Brewers: 5 David Stearns Trades That Completely Fleeced The Other Team
David Stearns Trade Fleece #1: The Christian Yelich Heist
In one of David Stearns’ most remarkable feats, he acquired Christian Yelich from the Miami Marlins fire-sale and the results could not have gone better for the Brewers.
The full trade was a four-for-one, with the Brewers getting Yelich in exchange for top prospect Lewis Brinson, along with Isan Diaz, Monte Harrison, and Jordan Yamamoto.
Let’s start with Yelich and what he did. Right away in 2018, Yelich became a key piece of the Crew’s lineup, hitting in the 2-hole most of the year behind fellow January 25th, 2018 acquisition Lorenzo Cain. Yelich really took off starting at the All Star Break and slugged his way to the 2018 NL MVP award, showing more power than he ever had before.
2019 was more of the same, with Yelich continuing to slug and slug and win a second straight batting title. His season ended early due to a foul ball off his kneecap, which ruined his chances for a second straight MVP as well, but proved even more so that 2018 was not a fluke and he established himself as a superstar in this league.
Now let’s look at the Marlins return. Lewis Brinson was thought to be big league ready right away and the crown jewel of this trade package, but he has struggled to hit at the MLB level. His first two seasons he hit under .200, and in 2020 and 2021, he hit just .226. He hasn’t shown that power-speed combination he was projected to have and has just not panned out. The Marlins released him this offseason.
Isan Diaz has had opportunities to earn the starting second base job in the big leagues, but he’s lost those battles each time, also hitting under .200 in every season he’s played in. Monte Harrison was also strikeout prone and he’s hit just .175 in limited appearances at the big league level for Miami.
The best player in this return for the Marlins was Jordan Yamamoto, who had a 4.46 ERA in 15 starts for Miami in 2019. Although he struggled the next season and Miami then traded him to the Mets before the 2021 season.
So, really, the Marlins got nothing positive out of this trade. Each of the hitters can’t hit above .200, two of the four are no longer in their organization, the other two aren’t good enough to crack the big league roster, and the player they gave up for them has won two batting titles, an MVP, and has been to the playoffs every season with his new team.
This is why we call this deal the Christian Yelich Heist. This was a steal of major proportions. Stearns fleeced the Marlins, hands down. It was somewhat apparent at the time, considering the Brewers didn’t have to give up any of their big time pitching prospects, but has only grown bigger as time has gone on.
This was seen as a fairly even trade when it happened, but the scales have tipped so much in the Brewers direction as each day has passed since then. Not a single prospect panned out for the Marlins, while Yelich has panned out even better than expected for the Brewers.
This is the kind of trade that makes a legendary career for a baseball executive. It’s one that vaulted Stearns even further into superstardom among his peers. Stearns will likely never have a fleece as big as this one in any trade he makes for the rest of his career.
There are numerous other trades that worked out in the Brewers favor that Stearns made. But these five deals qualify as the biggest fleeces of them all.