Brewers top trade chips #3: LHP Eric Lauer
The Milwaukee Brewers acquired Eric Lauer in November 2019 in a four player swap with the San Diego Padres. That trade also brought Luis Urias to Milwaukee while sending Trent Grisham and Zach Davies to San Diego. In 2020, Lauer struggled mightily. In 2021, Lauer improved greatly and established that’s he capable of being a starter.
Lauer was the sixth man in the rotation for a large chunk of the year. He finished the season with a 3.19 ERA in 24 appearances with 20 of them being starts. With Brett Anderson being a free agent, Lauer’s the leading candidate to slot into the 5th spot in the rotation. However, Aaron Ashby and Ethan Small are right behind him.
The Brewers do love Ashby and Small and will want to give them opportunities in the rotation. That makes a guy like Lauer a bit easier to trade, especially considering Lauer is now entering arbitration.
Lauer is projected to earn $2.7MM this year while those young guys will get league minimum. He has three years of team control left, which is still incredibly valuable to the Brewers and other teams. But if they want to clear room, moving Lauer does make some sense. Both Ashby and Small are left-handed, just like Lauer, so the Crew would still have at least one left-hander in the rotation should he get dealt.
Lauer’s left-handedness also adds to his value to other teams, and another team could be motivated to give maximum return for Lauer coming off a strong season and adding a solid southpaw to their rotation.
Milwaukee acquired Lauer because they felt he was an ascending player and they wanted to get him before his value rose even further, and now his value has continued to rise. If they decide to move Lauer, they would be getting a positive return on their investment.