Brewers Trade Candidate #5: Eric Lauer
Ideally, the Brewers would not trade away Eric Lauer. However, we can't rule it out as a possibility. Lauer, like Houser, has two years of arbitration remaining before reaching free agency.
Lauer is coming off a solid season, posting a 3.69 ERA in 158.2 IP covering 29 starts. He has become a reliable #4 starter in the Brewers rotation behind the top trio of Burnes, Woodruff, and Peralta. Because of that, and because Lauer is left-handed, his value has increased. His arbitration projection is at $5.2MM for next year, well above what Houser is projected to earn.
That could make the payroll-cutting Brewers consider trading away Lauer this winter. He would bring back a pretty solid return if they were to move him, a much better return than what Houser would get.
There's also the fact that Lauer has been critical of the Brewers front office of late. He publicly criticized management after the Josh Hader trade. Even though a lot of people did the same, when a member of the team does it, it hits a little differently. The front office could simply want to trade Lauer because he was publicly critical of their decisions. Criticism in private is one thing, but doing it publicly could ruffle some feathers.
While it would be a mistake to trade Lauer because of his completely justified criticism of the team, we can't rule out that they could do it. Other teams will have interest because he's a quality left-handed starter with two years of control at a reasonable salary.