Here are the five best moves that were made for the Brewers during the David Stearns era.
2. Signing RHP Freddy Peralta to a five-year extension in 2020
Early in the 2018 season, 22-year-old pitcher Freddy Peralta would take the mound in Colorado for what would end up as a stellar debut that saw him strike out 13 of 21 batters in a scoreless, 5.2-inning start. It was the first glimpse at some intriguing potential.
Peralta would have some up-and-down results over the next couple seasons working out of both the rotation and bullpen. But he would always show flashes of that potential ceiling, and eventually, Stearns would decide it was time to lock that talent up for the foreseeable future.
Prior to the 2020 season, Peralta would be signed to a five-year contract extension worth just $15.5MM guaranteed and a possible $30MM if options end up being exercised. Though he finished the previous year in the bullpen, the deal was made with the long-term goal of Peralta being a starter.
Peralta would spend the next year almost solely pitching as a reliever again before moving to the rotation full time in 2021. That season showed exactly why Stearns made the move that he did.
Freddy was outstanding in 2021 as he became part three of a three-headed monster atop the rotation with Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff. In 28 games (27 starts), Peralta would go 10-5 with a 2.81 ERA, 0.970 WHIP, and 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings, making the first All-Star game of his career in the process.
2022 wouldn’t go quite the way he envisioned, largely due to an injury that knocked out a large portion of his season. Still, the numbers weren’t bad at all with a 3.58 ERA and 1.038 WHIP over 18 games (17 starts).
Peralta will all but certainly go into the 2023 season as one of the team’s top three starters once again. And if he continues to put up numbers similar to the last two seasons, he will prove that the contract Stearns signed him to will end up being an absolute steal.