David Stearns spent seven years as Brewers President of Baseball Operations. As expected in baseball, he made several good moves during his tenure as well as some bad ones.
Overall, by the time he elected to step down, the accumulation of the decisions he made resulted in consistently competitive baseball teams in Milwaukee. That being said, there are a lot of under the radar moves that he made throughout his tenure.
Here, we will take a look at three low key moves from the David Stearns era that paid off in a big way for the Brewers.
1) A trade with Seattle prior to the start of the 2016 season
David Stearns joined the Brewers after the 2015 season in which the team went 68-94. That December, he made a move by trading away one of their key major league contributors at the time, Adam Lind, to the Mariners.
In return the Crew received three teenage pitching prospects: Carlos Herrera, Daniel Missaki, and Freddy Peralta.
Peralta was just 19 years old at the time and was the Mariners 24th ranked prospect. He was displaying an incredible ability to strike batters out, but wasn’t necessarily seeing the best results in terms of ERA. This low key move turned out very well as Peralta developed into a frontline starter, is signed to a long term contract with the Brewers, and when healthy is an extremely difficult pitcher to get a hit off of.
2) Claiming A Future All-Star Off Waivers
Prior to the start of the 2017 season, Carlos Santana was playing first base in Cleveland. Having Santana on the roster was blocking Jesus Aguilar from seeing more major league playing as he appeared in just 35 games for Cleveland from 2014-2016. This ultimately led to Aguilar being designated for assignment.
David Stearns then swept in and claimed Aguilar off waivers. He ended up having a massive spring training and became the team’s every day first baseman. Aguilar broke out in 2018, was an All-Star, and was a huge part of that team’s deep playoff run.
3) A Trade With the New York Yankees
This late season trade ended up paying big dividends for the Brewers. On September 2, 2019 Stearns sent Brenny Escanio and cash to New York for J.P. Feyereisen. Feyereisen was 26 years old at the time and was going to be Rule 5 Draft eligible that winter. Milwaukee protected him and Feyereisen made his MLB debut with the Brewers during the shortened 2020 season.
To begin the 2021 season, Feyereisen got off to a blistering start and didn’t allow an earned run in his first 17 appearances. With his value at an all time high, Stearns then used Feyereisen along with Drew Rasmussen to acquire Willy Adames and Trevor Richards (who was later flipped for Rowdy Tellez) in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. The trade benefited both teams, but unfortunately for Feyereisen he has struggled to stay healthy and ended up missing most of the 2022 season with a shoulder injury.
A lot of transactions have occurred with David Stearns at the helm for the Brewers, but these three low key moves significantly impacted the Crew in a positive way.