Jump to content
Brewer Fanatic
  • Brewers Have Options After Miley Signing: Do They Trade a Pitcher?


    Tim Muma

    Signing Wade Miley to a one-year contract isn't going to turn many heads for the Milwaukee Brewers. However, the club's acquisition of another starting pitcher opens up several strategic options for the team to explore. Do the Brewers already have something in mind, or will they sit back and let the answer come to them?

    Image courtesy of © Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

    Brewers Video

    Assuming Wade Miley can stay relatively healthy, the Milwaukee Brewers view him as a reliable out-getter at the back of the rotation. He threw just 37 innings last season, but his 2021 campaign in Cincinnati was impressive, with a 3.37 ERA (139 ERA+) in 163 innings. With Miley in the fold (pending a physical), the Brewers have multiple routes depending on their player evaluations, strategic plans, and potential outside interest or opportunity.

    Option 1: Move a starting pitcher or two to the bullpen
    Miley didn't sign with Milwaukee to pitch in relief, while Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff are your co-aces. That would leave two rotation spots among Freddy Peralta, Eric Lauer, Aaron Ashby, and Adrian Houser (at minimum). Assuming health, Peralta should be the third starter. Only if manager Craig Counsell and his staff are concerned about his shoulder would they consider Peralta for the pen long-term.

    That leaves two more starters who need to sit beyond the outfield fence. Houser seems like an easy call. The Brewers could control who he faces, minimizing his issues against lefties, and he's had some success as a reliever. Lauer and Ashby would be intriguing arms to throw multiple innings out of the pen. Both have a K/9 over 12 in relief, but Lauer has just 17 frames under his belt with below-average results. 

    Considering the Brewers' commitment to him, Ashby is likely seen as a future rotation arm for the Crew. However, for the 2023 pitching staff, he might be best suited in relief - at least to start the season - if the Brewers stick with a traditional rotation. He's had more success there, it would limit mileage on his arm, and Counsell can pick the best spots for him to dominate.

    Option 2: Utilize a six-man rotation as they did in 2021
    The Brewers' starting pitchers stayed remarkably healthy in 2021, partly due to their decision to primarily use a six-man rotation. As pitchers threw few innings in 2020 due to the COVID-shortened season, Milwaukee went conservative in 2021 to spare their hurlers from big jumps in their innings. It worked.

    Last season, the Brewers returned to a five-person option and saw Woodruff, Peralta, Ashby, and Lauer all missed time with injury. Was it bad luck, or did the strain of pitching every fourth day play a role? It's something I'm sure the Brewers' brass is exploring. Implementing a six-man starting staff could prevent injuries and keep arms fresher late into the season. And if you're getting typical results from the likely candidates, the drop-off would be minimal. 

    The Brewers can also use off days to give Burnes and Woodruff additional starts. Plus, it might encourage Milwaukee to let their starters go deeper into some contests, ultimately saving the relievers from overuse.

    Option 3: Trade a starting pitcher for a quality bat
    This option would be the biggest risk-reward decision, either paying off hugely or biting the Brewers in the butt. But the risk might not be as significant as one would think. GM Matt Arnold has stockpiled arms this offseason, including guys with starting experience and arsenals the staff could cultivate.

    To go with the seven previously mentioned starters, Milwaukee also has Janson Junk and Bryse Wilson on the 40-man roster, with minor leaguers Robert Gasser and Ethan Small looking for a shot. Even if you don't trust Small, you're talking about nine starting pitchers if you dealt one away. That is the type of coverage the Brewers lacked in 2022.

    Lauer would be the piece most likely moved for a strong return. He has produced at a high level the past two seasons (116 ERA+), makes relatively little money, and has two remaining control seasons. Some people, myself included, are wary he will continue pitching nearly 20% better than the league when looking at some of his stats. However, if the right team believes in his talent and recent success, it makes some sense.

    The Brewers could use a right-handed power bat as a right field option or on the infield to cover second or third base and even backup Rowdy Tellez at first base. A team like the Baltimore Orioles is still a great fit. The O's need starting pitching and more time to push their top prospects into full-time MLB roles in 2023. Two years of Lauer would improve their rotation and open a spot for a youngster when they are ready.

    Meanwhile, Anthony Santander is an Oriole I have brought up a couple of times as a fit for the Brewers. The 28-year-old switch-hitter blasted 33 HR last season while mostly playing corner outfield positions. Baltimore has a couple of talented outfield prospects close to the big leagues, and rumors had Santander on the trading block around last season's trade deadline. 

