Decisive and quick to strike, Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns had a solid 2021 season running the Milwaukee Brewers. Once again, the Brewers made the playoffs, their fourth straight appearance. That’s the longest such streak in franchise history.
It was not easy to get there, despite a comfortable division lead when September rolled around. The Brewers front office made a whole bunch of moves throughout the year to supplement the club and get that roster to the level where they could pull away in the division race.
That involved Stearns jumping ahead of the curve and being the first to strike on a market rather than sitting and waiting out the market, which has been his typical MO in recent years.
As the year 2021 comes to a close and we turn over to a new calendar year and a new season in 2022, let’s look back on the best transactions the Brewers made in 2021.
(Important note: Moves from this current offseason will be excluded since we aren’t able to see how the moves played out on the field. So, for example, the Hunter Renfroe trade is ineligible for this list)
Brewers Honorable Mention Best Move of 2021
Claiming Hunter Strickland off Waivers
While this move didn’t quite make the Top 5, it’s one that’s certainly worth mentioning. Hunter Strickland struggled with the Angels bullpen and was placed on waivers. The Brewers put in a claim and added the 32 year old veteran to their bullpen on June 12th.
After posting a 9.95 ERA in Los Angeles, Strickland made 35 appearances with the Brewers and posted a 1.73 ERA in 36.1 IP. He got the Brewers out of some big jams and earned the trust of Craig Counsell, performing in some big moments down the stretch.
Brewers #5 Best Move of 2021: Acquiring Eduardo Escobar from Arizona
The Brewers needed an infusion of power into their lineup and another option at the corner infield spots. Eduardo Escobar was a perfect fit. He was having a great season while on the final year of his contract with a team that was on pace to lose well over 100 games this season. Escobar was an obvious trade candidate.
A switch hitter with power, Escobar would’ve been a perfect fit in a lot of lineups. In fact, there were rumors that a deal was in place earlier in July to send Escobar to the White Sox. But that deal ended up not happening, and the Brewers were able to acquire him a few weeks later.
For one of the most highly sought after commodities on the market, the fact the Brewers were able to acquire him without surrendering a single Top 30 prospect makes this a great move.
Escobar didn’t turn out to be everything the Brewers hoped, as he did spend some time on the IL and his power didn’t show up as often as they would’ve liked. But he was solid in that lineup, added some depth to it, provided some veteran leadership, and gave Craig Counsell another good option to fill out his lineup.
His slump to end the season notwithstanding, acquiring Escobar was a really good move for the Brewers in 2021 and it comes in at No. 5.