The Milwaukee Brewers completed a trade with the New York Mets on Saturday afternoon, sending outfielder Keon Broxton to New York in exchange for three minor leaguers.
Hearing that Keon Broxton was traded away came only as a mild shock to most fans. We knew that there wasn’t going to be much playing time for Broxton with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019 and he was out of minor league options, making him an obvious trade candidate. But the lack of any sort of rumored lead up to the trade is what caught us a little off-guard.
The biggest surprise with this trade was not that it happened, but the return the Brewers were able to get in return for Broxton.
The Return Package
Reliever Bobby Wahl is the “centerpiece” of the return package. He’s an MLB-ready middle reliever that posted a 2.20 ERA in the Triple-A last season. His fastball sits in the mid-upper 90s and he can touch 100 MPH at times. Wahl has struggled with injuries and control issues, but perhaps new pitching coach Chris Hook can maximize Wahl’s potential.
Righty Adam Hill was a 4th round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. This is the second 2018 Draft pick the Milwaukee Brewers have acquired this offseason. They also added Noah Zavolas, an 18th rounder in the Domingo Santana trade. The Brewers likely were targeting Hill in the fourth round of this year’s draft, but the Mets selected him early in the round. He posted a 2.35 ERA in nine games in his first professional season.
Hill has the potential to be a mid-rotation starter, and MLB Pipeline ranked him as the 139th best Draft prospect this year. It’s too early to tell if Hill will pan out but given his high draft position and early success in Low-A ball, the Brewers must feel they have some lucky numbers with this lottery ticket.
Infielder Felix Valerio is an 18 year old DSL prospect that’s a little undersized at 5’7″, but he showed great speed and hitting ability this year. He’s as much of a lottery ticket as any of the three.
Grading The Trade: A+
There’s simply no other answer to this. GM David Stearns was able to flip Keon Broxton, a career .221 hitter, coming off a season where he hit .179 and spent most of his time in Triple-A, who had no minor league options and an abysmal strikeout rate, for three players.
Stearns had no leverage at all with other teams, and he still managed to come out with multiple players. Wahl can help the bullpen immediately, which bolsters an area of strength, and adds two lottery tickets to re-stock the farm system down at the bottom, which is imperative to continuing a championship window beyond this initial five years.
To get three players in return, two of which have a decent chance to make an impact on the big league club in the next few years, for Broxton, who has a very limited offensive profile, is fantastic work by Stearns and the rest of the front office.
In our Twitter poll, 57% of fans gave this trade a ‘B’, while only 27% gave it an ‘A’. But I think there’s no way this trade could be given anything less than an ‘A’ given that the Brewers gave up basically a non-essential, easily replaced player, and got three young players, one a recent 4th round pick, in exchange.
Sure, Broxton has four years of team control remaining, but his bat still has not improved and he’s not much more than a bench outfield option that brings great defense. To get this much back in return for Broxton is great.
David Stearns has made known that maintaining depth in the organization is extremely important. He dealt from an area of strength in the outfield to add depth to his bullpen, because you can never have enough pitchers, and added depth to his minor league system.
This trade needed to be done from the Milwaukee Brewers standpoint, and they were able to get a good return despite having nearly no leverage.