    As for other Brewers' starters who could be traded, it seems less likely. Houser likely has little value across the league, and there's almost no reason to entertain a deal involving Ashby or Peralta, who have loads of potential and have been under team control for many years. Milwaukee would need a guaranteed stud in return (and maybe more). They could also entertain a Burnes trade, but I need to get the sense that it is being discussed.

    Any one of those options could be the "right" way to go. It all depends on how the front office values certain players and how they view the club's strengths and weaknesses. Of course, they could go way outside the box with something completely different. It could use three traditional starting pitchers (Burnes, Woodruff, and Peralta) plus two-man pairs who piggyback their starts each outing. I wouldn't put it past the Brewers to find a way to win on the margins.

    So which option do you like best for the Brewers?

    Think you could write a story like this? Brewer Fanatic wants you to develop your voice, find an audience, and we'll pay you to do it. Just fill out this form.

    MORE FROM BREWER FANATIC
    — Latest Brewers coverage from our writers
    — Recent Brewers discussion in our forums
    — Follow Brewer Fanatic via Twitter, Facebook or email

     Share


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    Featured Comments

    I like the Brewers-Orioles connection, especially if Lauer is our trading chip.

    Now I am going to throw out something really wild out there: an inter-divisional trade with Pittsburgh! Corbin Burnes (who the Brewers will not be able to afford long-term), Keston Hiura, Luis Urias, and one or two prospects for Bryan Reynolds and Oneil Cruz. Can you imagine how the third-base side of the infield would perform, both defensively and offensively? I think, given the cannon of an arm that Cruz has, he would adapt very easily to the hot corner (on the other hand, Adames might be willing to make the position change). 

    The Pirates are asking a bunch for Reynolds, so they would almost certainly turn an offer like this down-except for the fact they would be gaining one of the best starting pitchers in the game. Cruz just might be an untouchable, but it sure would be nice to acquire someone who has been a real thorn in the flesh for the Brewers.

    I now ready myself for the oncoming missiles that are bound to come my way. ?

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    20 minutes ago, Profbratsch said:

    I like the Brewers-Orioles connection, especially if Lauer is our trading chip.

    Now I am going to throw out something really wild out there: an inter-divisional trade with Pittsburgh! Corbin Burnes (who the Brewers will not be able to afford long-term), Keston Hiura, Luis Urias, and one or two prospects for Bryan Reynolds and Oneil Cruz. Can you imagine how the third-base side of the infield would perform, both defensively and offensively? I think, given the cannon of an arm that Cruz has, he would adapt very easily to the hot corner (on the other hand, Adames might be willing to make the position change). 

    The Pirates are asking a bunch for Reynolds, so they would almost certainly turn an offer like this down-except for the fact they would be gaining one of the best starting pitchers in the game. Cruz just might be an untouchable, but it sure would be nice to acquire someone who has been a real thorn in the flesh for the Brewers.

    I now ready myself for the oncoming missiles that are bound to come my way. ?

    Creative but there's no way Pittsburgh would trade for Burnes, knowing he'd be gone in a couple of years and not within their competitive window (which is almost never, btw).  I guess they could turn around and trade him in a year but doesn't seem to make much sense for them.

    • Like 2
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    14 minutes ago, Profbratsch said:

    I like the Brewers-Orioles connection, especially if Lauer is our trading chip.

    Now I am going to throw out something really wild out there: an inter-divisional trade with Pittsburgh! Corbin Burnes (who the Brewers will not be able to afford long-term), Keston Hiura, Luis Urias, and one or two prospects for Bryan Reynolds and Oneil Cruz. Can you imagine how the third-base side of the infield would perform, both defensively and offensively? I think, given the cannon of an arm that Cruz has, he would adapt very easily to the hot corner (on the other hand, Adames might be willing to make the position change). 

    The Pirates are asking a bunch for Reynolds, so they would almost certainly turn an offer like this down-except for the fact they would be gaining one of the best starting pitchers in the game. Cruz just might be an untouchable, but it sure would be nice to acquire someone who has been a real thorn in the flesh for the Brewers.

    I now ready myself for the oncoming missiles that are bound to come my way. ?

