brewers: 118.0 IP || 3.89 ERA || 3.85 FIP || 121 K || 43 BB || 1.356 WHIP || 14 HR
Astros: 62.1 IP || 3.32 ERA || 4.39 FIP || 59 K || 21 BB || 1.059 WHIP || 10 HR
Fiers was Milwaukee’s best starter for the first half of the season and has another four years of club control, but his advanced age helped make it easier for the rebuilding Brewers to include him in the blockbuster deal with Houston. Fiers promptly tossed a no-hitter in his fourth start with the Astros, blanking the Dodgers on 134 pitches on August 22nd. Fiers struggled with the home run ball after the trade, allowing 1.4 per nine innings as an Astro, but he helped stabilize the rotation down the stretch as Houston fought for a playoff spot.
OF Gerardo Parra – Traded to Baltimore 7/31
Brewers: 351 PA || .328/.369/.517 || 9 HR || 137 wRC+
Orioles: 238 PA || .237/.268/.357 || 5 HR || 65 wRC+
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Parra began the year as the Brewers’ fourth outfielder, but injuries to other outfielders coupled with his red-hot bat quickly earned him an everyday role. Though defensive metrics are down on his work from his gold glove days in Arizona, Parra put together the best four month stretch of baseball of his career at the plate. His much lower career numbers and inflated BABIP, however, made the hot stretch appear obviously unsustainable. Sure enough, Parra regressed badly after being shipped to Baltimore as the Orioles failed to make a late season run and ended up missing the playoffs. It’s been reported that Gerardo and the Orioles have mutual interest in working out a new deal, but his price has no doubt fallen thanks to his poor second half showing.
RP Jonathan Broxton – Traded to St. Louis 7/31
Brewers: 36.2 IP || 5.89 ERA || 3.71 FIP || 37 K || 10 BB || 1.391 WHIP || 5 HR
Cardinals: 23.2 IP || 2.66 ERA || 3.56 FIP || 26 K || 12 BB || 1.352 WHIP || 2 HR
Broxton was a popular punching bag during his time in Milwaukee due to his unsightly ERA and propensity to give up home runs. His peripherals were nowhere near as bad as his results, however, and he displayed his best velocity since 2012. The Cardinals took on Broxton as a “reclamation project,” and once he started on the baby-eating diet his ERA fell by three runs. His peripherals remained mostly the same, however, and he even saw a marked increase in his walk rate. Broxton helped the MLB-best Cardinals lock up a playoff spot, and we’ll likely see him at some point during during the upcoming NLDS with the Cubs.
RP Neal Cotts – Traded to Minnesota 8/21
Brewers: 49.2 IP || 3.26 ERA || 4.72 FIP || 49 K || 17 BB || 1.228 WHIP || 9 HR
Twins: 13.2 IP || 3.95 ERA || 5.99 FIP || 9 K || 5 BB || 1.390 WHIP || 3 HR
It was somewhat of a head-scratcher when the Brewers signed Cotts this past offseason. He performed better than most expected, holding lefties to a .573 OPS and collecting 0.5 WAR while with the Brewers. Milwaukee received little in the way of a return when they shipped the lefty to Minnesota prior to the waiver trade deadline, but it did allow the 35 year old to pitch for a contender. He had issues with the home run ball and the Twins missed the playoffs, but he probably did enough this year to earn himself another major league contract from someone for next season.