Rolling Out the Barrel: Stearns Keeps the Stove Hot

The off-season is just a couple of weeks old, but new Brewers GM David Stearns has gotten right to work with two trades in as many days, as he begins the task of making over the rebuilding Brewers. Before we find out if he makes it three in a row on Friday, let’s check in on the newest Brewers while wishing a fond (or, in one certain case, a not-so-fond) farewell to the recently departed.

Baseball Prospectus || Detroit 2016 Top Prospects (Nov. 17, 2015) 

In a fantastic bit of fortuitous timing, BP released their annual list of Top-10 prospects for the Tigers just hours before one of them, eighth-ranked 2B Javier Betancourt, was dealt to Milwaukee for closer high-leverage reliever Francisco Rodriguez. Brewers fans that don’t care about the soul of their favorite baseball team will lament the departure of K-Rod, who has actually done a pretty good job re-inventing himself as a finesse pitcher as his fastball’s velocity has fallen into the high-80s.  The rest of bid good riddance to bad rubbish as K-Rod takes his tired “athlete with domestic violence issues” act across Lake Michigan, where we can only hope he will not view the change in scenery as license to get physical again after run-ins with the law at his last two stops in New York and Milwaukee.

Climbing Tal’s Hill || Houston Astros 2015 Season Recap: Jonathan Villar (Nov. 3, 2015)

Naturally, after a trade, writers for both teams are going to have some things to say about the players both coming and going. However, I find that the recent transaction often colors this analysis in one way or another, so when I’m looking for an honest assessment of a player, I want to find out what the locals were saying before they knew anything about a potential move. That’s what I’ve found here in this post from earlier this month from Aric Cisneros (@ariccisneros) over at Climbling Tal’s Hill, the Astros wing of Sports Illustrated’s FanSided network. The Brewers acquired SS Jonathan Villar from Houston on Thursday in exchange for Double-A starter Cy Sneed. Villar became something of a pariah for Astros fans as they impatiently awaited the arrival of Carlos Correa even though, as Cisneros points out, his numbers compare very favorably with ALCS MVP Alcides Escobar, who will never pay for a drink in Kansas City again.

Baseball America || Trade Central: Astros Clear 40-Man Spot With VIllar Trade (Nov. 19, 2015)

J.J. Cooper (@jjcoop36) brings his own analysis of the trade between Milwaukee and Houston on Thursday. While Villar is out of options, limiting Milwaukee’s flexibility with the 25-man roster somewhat, he isn’t arbitration-eligible until 2018 at the earliest, making him a very inexpensive option in the infield for the next couple of years. For Astros, perhaps the most immediatley valuable piece they received in the deal is the cleared spot on their 40-man roster on the eve of deadline for protection from the Rule 5 draft. Sneed’s ceiling is generally regarded as back-of-the-rotation starter, and he’s more likely to end up as Quad-A organizational depth.

Brew Crew Ball || SB Nation’s MLB Off-season Simulation: Faking a Brewers Rebuild (Nov. 18, 2015)

Okay enough with real #HotStove moves, let’s talk about some nonsense. I swear I’m not going to do this often, but I had a lot of fun both completing this simulation and writing about what I did, and I want to share it with y’all. Each November, Max Rieper (@maxrieper) at Royal’s Review, SB Nation’s Royals blog, gathers 30 of SBN’s writers to take over General Manager duties for each team and let’s them simulate the off-season over the course of the week. I had the keys to the Brewers front office this season, and made some moves in an effort to both improve the current MLB roster and bolster the minor league system, while slashing the payroll under $80 million. If you’ve got time for 3,000 words of pure nonsense, feel free to take a look.

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