    Unless they are just looking to flip Burnes, Ashby would actually make more sense for the Pirates as a piece of a Reynolds trade.  It would also probably cost one of Frelick/Weimer/Mitchell.  Plus more than Hiura and Urias.  And getting Cruz also is simply a pipe dream.

    Lauer for Santander is intriguing.  It would also probably bring back a prospect or two from the Orioles.  I doubt it would go the other way.  I wouldn't give up Lauer and more for just Santander.

    • Like 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Not saying I wouldn't like Reynolds in our lineup but he just seems like a buy high kind of guy. I think, more than ever, team control and pre-arby guys are going to be huge for the Brewers. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    owbc
  • Community Moderator
  • Posted

    Great article.

    Personally I like having the extra arm around, I think there's a high likelihood that either one or both of Lauer and Houser will struggle in 2023 and we don't have Brent Suter around anymore to eat up innings in the pen. 

    I would also be open to trading Lauer but not for Santander. I know he hit a bunch of HR in 2022 but he's not that good defensively and we can always put up with Winker's defense if we need to. I would rather just get a better prospect haul from Baltimore or another suitor, but it might be worth starting the season with the arm surplus and seeing how things sort themselves out. 

    The trade deadline would be the best time to move Burnes but I doubt it happens unless we're out of contention. The Luis Castillo trade is a good benchmark for what we could expect to get for Burnes -- three of the top 5 prospects in a strong farm system. That would be fantastic. 

     

    • Like 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Was just looking at some stats, and IF you wanted to grab a guy to make Lauer expandable for a trade, Miley's a pretty good comp for similar production...

    2021-22 Comparison (note both players had fewer than 15 IP in '20, so including that doesn't really change anything):

    XtURZyu.png

    Eric Lauer 2023 Projections:
    Steamer - 156.0 IP, 4.30 ERA, 4.30 xFIP, 1.3 WAR, 8.69 K/9, 3.39 BB/9, 1.39 HR/9, 35.5% GB%
    ZiPS - 138.7 IP, 4.02 ERA, 4.29 FIP, 1.9 WAR, 8.6 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 1.4 HR/9

    Wade Miley 2023 Projections:
    Steamer - 116.0 IP, 4.38 ERA, 4.41 xFIP, 1.0 WAR, 6.25 K/9, 3.07 BB/9, 1.14 HR/9, 47.7% GB %
    ZiPS - 109.3 IP, 3.95 ERA, 4.32 FIP, 1.7 WAR, 6.3 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9

    That said, if you just wanted a second, older Eric Lauer in the rotation, this is also a nice add!

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    1 hour ago, Profbratsch said:

    Sweaty, I do like the prospect of having a solid switch-hitter in the Brewers' lineup.

    We will, Abraham Toro.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    2 hours ago, owbc said:

    Great article.

    Personally I like having the extra arm around, I think there's a high likelihood that either one or both of Lauer and Houser will struggle in 2023 and we don't have Brent Suter around anymore to eat up innings in the pen. 

    I would also be open to trading Lauer but not for Santander. I know he hit a bunch of HR in 2022 but he's not that good defensively and we can always put up with Winker's defense if we need to. I would rather just get a better prospect haul from Baltimore or another suitor, but it might be worth starting the season with the arm surplus and seeing how things sort themselves out. 

    The trade deadline would be the best time to move Burnes but I doubt it happens unless we're out of contention. The Luis Castillo trade is a good benchmark for what we could expect to get for Burnes -- three of the top 5 prospects in a strong farm system. That would be fantastic. 

     

    Santander is also not that bad defensively.  He's not a Gold Glover, but his RF/9 is compares favorably to other right fielders.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Lauer makes sense for Angels, Orioles and the Red Sox.  I am not sure if there are any other matches out there.  Rather small pool of teams to create a bidding war to raise his value.  Right now Lauer is worth about $9-12m in surplus value.

    That doesn’t really get you all that much.  If you want an MLB piece back then Santander is probably the best you can do.

    If the Brewers trade Lauer or Houser then it will be for a MLB piece.  I don’t see the Brewers trading for prospects unless another FA signing is on the way.  

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    34 minutes ago, Sweaty said:

    He means in the everyday Major League lineup, not the AAA lineup.

    Toro's gonna be LH side of 2B platoon... He'll be in the lineup quite a bit.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    41 minutes ago, Sweaty said:

    Santander is also not that bad defensively.  He's not a Gold Glover, but his RF/9 is compares favorably to other right fielders.

