Brewers History

Milwaukee Brewers: The Three Best Trades in Franchise History

LOS ANGELES - AUGUST 15: Starting pitchers Ben Sheets #15 and CC. Sabathia #52 of the Milwaukee Brewers watch the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 15, 2008 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Gety Images)
LOS ANGELES - AUGUST 15: Starting pitchers Ben Sheets #15 and CC. Sabathia #52 of the Milwaukee Brewers watch the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 15, 2008 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Gety Images) /
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MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – OCTOBER 08: Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers participates in warmups prior to game one of the National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves at American Family Field on October 08, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Best Trade #2: Brewers trade OF Lewis Brinson, OF Monte Harrison, INF Isan Diaz, and RHP Jordan Yamamoto to the Miami Marlins for OF Christian Yelich

January 25th and 26th of 2018 will most likely go down as one of the Brewers’ busiest days in franchise history. Not only did the club bring back Lorenzo Cain on a large free agent contract, but the club was also able to land a highly-talented outfielder from the Miami Marlins in exchange for four prospects.

What the Brewers got:

While his performance in the past two seasons have not been up to expectations, Christian Yelich has already cemented his place in the conversation of best Brewers of all-time. By the time his contract is up in 2028, he may very well hold the top spot.

Yelich had always been known as a speedy, slick-fielding, power-hitting, on base machine with the Marlins, but nobody, including the Brewers themselves, could’ve seen his production in 2018 and 2019 coming.

Yelich immediately won over the hearts of Brewers fans by winning the NL MVP Award in 2018 and then finishing second in 2019. In 450 games for the Brewers, Yelich has already put up 17.0 oWAR and will get another chance in 2022 to get over the back issues that have held him down and return to MVP form.

What the Brewers gave away:

Lewis Brinson, acquired by the Brewers in a trade with the Texas Rangers in 2016, was a huge deal when coming up in the minors with Milwaukee. He was an ultra-hyped prospect that ranked No. 1 in Brewers prospect ranking per Baseball America but just couldn’t deliver at the big league level.

After his acquisition by Miami, he was once again ranked as the No. 1 prospect per MLB.com in the Marlins’ system. Ultimately, though, the team non-tendered Brinson at the conclusion of the 2021 season. Through his first five seasons and 340+ games, Brinson is hitting just .199 while being worth -3.4 bWAR in over 1,000 plate appearances.

Monte Harrison, another outfielder changing hands and going from Milwaukee to Miami, was ranked as the Brewers’ No. 5 prospect per Baseball America heading into the season. Strikeouts have been an issue for Harrison throughout his professional career, but he remains on the Marlins’ roster and is projected by FanGraphs to be a part of a left field platoon for the club in 2022.

Isan Diaz, a middle infielder acquired via trade from the Diamondbacks in 2015, ranked as the No. 9 prospect in the Brewers’ system heading into 2018. Diaz possesses good power in his left-handed bat, but he strikes out a ton and is a capable defender at second base, third base, and shortstop.

He, like Harrison, remains in the Marlins system to this day, projecting to begin the upcoming season at Triple-A after posting just a .185 batting average in his first 140+ major league games.

Jordan Yamamoto, a right-handed starting pitcher, didn’t make his Marlins debut until the 2019 season, but he burst onto the scene with seven shutout innings in his debut. After a respectable showing in 2019, Yamamoto struggled mightily in 2020 and then found himself involved in a trade once again, this time going from Miami to the New York Mets, where he remains to this day.

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