Milwaukee Brewers: Mitch Haniger is The One That Got Away

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 13: Mitch Haniger #17 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates after hitting the game winning two run home run in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Angels during their game at Safeco Field on June 13, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 13: Mitch Haniger #17 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates after hitting the game winning two run home run in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Angels during their game at Safeco Field on June 13, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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The Milwaukee Brewers once had a promising young outfield prospect by the name of Mitch Haniger. You might have heard of him.

Before he was smacking walk-off home runs and making amazing throws from the corner of Safeco Field, Mitch Haniger was a Brewers farmhand just starting to make waves in a struggling system.

Drafted in the first round in 2012, Haniger had some big potential, and the Milwaukee Brewers were very high on him. But so were other teams.

When the July Trade Deadline came around in 2014, the Milwaukee Brewers were in first place and needed a boost in their outfield immediately. So, then-GM Doug Melvin called up the Arizona Diamondbacks and made a trade for Gerardo Parra, sending Haniger and pitching prospect Anthony Banda in return.

Haniger’s path

Haniger made his big league debut with the Diamondbacks in 2016, but was traded that winter to the Seattle Mariners along with another former Brewer, Jean Segura. Segura has also made himself at home very nicely in Seattle.

Now Haniger is on the verge of becoming an All-Star with his performance this season. He broke out towards the end of last year and is now continuing that success. Haniger is hitting .267/.351/.514 with 15 homers and 50 RBIs this year.

If Haniger had stayed

The 2014 Brewers obviously didn’t pan out and the team went into a rebuild shortly after that disappointing season.

With a full blown rebuild the next year, if Haniger was still in the Brewers farm system, he would’ve been one of the key prospects the team built around as a part of their core group of players.

He could easily be the starting right fielder for the Milwaukee Brewers right now if he had stayed and made the impact here that he’s making now with Seattle. His 139 OPS+ would be the highest on the team.

If Haniger was here and the Brewers knew he was going to be this good, they might not have needed to make the move for Christian Yelich or Lorenzo Cain at all.

The last Brewers first round pick to actually have any sort of sustained success with Milwaukee is Jeremy Jeffress back in 2006, and he was traded away twice. Here’s Haniger, a 2012 first rounder, putting on a show in Seattle, and the Brewers, once again, don’t get to reap any of the benefits of their first round pick.

Former Brewers GM Doug Melvin made a couple of bad trades towards the end of his tenure that led to the barren farm system and the rebuild that followed 2014, and the Haniger deal was one of them. The Crew’s front office personnel have to be kicking themselves after letting a player like that get away from them and not even making it to the playoffs that year.

If the Milwaukee Brewers had made the playoffs in 2014, one could argue that it was worth it, but the late season collapse puts the Brewers on the losing end of this trade. Even though Parra was flipped the next year for Zach Davies, they were able to get a big league player out of the deal, but I’d still rather have Haniger right now than Davies.

Next: Are the Rangers a possible trade partner?

When it comes to trades, you win some and you lose some. The Brewers lost big time when they traded away a possible All-Star outfielder in Mitch Haniger.

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