The 2022 Trade Deadline for the Milwaukee Brewers was an absolute disaster. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It was terrible. And it somehow keeps getting worse.
The Brewers made three trades ahead of the 2022 Trade Deadline as a first place team looking to improve their chances of making the postseason and winning the World Series. They traded Josh Hader for four players, then acquired Matt Bush from the Rangers, and finally acquired Trevor Rosenthal from the Giants.
As we all remember, the Brewers cratered after these moves, lost their grip on first place rapidly and never regained it, missing out on the postseason entirely.
As much as the Hader trade sunk the team last year and was an objectively bad trade, could it possibly be the best trade they made that Deadline?
Matt Bush's continued implosion may be making the Josh Hader trade the best trade the Brewers made last year.
After shipping out All Star closer Josh Hader, the Brewers attempted to replace him and completely redo their bullpen, acquiring hard throwing Matt Bush from the Rangers for prospect Antoine Kelly and injured reliever Trevor Rosenthal for prospect Tristan Peters.
Rosenthal never threw a pitch for the Brewers, so there's no positive aspect of that trade. Matt Bush was inconsistent at best last year. His propensity to allow homers has continued into 2023 and now he's up to an 8.22 ERA and four homers allowed in 7.2 IP. Overall in his Brewers career, Bush has allowed 10 homers in 30.2 IP.
Bush was the only long-term big leaguer the Brewers acquired last year. They paid a high price of Antoine Kelly because Bush had 2.5 years of control left. Rosenthal was a rental they never got to use, Taylor Rogers was a rental that had an ERA over 5 with the Brewers, Dinelson Lamet was DFAd before he even got to throw a pitch with the Brewers. The other two players acquired were prospects.
The Rosenthal and Hader trades looked dumb rather quickly. The Bush trade, on its face, made some sense at the time. However, as time has gone on, acquiring him has looked more and more like a mistake.
Despite the issues last year, the Brewers continued to insist that Bush is going to be just fine, that he has great stuff and the results will be there. Well, we're 30 innings into this experience now and the results still aren't there. Bush just isn't getting it done.
Because of his implosion, most recently allowing four runs in 0.1 IP against the Red Sox on Sunday, it made me wonder if the Josh Hader trade is actually the best trade the Brewers made at last year's deadline.
Think about it, they used Esteury Ruiz to acquire William Contreras, Joel Payamps, and Justin Yeager over the offseason, and they still have Robert Gasser in Triple-A who is the Crew's top pitching prospect. There's still some positive value that is coming and can come out of this trade. Contreras has been excellent to start the season and Gasser is the true prize Milwaukee was looking for in that Hader trade.
Now, this isn't to say the Hader trade was a great trade. It was still an objective disaster. Nothing will change that. The Brewers did say they made that move for the sake of the future and remaining competitive in the future. While it did unintentionally sacrifice the 2022 season, the Hader trade looks like it will net some positive value going into the future.
The other two trades look like they won't be netting any positive value for the Brewers. Rosenthal did nothing for them and will forever be stupid. The Matt Bush trade made the most baseball sense at the time it was completed, but it's proving to be a net negative, and it's only going further into the negative the longer he's stayed on the team.
Bush should be losing his 8th inning setup job, and if he keeps allowing home runs at this rate, he may lose his spot on the roster entirely.