Here are the five best moves that were made for the Brewers during the David Stearns era.
1. Trading for OF Christian Yelich and signing OF Lorenzo Cain on the same day in 2018
Of all the days that Stearns was at Milwaukee’s helm, one stands out as the single most important day of transactions. And Brewers fans know exactly what day that is.
On January 25th, 2018, Stearns started things by completing a blockbuster trade. He acquired outfielder Christian Yelich from the Miami Marlins for a package of four Brewers prospects.
Stearns was not done, though. Later that same day, he would sign World Series champion and former Milwaukee outfielder Lorenzo Cain to a five-year contract as a free agent.
Both would pay immediate dividends. Cain would immediately slot in as the leadoff hitter for the Brewers, getting on base nearly 40% of the time (.395), stealing 30 bases, and making his second career All-Star game.
Yelich, meanwhile, would have a monster season, leading the NL in average (.329), slugging (.598), and OPS (1.000), hitting 36 homers and knocking in 110 runs, and winning the franchise’s first MVP award since Ryan Braun in 2011. And of course, he and Cain would help kick off a run of four consecutive playoff appearances.
Yelich would put up even better numbers in 2019, though a late season knee injury would prevent him from winning back-to-back NL MVP awards. And though Cain’s offensive numbers would dip, he would finally win the first Gold Glove award of his career, an honor he probably should have received much earlier.
Though Yelich has struggled at times since the knee injury, he remains the face of the franchise while Cain was designated for assignment earlier this year after reaching 10 years of MLB service time. No matter what the future holds, that single day is responsible for so much of the joy that Brewers fans have gotten to experience over the last few years. And we have Stearns to thank for that.
Want your voice heard? Join the Reviewing The Brew team!
Stearns will be leaving behind quite the legacy from his time molding the roster of the Milwaukee Brewers. These five moves represent the pinnacle of his success during that time.