The Milwaukee Brewers will need to make some big moves to finally get themselves over the hump from the last few years and deeper into their next potential postseason run. But before they make any major moves, they'll likely need to set them up by clearing roster space with some minor moves.
The first such minor move of the Crew's offseason came on Saturday. Eric Lauer, a left-hander who has pitched mostly as a member of the starting rotation over the last four seasons, was waived and then subsequently outrighted to the minors as reported by Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Acquired via trade prior to the 2020 season with the Padres that sent Zach Davies and Trent Grisham to San Diego and also netted the Brewers Luis Urias, Lauer has pitched in 67 games for Milwaukee over the past four seasons, starting in 60. His 2023 season, however, was one of the worst of his career.
After struggling in 2023, Eric Lauer was outrighted to the minors by the Brewers on Saturday.
Following the pre-2020 trade, Lauer made four uninspiring appearances for the Brewers in the Covid-shortened season before getting more of a chance in 2021. That season, as well as the following one, made it look like he could be a member of the team's rotation of the future.
Lauer made 53 appearances, 49 as starter, in the 2021 and 2022 seasons and went 18-12 with a 3.47 ERA and 1.186 WHIP as well as a ratio of 274 strikeouts to 100 walks. On the back of that success, he also won a rotation spot for the 2023 season.
Things did not go as smoothly to start 2023. Lauer struggled with decreased velocity and a propensity to give up homers early on in the year. Eventually, he would be placed on the injured list and then optioned to the minors upon his return.
Lauer would pitch only briefly at Triple-A Nashville before the Brewers pulled him away to try and work through his issues. In August, he would end up back with Nashville as they looked to build him up for potential support during the team's playoff push.
It wouldn't be until September 30th, after the Brewers clinched the division title, that Lauer would pitch in a game for Milwaukee again, but the results were the same as, if not worse than, earlier in the year. In that game, he gave up eight earned runs over four innings while serving up three homers in a loss to the Cubs.
There is still a chance that Lauer pitches in a Brewers uniform again someday since he still remains in the organization. But those chances got much, much slimmer after Saturday's transaction.