The day that many Brewers fans feared would come for the last couple years has finally arrived. Milwaukee’s president of baseball of operations David Stearns announced on Thursday that he is stepping down from his position, though staying with the club in an advisory role.
Since Stearns took over in late 2015, the Milwaukee Brewers franchise has seen an unprecedented level of success. Starting in 2018, the team reached the postseason a franchise record four straight times, which is 50% of the team’s total playoff runs.
To bring the Brewers to the next level, many moves had to be made and some of them were more important to the team’s success than others. They not only helped propel the Crew to the playoffs in the year each move was made, but set the team up for the future as well.
Here are the five best moves that were made for the Brewers during the David Stearns era.
5. Trading for 3B Mike Moustakas at the 2018 Trade Deadline
The Brewers were on the verge of something special in 2018. After putting up a good run the previous year, Milwaukee appeared to have the type of offense that could help end a seven-year playoff drought. But they were locked in a battle with the Chicago Cubs for the division crown.
With a playoff spot in sight, Stearns decided to pull the trigger on a trade to bring in some more offense. On July 27th, the team acquired third baseman Mike Moustakas from the Kansas City Royals for fan favorite outfielder Brett Phillips, who was blocked at the major league level, and pitcher Jorge Lopez.
There was some roster math that would have to be worked out upon the acquisition of “Moose,” however. The Brewers already had a quality third baseman in Travis Shaw, meaning someone would have to switch positions. That someone would be Shaw, who would move over to play a handful of games at second base for the first time in his career.
Well, the plan ended up working. Moustakas would end up slashing .256/.326/.441 with 12 doubles and eight homers in 54 games down the stretch for the Brewers, helping propel the team to a tiebreaking game 163 win over the Cubs to win the NL Central division crown.
That wouldn’t be all, though. Moose would come up big in the playoffs as well, particularly in the first game of the NLDS against the Colorado Rockies where his walkoff hit in the 10th inning would help set the tone for the series.
Moustakas would actually return to the Brewers as a free agent in 2019, another season that would end in a trip to the postseason.