While there was still some hope lingering that the Brewers could break even or come out ahead on the four player trade with the Padres in November 2019, commonly known as “The Trent Grisham trade”, all that hope is lost now.
The Brewers started off behind the eight ball on this trade as Grisham and Davies put together strong seasons for the Padres in 2020 while Eric Lauer struggled in just a few appearances and Luis Urias missed time with a hamate bone injury and then Covid issues. Urias spent most of his time at third base and missed on the chance to battle for the shortstop job.
But not all hope was lost. Coming into 2021 Urias was the frontrunner for the starting shortstop job, and then won the role outright. He was still set to split some time with Orlando Arcia until, all of a sudden, Arcia gets traded to Atlanta.
Now the shortstop job was all his. As we said then, it was sink-or-swim time for Urias as the starting shortstop. If he swam, this trade could end up working out well for the Brewers.
Instead, he sank.
Hitting just .205 with a couple of multi-error games, the typically patient Brewers pulled the plug on Urias after just six weeks on the job as the starting shortstop. Was that too soon? Perhaps. But for whatever reason, they felt it necessary to make the uncharacteristic move to pull the plug early rather than give a player a chance to work things out.
With the acquisition of Willy Adames and demotion of Urias, the Trent Grisham trade with the Padres is officially a bust for the Brewers.
If Adames does what the Brewers expect, he won’t be relinquishing the starting shortstop job back to Urias at any point in the near future. If Urias isn’t the starting shortstop in Milwaukee, there’s no way the Brewers can recoup enough value to count this trade as a win or even a draw.
The Padres got their starting centerfielder in this deal, and a productive one at that. Plus they got one year of a solid Zach Davies which they turned into Yu Darvish in a trade last winter. In return, the Brewers get a sixth starter that likely won’t ever become a permanent piece of the rotation, and even if he does, it’s as a back-end starter; and now a super-utility man in Urias.
Urias has gone from starting shortstop to utility man. There is quite the difference in positional value there.
With Adames in the picture and then Brice Turang coming up through the pipeline, Urias likely will never hold down the starting shortstop job for the Brewers again.
The Brewers could’ve stomached this deal if they got a starting shortstop in exchange for a starting centerfielder, but instead they gave up a starting centerfielder for a utility man.
Hope was being held out and it was impossible to fully judge the trade before we got to see enough of Urias in an everyday role. It’s clear the Brewers felt they saw enough and decided to make a change.
Bad trades are a part of baseball. Stearns has made a few, but he’s also made a bunch of good ones. However, this one will go down as a bust, and as Grisham’s career goes on in San Diego, it might go down as one of his worst.
There’s no way around this conclusion now. The Brewers have drawn that conclusion themselves, otherwise there would be no reason to deal for Adames.