No. 5: The Jonathan Lucroy Trade
Coming in as the fifth best present from David Stearns is an August 1st, 2016 trade featuring Jeremy Jeffress once again. This time, however, Jeffress was dealt with Jonathan Lucroy to the Texas Rangers for Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, and Ryan Cordell.
At the time, this was a fair trade for each side. Lucroy was in the midst of a stellar season from a position that lacks in offense. His power was peaking and his defense was above average, contributing to a wins above replacement (WAR) of three after just below 400 plate appearances prior to the trade. Jeffress was also having a productive year, with an ERA of 2.22 and a FIP of 3.17.
Each player continued their success with the Rangers, but struggled in the year following. Jeffress returned to form two years later while Lucroy hasn’t experienced nearly the same success. However, in return for just about a third of a season’s worth of productivity from each veteran, the Rangers relinquished three key players in future Brewers’ deals.
Ryan Cordell would be sent away in 2017 in the midst of a banner chase for Anthony Swarzak. Swarzak came into Milwaukee and was very effective for a few months, putting up high strikeout numbers and a solid ERA.
Next up is Luis Ortiz, who was the key piece in a deal for Jonathan Schoop. While this gives Brewer’s fans bad memories of a, lets just say, below-average trade, Schoop was supposed to come in as a solid hitter at a position that needed filling. He didn’t perform up to the expectations of the trade, but given his history, was seen as the possible “missing piece” in the 2018 run. Had he performed similar to the three years previous, Ortiz would have gone down as the prospect that bought the Brewers’ World Series run.
Finally comes Lewis Brinson, the highlight of this trade. He will be discussed more at depth later (spoiler alert) but, apart from struggling in Miami this year, was most recently rated as the 13th best prospect in baseball by MLB.com. Brinson was pegged as a Carlos Gomez-style hitter but was in the middle of a crowded outfield. In some ways Brinson did produce for the Brewers, just in an indirect fashion.