David Stearns became General Manager of the Milwaukee Brewers on September 21, 2015. He didn’t get to start making moves until a few days after the season ended. Let’s take a look back at Stearns’ first moves as GM of the Brew Crew.
In over two years leading the front office of the Milwaukee Brewers, David Stearns has made several deadline deals, free agent signings, and acquisitions. However, the first moves a GM makes are always special. They set the tone for the franchise moving forward, and allow fans to get an understanding of the direction the team is going in.
Junior Guerra was selected off waivers from the Chicago White Sox on October 7 2015. Guerra broke out in a big way with the 2016 Milwaukee Brewers, and even has an Opening Day start on his resume. While Guerra counts as Stearns first acquisition, he wasn’t acquired as a free agent or in a trade.
Who was David Stearns first free agent signing?
Jim Miller was signed on November 18, 2015. This came two days after Hernan Perez signed as a free agent, but Perez ended the 2015 season with the Milwaukee Brewers. He was released and re-signed a week later. Miller, a true baseball nomad, had a few cups of coffee in the Major Leagues, but never earned an extended run. He spent part of 2016 getting shelled in Triple-A with Colorado Springs before getting released in May. He made a few stops in independent leagues before calling it a career after 2016.
What was Davids Stearns first trade?
Also on November 18, 2015, David Stearns flipped then-closer Francisco Rodriguez to the Detroit Tigers for prospect Javier Betancourt and a player to be named later. That player was named on December 10, 2015. He was journeyman catcher Manny Pina.
Betancourt is still in the Milwaukee Brewers organization. He spent the 2017 season in Double-A. Betancourt posted a .653 OPS in 107 games with the Biloxi Shuckers. He recently underwent elbow surgery, but should return in time for Spring Training. He’s a glove-first middle infielder who isn’t a Top-30 prospect for the Brewers at this point.
Pina earned a cup of coffee with the Milwaukee Brewers and earned a share of the starting catcher duties last year. In 2017, Pina appeared in 107 games and slashed .279/.327/.424 with nine homers and 43 RBIs. He’s not a franchise catcher, but he appears to be a solid backup option who can handle a pitching staff.
While these deals weren’t major, Stearns did make a few important deals during his first off season. He didn’t sign any impact free agents. However he did complete several trades that are still impacting the Milwaukee Brewers. He traded for Jonathan Villar, Chase Anderson, Isan Diaz, Keon Broxton, and Trey Supak before the winter ended. The Brewers still have a long way to go to contend, but the deals that Stearns made during his first off season will have a lot to do with their eventual return to the playoffs.