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Why the Milwuakee Brewers should have traded for Jacob deGrom

Jacob deGrom

The 2018 MLB season is coming to a close and the playoffs are right around the corner. The Milwaukee Brewers surprised everyone last season when they almost made the playoffs despite being in the middle of a rebuild.

This year the Brewers are in the driver seat for the first wildcard with a three-game lead over the second wild card, currently the St. Louis Cardinals. Milwaukee has a good opportunity to advance to the NLDS for the first time since 2011 to face off against division rivals, the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs are the favorites to advance to the World Series from the National League. For the Brewers to beat the Cardinals and the Cubs, their pitching staff will have to be top notch.

Zach Davies has recently returned from the DL and the Brewers traded for Gio Gonzalez late in the season. Despite this, the staff still lacks a true number one. Milwaukee boasts a farm system full of top talent that would entice teams to deal away a top player.

The best pitcher available on the trade market was Jacob deGrom and the Brewers had the prospects available to make a deal for him. Unfortunately, the Brewers decided earlier on in the season not to trade for the New York Mets ace. deGrom is the front-runner for the NL Cy Young despite only being 8-9 on the season.

The Brewers decision to not mortgage the farm system for one of the best pitchers in baseball might pay off in the long run but could lead to an early exit in this year’s playoffs.

Missed Opportunities

Jacob deGrom
New York Mets v New York Yankees. Image Courtesy of FiveThirtyEight

Milwaukee reportedly was in talks with the Mets back in June and July over acquiring deGrom. In the end, the Mets decided not to start a rebuild and held on to most of their veterans. This was an unwise decision on the part of the Mets as they were nowhere close to being able to contend with the emerging Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies as well as the powerhouse Washington Nationals.

Milwaukee decided that they were better off not trading the farm for deGrom despite his status as one of the best pitchers in the game. This was a mistake on the Brewers part, as deGrom leads the majors in era with a 1.78 and is second in the National League in strikeouts with 251. Milwaukee’s farm system is full of top pitching prospects but most of them are a few years away from being major league ready. Already in the prime of his career, deGrom has three years left on a team friendly contract.

The Brewers decided to not try and wow the Mets with a trade proposition which led to New York deciding against rebuilding. Milwaukee missed an opportunity to challenge the NL hierarchy, especially when one of the powerhouse teams, Washington, is missing the playoffs. Another top team, the Dodgers, have struggled all season despite having a talented roster. After making big moves in the offseason, the Brewers should have acquired the ace to help put their team over the top.

Why the trade made sense

Milwaukee’s offense this year ranks second in the NL in home runs, sixth in OPS and seventh in RBIs. Their offense is led by MVP candidate Christian Yelich. The Brew Crew would have helped provided deGrom with enough run support to win an additional seven to ten games this year. The Brewers’ pitchers this year rank third in opponents batting average, fifth in strikeouts and fourth in era. The addition of deGrom would have given the Brewers one of the best pitching staffs in the NL. At the same time, deGrom would have served as a veteran for the up and coming talent. deGrom has limited playoff experience but he has been to the world series before despite losing.

Possible Trade Package

Milwaukee has plenty of intriguing pitching prospects that the Mets could use to replace deGrom and build around. Milwaukee also has some enticing infield pieces that would allow for the Mets to replace their aging veterans with young talent. A package that is highlighted by Corey Ray and Zack Brown, the Brewers second and eighth-rated prospects respectively, could pique the Mets interests. Ray who is 23, hit .239 in AA this year with 37 stolen bases and 27 home runs. Ray is known for his speed and runs anything down in center field with ease.  Brown also 23, had a 2.44 era in 125.2 innings in AA this year. He also has 116 strikeouts and went 9-1 in 22 games. The Brewers would have to offer more but this would have been a good start.

Feature Image From New York Post.

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