Deadline Grade: A-
I think I can speak for most Brewer fans when I say there is one thing the team needed at the trade deadline: A starting pitcher. Did the Brewers get a starting pitcher? No.
However, I would argue that even though they didn’t get the one thing virtually everyone thought they needed, the Brewers still had a good trade deadline.
Let’s review what the Brewers did accomplish. They acquired Joakim Soria from the White Sox first. The bullpen has been a strong point for the squad all season, so it seemed strange at first for general manager David Stearns to trade for a reliever before anything else. Well, after thinking about it more, it actually makes perfect sense.
First of all, it’s not realistic to expect the bullpen to pitch as well as they did during the first half of the season. They were used very heavily during the first few months, and it’s reasonable to expect that they would slow down as their innings built up even more. Soria adds another solid arm to the already good bullpen, allowing manager Craig Counsell to keep his arms a little more fresh down the stretch.
Not only that, but adding another quality reliever shortens the game further. Who needs an ace starter to go seven or eight innings when you can have a starter go five or six innings and hand off the rest of the game to a dominant bullpen? It’s nice having an ace, but shortening the game can work just as well in big games.
Next, Stearns nabbed Mike Moustakas from the Royals. While the price for Moose was high, he adds a major impact bat to an already potent Brewer batting order. I don’t care that we already have Travis Shaw for third base; if you can hit, a team can find a place to play you.
That’s what I love about the Jonathan Schoop addition. This is a guy who has a lot of versatility across the infield. Sure, he’s primarily played second base for Baltimore this season, but he has a lot of experience at shortstop and third base as well from his time in the minor leagues.
I understand you can’t necessarily play everyone at the same time, but this move gives the Brewers tons of quality depth in terms of hitters. Having multiple guys able to play multiple positions allows for more rest days for regulars, keeping everyone healthier overall and ideally allowing everyone to play at a higher level more consistently.
Sure, I would’ve loved to have gotten a starting pitcher at the trade deadline, especially given the injury woes of Brent Suter, Zach Davies and Jimmy Nelson. However, the current rotation is good enough to keep the team competitive. With the offense and bullpen as good as they are, it honestly wasn’t necessary to sell the farm to get a top-of-the-line arm.
I’ll finish with this parting thought: Sometimes, the best moves are the ones you don’t make. The Brewers are reaping the benefits of not pursuing Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb this offseason. Perhaps it was in the club’s best interest to also pass on the starters at the trade deadline given the strong performances of youngsters like Freddy Peralta and Corbin Burnes.