Posted on November 27, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
With the MLB Winter Meetings more than a week away, trade season has not yet officially arrived. But that didn’t stop the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers from pulling off a four-player deal on Wednesday. Pitcher Zach Davies and outfielder Trent Grisham are on their way from Milwaukee to San Diego while the Brewers will receive infielder Luis Urias and pitcher Eric Lauer.
Davies is undoubtedly the most established of the four players who are on the move. He’s spent the last four seasons as one of the most consistent pieces in Milwaukee’s rotation. Davies is also coming off the best season of his career, going 10-7 with a 3.55 ERA in 31 starts. He will immediately become San Diego’s top starter. The Padres have also signed veteran lefty Drew Pomeranz to help lead an otherwise young rotation. Ironically, Pomeranz finished the 2019 season with the Brewers after being acquired in a mid-season trade.
Grisham, meanwhile, broke into the big leagues this past season when the Brewers needed outfield help. He had a standout season in the minors, although hit a modest .231 with an OPS of .738 in the majors. At the moment, he would appear to be in line to be San Diego’s fourth outfielder. However, with the Padres having three right-hand hitting outfielders in their lineup, the left-hand hitting Grisham should serve as a nice complement to both center fielder Manuel Margot and right fielder Hunter Renfroe. Grisham saw time at all three outfield spots this past season.
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Meanwhile, Lauer will join Milwaukee’s rotation to help replace Davies. The 24-year-old lefty has two years of big league experience under his belt, going 14-17 with a 4.40 ERA during that span. In the short-term, he figures to be a drop-off from Davies. However, Lauer is under team control through the 2024 season while Davies will be a free agent after the 2021 season. Lauer, being a former 1st-round draft pick, also has plenty of upside as he continues to develop.
Finally, the Brewers add Urias to their infield. Urias has long been one of San Diego’s top prospects but has been pushed to second base from shortstop by Fernando Tatis Jr. He’s seen time in the majors the past two seasons but hasn’t established himself as an offensive threat, hitting just .221 with an OPS of .649. With the Brewers, he’ll have a chance to supplant shortstop Orlando Arcia, who has disappointed offensively the past two years and could be a non-tender candidate.
For Milwaukee, this is a somewhat surprising trade. Grisham is surely expendable given the state of their outfield and their farm system. But they are giving up a steady and reliable starter in Davies in favor of a lefty with more years of team control who is yet to prove he can pitch at a consistently high level. They are also betting that Urias can finally reach his full potential if given a chance to play every day while presumably giving up on Arcia.
From San Diego’s perspective, the trade makes a little more sense. The Padres are gearing up to become a serious contender in 2020, and Davies is surely a short-term upgrade over Lauer. Urias, as mentioned, didn’t have a home, so swapping him for a left-hand hitting outfielder has a chance to pay off for them. Of course, only time will tell if this either team ends up being a big winner from this trade.