Holy cow! The Milwaukee Brewers just did THAT!
I wouldn't be surprised if Brewers GM Matt Arnold is soon arrested for Highway Robbery considering how he just made out in that three team trade.
In case you missed it, the Brewers, Braves, and Athletics completed a three team trade with the Brewers acquiring All Star C/DH William Contreras, along with RHP Joel Payamps and RHP Justin Yeager.
That's quite the return, what did it cost them? Only OF prospect Esteury Ruiz.
Look, Esteury Ruiz is a talented player and may very well be a great big leaguer, but he is unproven at the big league level and would have lots of competition for playing time in that Milwaukee outfield. He was expendable given the Crew's depth at the spot and they got a massive upgrade at catcher and a couple more arms in exchange for him.
The Milwaukee Brewers are clear winners in the three-team trade involving William Contreras, Esteury Ruiz, and Sean Murphy.
No matter what Ruiz turns out to be as a big league player, this is a fleece for Milwaukee. Contreras is an All Star, hitting .278/.354/.506 with 20 homers, an .860 OPS and a 138 OPS+ this past season. He'll immediately supplant Victor Caratini as the starting catcher in Milwaukee, Contreras is still pre-arbitration and has five more seasons of team control left.
Even giving up Ruiz alone to get Contreras alone would be a huge win for Milwaukee. But wait, there's more!
In addition to Contreras, the Brewers added 28 year old reliever Joel Payamps, who came over from Oakland. After bouncing around with a few teams, he seemed to find something in 2022 with his slider and became more of a sinker-slider type of pitcher that generated a lot of ground balls. He had a 3.23 ERA last year in 55.2 IP. He's another name that will be a part of the Crew's bullpen mix.
But wait, there's still more!
The Brewers also got a minor league reliever in Justin Yeager, who throws gas and has a nasty slider. He generates a ton of strikeouts but has a bit of a control problem. If the Brewers can rein that in, Yeager can be a very effective late inning reliever. It's a talented arm to add to the system and the Brewers have experience working with his type of profile. They've added several of these types of arms this offseason alone.
All of that just in exchange for Esteury Ruiz. Holy fleece. An All Star catcher, a solid reliever, and a high-velo relief prospect all coming back to Milwaukee and the only player heading out is an outfielder that would have to fight for playing time if he remained here. Ruiz is a good hitter, has some power, and is very fast. But this is an incredible return.
The Braves will end up being just fine, they upgraded at catcher going from Contreras to Murphy as Contreras isn't great defensively. But Brewers catching coordinator Charlie Greene is arguably the best in the business at improving catchers defensively and he'll be able to turn Contreras into at least a capable defender behind the plate.
Oakland gets back a number of players, most coming from the Braves with the Brewers supplementing their return for Murphy with Esteury Ruiz. Overall, seems like a light return for Oakland, but they will have a lot of opportunities for the players they got.
For Milwaukee, this trade couldn't have lined up better if Matt Arnold had dreamed it. We asked him to do something bold and aggressive, to go out and "get his guy" at catcher. It looks like he just did, and it barely cost him anything.
This trade brings excitement to the fanbase and the team. It was a much needed move yet still completely off the radar, as is the Brewers MO. No one was expecting William Contreras to come to Milwaukee, yet here we are. This could quite possibly be the biggest fleece for the Brewers since they acquired Christian Yelich from the Marlins.