Brewers: One Month In, The Willy Adames Trade Paying Off In Big Way
By John Egan
It’s only been a month since the Milwaukee Brewers traded for Willy Adames and Trevor Richards from the Rays. It didn’t take long for Adames to become a clubhouse and fan favorite. Richards is now one of the most reliable bullpen arms. A lot can change in for a team in 30 days.
It feels like Adames has been part of the team for years. They now have the team doing “Tiger Claws” when they get a hit, rivaling the infamous “Beast Mode” during the 2011 season with T-Plush, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. The new everyday shortstop is playing great, which is also helping the team play great.
Milwaukee is 18-10 since acquiring Adames and Richards. It’s really better than it sounds. The Brewers did have a five-game losing streak last week, but so did the Tampa Bay Rays, who are considered to be the top team in baseball right now.
And who was the player to help break the team’s losing streak? Willy Adames. His two-run shot in the top of the ninth helped the Brewers get back on the winning track and start the series split with the Colorado Rockies.
Since joining the Brewers, Adames is hitting .279 and has an OPS of .827. He’s hit four home runs, produced 10 doubles and has 18 RBIs. He has nine home runs on the year, which puts him in the top three of total home runs on the team.
His groundball percentage is also at a career-low 35%, and making a lot better contact at American Family Field and on the road. The career .250 hitter is doing incredible as a Brewer, and his clubhouse presence has added even more.
Adames joining the team also appears to have motivated Luis Urias. Urias had a batting average of .208 when the trade occurred. During June, Urias has hit .274, hit three home runs, and increased his slugging percentage by almost 200 points. Adames’ production appears to be infectious.
The 25-year-old has re-energized the team and helped bring fun back to the Milwaukee Brewers. Getting Adames wasn’t a rental either. He is making $590K this season and his first arbitration year is next season, in 2022. That means the Brewers have Adames for the next three years, too.
Although his first few appearances weren’t spectacular, reliever Trevor Richards is having a solid season with the Brewers and is now a weapon in the bullpen.
Some thought the Brewers gave up too much of their bullpen when they sent Drew Rasmussen and J.P. Feyereisen to Tampa Bay in exchange for Adames and Richards. But number don’t lie. The Brewers have improved and competing for first in the NL Central.
Richards has a 2.63 ERA and two wins over 10 games with Brewers. He’s given up only four runs and 10 hits total. He is a career 4.34 ERA pitcher, and so far proving the point that a change of scenery can do a lot for a player.
Richards has been great in some high pressure situations. On June 13th against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he came into the game with the bases loaded and zero outs. He struck out the side. He had a perfect inning over the weekend against the Rockies. The last six outings have been especially impressive.
Trevor was also put in an impossible situation against the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 21st. Brett Anderson was taken out due to injury after only one out in the second inning. It was 2-1 Arizona with two men on base. Richards did give up a single that brought in another run, but that would be credited to Anderson. That would also be the only hit he gave up. He ended up pitching 1.2 innings with two walks and three strikeouts.
Just like Adames, Richards doesn’t hit arbitration until next year. That means Milwaukee has control of both players for three more years. Richards is a little older than Adames (28), but age won’t matter if he continues to pitch anywhere close to what his last few appearances have been.
The trade appears to be working for both teams. Tampa just called up Drew Rasmussen. J.P. Feyereisen has an ERA of 0.71 and record of 3-1 over 12 games so far for the Rays. It’s sometimes rare that two contending teams will make a trade, and both work out almost immediately for them.
Hopefully the Brewers can continue to ride off the energy of Adames and the bullpen can copy the recent success of Richards. And with the trade deadline still looming and the Brewers fighting for the NL Central, another trade like this one could put Milwaukee over the top for a deep playoff run.