Every trade deadline, the Brewers are buying big league players and trading away minor league prospects in return. Some are concerned with the trading away of prospects who could be great players in the future. Sometimes it works out that way, sometimes the prospects don’t pan out.
For the most part, the Brewers have been very conservative when it comes to their farm system and trading prospects away. There have been very few trades made at the Deadline where the Brewers ended up giving away a player who was far better than what they got back in the deal.
Let’s take a look at Stearns’ history of trading away prospects at the Trade Deadline. The scope will be limited to mid-season deals only, so the Christian Yelich trade, for example, will not factor in here, even though all four of those players did not pan out.
Under David Stearns, the Brewers have traded away 18 prospects at the Deadline. How have they turned out so far?
Prospects Traded Away: Kodi Medeiros, Wilber Perez, Jorge Lopez, Brett Phillips, Jean Carmona, Luis Ortiz, Bryan Connell, Johan Dominguez, KJ Harrison, Gilbert Lara, Demi Orimoloye
This year was by far the most active season under Stearns in which the Brewers were dealing away prospects for big league upgrades. Back in 2018 they still had the August trade deadline and Stearns dealt five lower level prospects for three players.
Kodi Medeiros, the former first round pick, and Wilber Perez were traded for Joakim Soria. Medeiros is a free agent and has never reached the big leagues. Perez is in High-A with the White Sox and has a 6.42 ERA this year after posting a 6.52 ERA last year.
Jorge Lopez and Brett Phillips went to Kansas City for Mike Moustakas. Phillips has now found a home in Tampa Bay as a reserve outfielder and has had some big moments. Lopez has also found a new home in Baltimore and is a reliever now. He made the All Star Game this year as a closer.
Jean Carmona and Luis Ortiz went to Baltimore for Jonathan Schoop. Carmona didn’t find success there and recently signed back with the Brewers this year before just being released again the other day. Ortiz has made the big leagues but has struggled to find success and has not stuck around at the highest level. He’s also bounced around to a few different teams.
Bryan Connell and Johan Dominguez went to the White Sox for Xavier Cedeno. Connell never made it past rookie ball and hasn’t played since 2019 while Dominguez is up in Triple-A Charlotte for the Sox, but is out for the season with an injury. MLB Pipeline ranks Dominguez as the White Sox’s 25th best prospect.
KJ Harrison and Gilbert Lara went to Washington for Gio Gonzalez. Harrison was released by the Nats in June after making it up to Double-A. Lara is in Double-A and is hitting just .237 with a .661 OPS.
Demi Orimoloye went to Toronto for Curtis Granderson. Orimoloye is a free agent and has not played at all this season and made it as high as Double-A.
Overall, the Brewers don’t miss any of these prospects. Lopez took forever to develop and didn’t have a spot on the roster. Phillips they probably miss for his personality but overall the outfield simply didn’t have room for him and he’s still just a fourth outfielder.
Prospects traded away: Cody Ponce, Mauricio Dubon
It was a more mild buying season for the Brewers in 2019. They traded Cody Ponce to get Jordan Lyles. Ponce made 20 appearances in the big leagues with the Pirates in 2020 and 2021 and posted a 5.86 ERA in 55.1 IP. He was released after 2021 and no one has signed him for 2022.
Mauricio Dubon went to San Francisco for Ray Black and Drew Pomeranz in a significant trade. Dubon enjoyed some early success with the Giants. He hit .279 with four homers and a 98 OPS+ with San Fran in 2019 immediately after the trade. In 2020, he hit .274 with a 100 OPS+ playing nearly every day.
Dubon then struggled a bit in 2021, hitting just .240 with a .655 OPS. This season, the Giants traded Dubon to the Astros and the now 27 year old infielder has a .210/.248/.312 slash line between the two clubs.
Prospects traded away: Bowden Francis, Alberto Ciprian, Cooper Hummel, Reese Olson, Payton Henry
Bowden Francis was the prospect sent to the Blue Jays for Rowdy Tellez, along with big leaguer Trevor Richards. Francis has made a few appearances in the big leagues but has yet to stick at the highest level. He was deserving of an opportunity that just wasn’t going to be there in Milwaukee but was a back-end starter at best.
Alberto Ciprian and Cooper Hummel were sent to Arizona for Eduardo Escobar. Hummel has made his big league debut this year and has filled a utility role nicely for Arizona but has gone up and down between Triple-A and the big leagues. Ciprian is 19 years old and in Arizona rookie ball this year. He’s hitting .226 with a .642 OPS and a whopping 45% strikeout rate.
Reese Olson was a rising pitching prospect that the Brewers traded for Daniel Norris. He’s currently ranked as the Tigers’ 14th best prospect and has a 4.44 ERA in 79 IP with 116 Ks this season in Double-A. Norris, meanwhile, did not perform well with the Crew.
Payton Henry was traded to the Marlins for John Curtiss at the deadline last year. Curtiss made a handful of appearances out of the bullpen that did not go well before his elbow blew out. He was non-tendered and hasn’t been signed since. Meanwhile, Henry has made it to the big leagues for Miami but has played in just 20 games and has a .186 batting average. He’s currently in Triple-A.
So far, that’s been it for Brewers prospects dealt away for upgrades at the Deadline. The only ones from this list the Brewers really might regret could be Mauricio Dubon and Reese Olson. Lopez and Phillips have been able to stick around in the big leagues and put themselves in important roles. Plus Moustakas was well worth that acquisition cost. Olson might end up being a solid starting pitcher and knowing what they got from Norris in that deal makes the sting a bit worse.
Still, overall there isn’t really a “one that got away” kind of prospect Stearns has dealt that makes one think that David Stearns never should have traded them. Keep that in mind as we hit the 2022 MLB Trade Deadline.
There aren’t any players the Brewers truly regret having traded away at the Deadline and these are just prospects. They don’t always pan out.