The Milwaukee Brewers have made yet another trade in the lead up to the 2022 MLB Trade Deadline, acquiring reliever Matt Bush from the Texas Rangers.
After sending out Josh Hader to San Diego earlier on Monday, the Brewers completed a second trade to also help backfill the bullpen.
The Milwaukee Brewers have traded for RHP Matt Bush from the Texas Rangers in exchange for INF Mark Mathias and LHP Antoine Kelly.
This season, the former No. 1 overall pick in the MLB Draft has posted a 2.95 ERA with the Rangers, serving primarily as a setup man in the bullpen. He averages 97 MPH on his fastball and has an 11.0 K/9 and just a 2.4 BB/9.
Bush is on a $825k salary for this season and has two more years of arbitration until he’s eligible for free agency. He’s already 36 years old, but the life on his fastball is still there.
In exchange for Bush, the Brewers give up utilityman Mark Mathias and pitching prospect Antoine Kelly. Kelly is the headliner here and a surprise inclusion. The first reports had it simply for Mathias, but Kelly is on his way to Texas.
Kelly has been having a solid season in High-A Wisconsin, with a 3.86 ERA in 19 starts with 119 Ks in 91 IP. He’s the Crew’s 16th ranked prospect on MLB Pipeline. He has a high ceiling if he can remain as a starter but could also be a dominant reliever as his floor.
Kelly was going to be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this offseason, and the Brewers likely felt they weren’t ready to include him on their 40 man roster but didn’t want to lose him in the Draft. This way, they get something for him.
Mark Mathias hasn’t been able to stay in the big leagues in Milwaukee but has shown some potential as a utilityman. He should get better opportunities down in Texas.
While the Brewers are getting a power arm for their bullpen, this is a fairly high price to pay. Bush has dealt with injuries and legal issues in the past. He doesn’t have much mileage on his arm for a 36 year old and didn’t debut in the big leagues until he was 30. Bush will combine with newly acquired Taylor Rogers, Brad Boxberger, and Devin Williams in the late innings in the Brewers bullpen going forward.
The loss of Kelly was necessary to get a high powered reliever with 2.5 years of control it appears, and the Brewers like the stuff he possesses. After losing a high velocity arm in Hader, Milwaukee acquires another one in Bush for the back end of the bullpen.
With these moves made, the bullpen is likely taken care of for this deadline, and what remains on the to-do list is to acquire the bats to help out the offense. There’s less than 24 hours remaining for Stearns and the front office to get that done.