The most chaotic time of the year has come to an end. General managers can finally get some sleep. Site editors can finally stop refreshing Twitter feeds. And the Brewers can move forward with their new roster.
The Brewers were involved in plenty of trade deadline chatter and like usual, the rumors of making a splash were present. But with the lack of big moves that were made, you have to think David Stearns is happy with where his roster stands.
Let’s once again get out the red sharpie and grade Milwaukee’s 2021 MLB Trade Deadline deals.
Brewers Trade Deadline Deal #1: Crew Adds An All-Star In Eduardo Escobar
Eduardo Escobar is a Milwaukee Brewer. The 32-year old utility man has played just about everywhere in his MLB career. And yes, I really mean about everywhere. The only position he hasn’t played? Maybe the position he’ll see the most of his time at with Milwaukee…1st base.
Escobar was just selected to his first All-Star Game and is having a very solid season. He is slashing .246/.300/.478 with 22 home runs and 65 runs batted in. While his slash line isn’t anything spectacular, his power is quite attractive and the fact that he’ll be the only switch hitter on the Crew’s roster helps his chances of finding playing time a lot. 15 of his 22 home runs came from the left side while his batting average increases almost 40 points as a right-handed hitter.
In return, the Brewers took on the remaining $2.8MM of Escobar’s remaining contract along with the sending over of catcher Cooper Hummel and infielder Alberto Ciprian. Hummel is 26 years old and was a solid hitter in the Brewers farm system but never cracked the Top 30 according to the MLB Pipeline. The 18 year-old Ciprian is a raw prospect out of the Dominican Republic who is hitting .378 for the Brewers Dominican Summer League affiliate.
All in all, these were mid-level prospects and a little bit of cash in exchange for a guy that can really help this team in the power department and playing different positions. It’s another infielder added to the mix after Stearns pulled the trigger on Rowdy Tellez and Willy Adames…and those moves are turning out pretty well if you ask me.
Brewers Trade Deadline Deal #2: A Lefty Specialist In Daniel Norris
David Stearns adds to the bullpen with another left-handed pitcher. The Brewers big league bullpen currently only has two lefties, Brent Suter and Josh Hader. Daniel Norris provides depth among that group and a knack for getting out lefties.
This isn’t a big, flashy move as Norris has a 5.89 ERA on the season. His stats over his career haven’t been great, but he showed a lot of promise when he was younger and was a Top 25 prospect in all of baseball in 2014. So there’s talent in there.
The Brewers must feel there’s untapped potential with Norris and they know how they can tap into it. Norris will be a free agent at the end of the year. If they can fix him in two or three months, perhaps he could come back in free agency.
In return, the Brewers gave up Reese Olson, who is probably a better prospect than what the Brewers gave up to get Eduardo Escobar, honestly. That speaks to how good the Escobar trade was and what they feel about Norris. Olson still isn’t a great prospect, but he impressed scouts this year with a 4 pitch mix and high strikeout numbers in High-A.
That’s a little higher price than maybe they needed for an unproven guy, so the deal gets a B for now, but Norris could turn out to be better than his Detroit numbers indicate.
Brewers Trade Deadline Deal #3: John Curtiss for Payton Henry
This was the bigger bullpen acquisition most people were looking for. Stearns said he needed bullpen depth, and he got bullpen depth. John Curtiss is having a great season for the Marlins, with a 2.48 ERA in 40 IP this year. He doesn’t walk many guys and has averaged one strikeout per inning.
Curtiss is under team control through 2025, which is fantastic for the organization. He won’t reach arbitration until the 2023 season and is a talented young arm. He can be a key piece in the bullpen not just down the stretch in 2021, but for the next several years.
All it took to acquire him was catching prospect Payton Henry. He’s one of the Crew’s many catching prospects and reached Triple-A this year, but he’s still not seen as a better prospect than Mario Feliciano and with Omar Narvaez’s success this year, the starting job in Milwaukee isn’t opening anytime soon.
Henry was Rule 5 eligible last year but wasn’t selected as he hadn’t played above High-A at that point. He would be eligible again this year and faced another uphill battle to make the 40 man roster. Getting a controllable reliever for Henry is a great move and doesn’t take away from the Crew’s future at all.
It was only three deals in the week leading up to the deadline, but Stearns did well to address some holes on this roster.