David Stearns’ Batting Average In Free Agency, Part 1
Free agency can encompass both major league free agents and players signed to minor league contracts. There’s a big difference between signing someone to a major league deal and a minor league deal. For the purposes of this article, it was important to filter out the minors deals.
As important as minor league deals are in player acquisition, determining a batting average for that group is impossible. If they’re signed to minor league deals and play well in the minors, but not earn a call up, would that go as a hit or a miss? For that reason, we will be looking strictly at Stearns’ batting average on major league contracts given out to free agents.
There are some highlights from minor league deals that should be pointed out, however. Hernan Perez was signed back by Stearns on a minors deal after being claimed earlier in 2015 by Doug Melvin. Blaine Boyer was a solid hit in 2016, Ji-Man Choi and Wade Miley were productive, to say the least, in 2018, while Jay Jackson and Justin Topa were signed in 2019 and turned out to be good.
When it comes to major league signings, Stearns has signed 27 free agents to big league deals. How has he done?
- Chris Carter – Hit
- Carlos Torres – Hit
Chris Carter may have struck out a lot and he may have been non-tendered at the end of the 2016 season, but that man slugged 41 homers to lead the National League. For Stearns’ first big league signing on a team that was embarking on a rebuild, this is a hit.
Carlos Torres was a productive member of the Brewers bullpen, posting a 2.73 ERA in 72 games in 2016. He had a slightly less productive 2017, but he was a good addition.
Stearns is batting 1.000 so far.
- Eric Thames – Hit
- Tommy Milone – Miss
- Eric Sogard – Hit
- Neftali Feliz – Miss
- Jared Hughes – Hit
Stearns starts off strong once again, signing slugging first baseman Eric Thames to a three year deal. This ended up a big hit.
Eric Sogard, the first time around, was a huge hit in Milwaukee. That one was a good signing.
Neftali Feliz was kind of a reclamation project, having been a star closer for a bit with the Rangers before falling off for a few years. Feliz tried to hold down a closer’s role again but he just couldn’t do it. This was a miss.
Jared Hughes was signed right at the beginning of the season and he posted a 3.02 ERA that year for Milwaukee. A solid addition indeed, he goes as a hit.
Hits: 5 Misses: 2
- Jhoulys Chacin – Hit
- Boone Logan – Miss
- Lorenzo Cain – Hit
- Matt Albers – Miss
- Dan Jennings – Hit
Despite thoughts that the Brewers might get involved at the top of the free agent pitching market that winter, David Stearns signed Jhoulys Chacin as his big rotation addition. It ended up working out quite well as Chacin had a great 2018 season. That goes down as a hit.
Matt Albers was looking like a hit for the first two months of the 2018 season, then he was practically un-pitchable. He struggled down the stretch in 2018 and after returning for the 2nd year of his contract in 2019, his struggles continued. Albers will go down as a miss.
Dan Jennings was another bullpen addition at the beginning of the regular season and Jennings had a very solid year in Milwaukee with a 3.22 ERA. He was a hit.
Hits: 8 Misses: 4