Here are the five best moves that were made for the Brewers during the David Stearns era.
4. Trading for SS Willy Adames early in the 2021 season
Coming off their first sub-.500 finish since 2016, the Brewers scuffled a bit out of the gate to start 2021 as well. Through May 21st, the team sat two games under .500, in 3rd place in the NL Central, and already four games back of the division.
On top of that, the shortstop position was struggling. Luis Urias, acquired prior to 2020, was looking like a defensive liability while once top prospect Orlando Arcia had only appeared in four games, going 1-for-11 up to that point.
So, Stearns went out and made the kind of trade you don’t often see that early in the season. He went out and traded with the Tampa Bay Rays for 25-year-old shortstop Willy Adames in return for young pitchers Drew Rasmussen and J.P. Feyereisen.
Adames had struggled to begin the season but had shown plenty of potential before that in Tampa. Meanwhile, the Rays needed pitching help and Milwaukee had depth at the position. It was a trade looked good from both sides.
For the Brewers, it was exactly the shot in the arm that they needed. They would go 74-44 the rest of the way, winning a division title in the process. Adames would put up outstanding production himself, hitting .285 with a .886 OPS while slugging 26 doubles and 20 homers in 99 games and even earning a few NL MVP votes.
Adames would start a little slow in 2022 before getting hot late in the team’s unsuccessful bid to stretch their postseason streak to five seasons. Despite career lows in batting average and OBP, he would set a new franchise record for home runs by a shortstop with 31, surpassing the legendary Robin Yount.
In just shy of two seasons, Adames has proven to be an integral part of the Milwaukee Brewers. Should he be given an extension, it’s possible this Stearns move gave the team their shortstop of the future.