    RF is not the greatest measure of defensive abilities, to say the least…

    • Like 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    If Burnes, Woodruff, Peralta, Lauer, Miley, Ashby, and Houser are all healthy, there won't be many starts available for the 7th guy, even if they use 5 days off for everyone. When I scheduled out the first 41 games, those guys got 8,8,7,7,5,5, and 1 starts, respectively.

    The thing is, them being all healthy, even for only the first 41 games, is very unlikely. I don't think jettisoning one of the others for the sake of Miley, who pitched less than 40 innings last year, is wise. Unless we want to parade junk like, well, Junk and Alexander in the rotation.

    So, what can they do--until an injury settles the issue for them?


    Use whomever is not scheduled to start within the next 5 days as a "first man up" in the pen, with the idea that they'll pitch 2-3 innings. A benefit of this would be to lessen the burden on the back end of the bullpen, of which only Williams should give us much confidence.

     

    • Like 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    2 hours ago, DR28 said:

    Toro's gonna be LH side of 2B platoon... He'll be in the lineup quite a bit.

    He'll be playing every day in Nashville.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    5 minutes ago, Sweaty said:

    He'll be playing every day in Nashville.

    Possible, but I think Turang will be stashed in Nashville until he passes the Super 2 date (sometime in June).

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    2 hours ago, Brewcrew82 said:

    RF is not the greatest measure of defensive abilities, to say the least…

    How about the word of someone that actually gets paid to write about baseball?  From mlbtraderumors, about Santander: "He drew curiously poor marks for his glovework in left field (-8 DRS, -5 OAA in just 299 innings), but that looks anomalous, given his track record of solid defense in right field."

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    4 minutes ago, Sweaty said:

    This coming from one of the "Frelick will be on the opening day roster" posse.

    I don't belong to any posse. Actually I suggested Frelick be stashed for a couple of weeks before being brought up. There is a difference between Frelick and Turang in that one (Frelick) will be on 2+ of the top 100 lists, and one will not.

    • Like 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    11 minutes ago, Sweaty said:

    How about the word of someone that actually gets paid to write about baseball?  From mlbtraderumors, about Santander: "He drew curiously poor marks for his glovework in left field (-8 DRS, -5 OAA in just 299 innings), but that looks anomalous, given his track record of solid defense in right field."

    If you can produce that argument not using RF, then okay…But by DRS, OAA, fDEF, etc he’s been below average…

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Burnes, Woodruff, Peralta, Miley start every five with a Lauer/Ashby as your 5.  Houser becomes the 8th inning guy.  Then if Gasser or Small play well, trade Lauer for the best offer come the deadline.  I really am not a fan of trading for an outfielder when 4 of the top 5 Brewer prospects play outfield.  I don't think you are going to find an infielder better than Luis Urias available on the market.  I think the Brewers are pretty much set.  The Miley signing was something I didn't anticipate.  But was really smart signing.    The Brewers win the Pennant this year:)

     

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    2 hours ago, Sweaty said:

    He'll be playing every day in Nashville.

    No he wont… Toro will be in Milwaukee on OD.

    • Like 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    6 hours ago, Hacksaw Jim Duggan said:

    Burnes, Woodruff, Peralta, Miley start every five with a Lauer/Ashby as your 5.  Houser becomes the 8th inning guy.  Then if Gasser or Small play well, trade Lauer for the best offer come the deadline.  I really am not a fan of trading for an outfielder when 4 of the top 5 Brewer prospects play outfield.  I don't think you are going to find an infielder better than Luis Urias available on the market.  I think the Brewers are pretty much set.  The Miley signing was something I didn't anticipate.  But was really smart signing.    The Brewers win the Pennant this year:)

    What is your justification for prioritizing Miley before Lauer, who is better, younger, and wasn't injured most of 2022 as Miley was?

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    12 hours ago, Robocaller said:

    I don't belong to any posse. Actually I suggested Frelick be stashed for a couple of weeks before being brought up. There is a difference between Frelick and Turang in that one (Frelick) will be on 2+ of the top 100 lists, and one will not.

    And that difference means Turang getting Super Two will cost the team about $2-$3 M while Frelick getting Super Two will cost the team around $10 M.

    Frelick needs to be stashed a couple of months.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Don't kill me on this , but why are these proposed trades of a pitcher for a OF when that seems to be strength ( young) . We have needed corner infielders for it seems like decades ! 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites




    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...