Over the course of David Stearns’ tenure as Brewers President of Baseball Operations, we have become increasingly aware of just how smart he is. His track record reflects this to the point where, as fans, we cannot doubt the moves that he makes.
In each of the past two seasons, Stearns and company have gone with the increased depth approach. He tends to target versatile players often times with club control and/or minor league options remaining, or former early round draft picks that have not quite met the high expectations of their previous ball clubs.
At times, this approach has lead to “overcrowding” at positions. Thankfully, Stearns has a manager in Craig Counsell who is a mastermind at keeping players fresh and ready for any opportunity. Injuries and the recent COVID IL have played additional factors into managing all of this as well.
This year, Stearns has made two crucial mid-season trades which are currently paying dividends for the first place Milwaukee Brewers.
1) The trade for shortstop Willy Adames
When the Brewers acquired Willy Adames on May 22nd they had a record of 22-23. Today they sit at 66-45 and are atop the NL Central by a comfortable margin. It certainly is no coincidence that the Brewers have gone 44-22 since Adames joined the ballclub.
As a Brewer, Adames is slashing .293/.376/.554/.930. He has contributed 15 home runs and 45 RBIs with an OPS+ of 147. At times, Adames has played like a legit MVP candidate by showing the ability to carry this ballclub and come up with clutch hits late in games.
2) Quietly trading for first baseman Rowdy Tellez
The Brewers traded for Tellez shortly after Daniel Vogelbach went on the IL with a hamstring injury. They gave up two right handed pitchers in Bowden Francis and Trevor Richards. Richards had been acquired earlier in the season during the Adames deal.
Post All-Star break, Tellez has been providing some much needed production at first base. In the last 17 games, he is slashing .388/.466/.755/1.221 and has contributed 17 RBIs! He recently hit a pinch-hit go ahead 3 run homer vs the Pirates in the late innings and delivered a walk off hit vs the San Francisco Giants.
Right now it is hard to imagine the Brewers without either one of the players. Both have made positive contributions on the field with their performances, in club house, and in the fan base.It isn’t very often that you find Adames not cheering on a teammate and fans are chanting “Rowdy Rowdy Rowdy” at nearly all of his at bats.
In order to get both of these impact players, Stearns gave up two relievers and a minor league pitcher. Things have turned out better than expected for the price the Brewers paid.
David Stearns deserves all the credit for this. He realized needs mid-season and made them happen. Not many ballclubs are that aggressive prior to trade deadline week, but these two trades helped set the Brewers up in the position they are now.