Around trade deadline time the Milwaukee Brewers pretty early needed help in one area: relief pitching. They went out and made deals to acquire Jeremy Jeffress.
They both are pitching very well for the Milwaukee Brewers. But remove the stats and these trades can be connected by more than just the timing. Yes, both happened around the end of July. But it takes a turn.
In 2016, Jeffress got sent to Texas from Milwaukee along with Jonathan Lucroy. That deal brought Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, and a player to be named later. Well, that player turned out to be Ryan Cordell. For those keeping track at home, Cordell left as lone player traded for Swarzak.
So, when all is said and done, the Milwaukee Brewers essentially got Brinson and Swarzak for Lucroy. The also gave up pitcher Tayler Scott to bring in Jeffress. But getting a top prospect and a reliable bullpen arm is not bad. Especially considering how Lucky has done since then. Kudos the the front office.
All of that madness aside, Swarzak and Jeffress have done very well for themselves since moving at the deadline.
It is always tough to see a talented hitter like Cordell go, but frankly he has more of a future with Chicago. Between Domingo Santana, Keon Broxton, Lewis Brinson, Brett Phillips, and Corey Ray there is quite a bit of competition to patrol the outfield. The sad part for Cordell is that the list of names can keep going. He simply would get lost in the mix if he were still there.
Enter Swarzak. Since joining the Crew, he holds a 2.93 ERA through 15.1 innings. His impressive 14.1 K/9 rate is made better by only by his 1.8 BB/9.
Unfortunately, this is the last year of Swarzak’s contract. While not impossible to resign him, his value will be going up based on recent success. At 31 years old, it would still be a good idea to resign him. Good relievers are always needed, and Swarzak is proving to be just that.
The price to re-acquire Jeffress was 25 year old pitcher Tayler Scott. At the time of the trade, his walk rate was above five per nine innings. It was his first year will Milwaukee after the Cubs dropped him in 2016. A pretty cheap price.
Getting a solid return for the cheap price is the key. That certainly is the case here. Through 13 innings as a Milwaukee Brewers pitcher in 2017, Jeffress owns a 2.77 ERA. That being said, his nine walks pose something of an issue. So far he is lucky to not have that haunt him, but luck has a tendency to run out.
At 29, Jeffress has shown seasons of brilliance. But, he also has more often shown control issues. If the strike zone problem continues that has the potential to cause trouble. Though his contract runs out at the end of the year, he will be arbitration eligible. Jeffress will not hit free agency until 2020.
Both of these pitchers have been very good in their own way for the Milwaukee Brewers. The decision to trade for them at the trade deadline is proving to be very smart. Especially with a playoff chase, bullpen arms are key to success.