In a previous article, we assessed what the Milwaukee Brewers needed to do as the 2023 MLB trade deadline approached. The Brewers' focus was clear: improve their offense and address bullpen needs to maintain their competitive edge while safeguarding their top prospects.
As the deadline loomed, the team strategized to fill key positions in right field, first base, designated hitter (DH), and left-handed relief pitching. In this article, we delve into the results, analyzing the acquired players and how they fulfill the Brewers' needs. We will also explore the trade-offs and sell moves made, including the promising sleeper prospect Bradley Blalock and the added pitching depth of Evan McKendry.
Addressing Offensive Needs
The Brewers' offense struggled in key positions, especially in right field, where the collective slash line of .189/.281/.286 was concerning. The acquisition of Mark Canha helps resolve this issue. With a season slash line of .245/.343/.381 (102 OPS+), Canha provides a significant offensive upgrade. His on-base skills and consistent extra-base hits, make him a valuable asset for the team. Canha also brings positional versatility, further adding flexibility to the Brewers' lineup.
Similarly, the first base position needed reinforcement, which Carlos Santana brings. Santana brought a slash line .235/.321/.412 with 12 home runs (Now 13). He presents a significant offensive upgrade from Rowdy Tellez and Owen Miller who previously served time there. Along with an offensive upgrade Santana brought strong defense at first base with six defensive runs saved.
Improving Left-Handed Relief
The Brewers needed to address the absence of injured left-handed reliever Justin Wilson. Andrew Chafin's acquisition proved crucial in this regard. With an impressive 10.4 K/9 rate and the ability to miss bats from the left side, Chafin's performance this season (4.19 ERA, 49 strikeouts in 34.1 IP) makes him a valuable addition to the Brewers' bullpen. His presence in high-leverage situations provides the team with a strategic advantage against left-handed hitters.
The trades made by the Brewers were calculated moves that addressed specific needs without overpaying. Mark Canha, Carlos Santana, and Andrew Chafin were acquired without compromising major-league talent or top prospects. The low-risk, medium-reward nature of these trades aligns with the Brewers' commitment to their "bites of the apple" approach.
In exchange for bolstering their roster, the Brewers made a couple of sell moves. Trading Alex Jackson for Evan McKendry and Luis Urias for Bradley Blalock allowed the team to open up roster space and financial flexibility.
The acquisition of Bradley Blalock as a sleeper prospect adds depth to the Brewers' farm system. His recovery from Tommy John surgery and impressive performance in Low-A (2.19 ERA, 58 strikeouts in 53.1 IP) highlight his potential for future success. Evan McKendry's addition as another pitching prospect provides the Brewers with further depth. His performance in Triple-A (4.00 ERA, 23.6% strikeout rate) adds valuable insurance for the pitching staff.
Trade Deadline Grade: B+
The Milwaukee Brewers executed a well-calculated trade deadline, strengthening their offense with Mark Canha and Carlos Santana while improving their bullpen with Andrew Chafin. Their commitment to the "bites of the apple" strategy ensured the preservation of top prospects while still upgrading the roster. The acquisition of Bradley Blalock and Evan McKendry adds promising prospects and increased depth to the organization.
The Brewers effectively met their needs, significantly enhancing their roster without compromising their future. By making smart low-cost moves, acquiring veterans who bring value, and adding promising prospects, the Brewers positioned themselves as serious contenders for the playoffs and demonstrated a long-term commitment to sustained competitiveness.
While it's disappointing we never saw them land Eloy Jimenez or one of the other big names they were linked to, this was still a solid trade deadline and should not be frowned upon. Those players were unlikely to move anyway and it was a weak market for hitters and a tough market for buyers in general.