We have four total honorable mentions, though there are others that could be argued into one of these spots. The first is bringing back an old friend in Jeremy Jeffress for pitcher Tayler Scott.
If you haven’t heard of Tayler Scott, don’t worry, neither have I. Turns out, he’s a 26-year-old right hander in Triple-A for the Rangers.
In return for Scott, the Brewers got Jeremy Jeffress, a centerpiece in a dominant 2018 bullpen. His 1.29 ERA and high strikeout rate were instrumental to building the style of pitching that Milwaukee relied upon in their run to the playoffs. While he’s likely to regress given his FIP (fielding independent pitching) and xFIP are closer to three than two, he is still a significant piece in this organization that was acquired for next to nothing.
Next up is the trade that sent beloved Brett Phillips and Jorge Lopez to the Royals for Mike Moustakas.
This deal is purely in this section because Moustakas might just be a half-year rental. If it weren’t for that fact, this could very well have cracked the top five just because the nickname “Moose” fits Milwaukee perfectly.
Ignoring that, Stearns picked up a solid corner infielder for a small cost. Moustakas was always a significantly underrated contributor to those Royals teams of 2014 and 2015. His bat, for some reason, always went unnoticed in a massive ballpark and, given a full year in Milwaukee, would produce ridiculous power numbers.
On the other side of the trade, Phillips struggled at the plate in Kansas City but played superb defense, sticking to his scouting report to perfection. Lopez, on the other hand, got lit up after the trade and doesn’t seem to be on track to make the Brewers regret this trade.
Following that is the signing of Wade Miley. After struggling before 2018, he came to Milwaukee and provided shocking positivity to an unstable rotation. He showed up in the postseason, performing well against exceptional offenses, including a start in Coors Field.
Last but certainly not least is a 2015 deal that sent Adam Lind to the Seattle Mariners for Freddy Peralta, Daniel Missaki, and Carlos Herrera.
At the time, Lind was coming off an impressive two seasons in Milwaukee and Toronto. However he declined in his only year in Seattle, experiencing offensive woes with troubling defense, producing a negative WAR in that season.
In return, the Brewers received two extremely young pitchers in Peralta and Missaki. While Missaki struggled with injury troubles (Tommy John in 2016), Peralta has shown potential to provide stability at the top of the rotation.
Though small in stature the 22-year-old righty announced his presence in a big way, with a 13 strikeout performance in the most difficult pitchers park in the league. Peralta posted large strikeout numbers in his first year in the big leagues and, if he can cut down on his worrisome walk rate, will be a key piece in a young, high potential rotation for Milwaukee.