David Stearns Has a Shortstop Problem & It’s Costing the Brewers
David Stearns is a good general manager. Let’s be clear about that. The guy rebuilt the Brewers. They won a division title and have made the playoffs for the last three years (2020 is a bit of an asterisk but whatever). That said, Stearns has made some puzzling moves of late. General managers are not perfect. They’re not going to make every right decision. But Stearns ruined the shortstop position for the Brewers, and it is affecting the entire team. Because of the moves at shortstop, the Brewers do not have a young talented outfielder, relievers and they have nothing to show for it. Let’s look back on the history of the position here.
2019: Brewers decided to move Mauricio Dubon to the Giants for Drew Pomeranz and Ray Black – Milwaukee needs bullpen help to make their push into the postseason. Brewers trade away Mauricio Dubon who was thought to be similar to what Orlando Arcia brings to the table. In 2019, Dubon hit .270 in 100 at-bats for the Giants. He hasn’t hit below .250 in each of years with San Francisco and has been able to play shortstop, second base, and outfield. Pomeranz is on San Diego and Ray Black is a Quad-A pitcher.
2020: Milwaukee decides to trade Trent Grisham and Zach Davies for Luis Urias and Eric Lauer – Brewers tried to buy low on two of San Diego’s prospects. Grisham screwed up the Wild Card game and whether that factored into Milwaukee’s decision to deal with him is unknown. Urias was a light-hitting shortstop with massive upside. He was young and had the ability to be something. Yet if we think about who the Brewers were in 2020, did they really want to ingest a project? Grisham hit 10 homers last year and batted .250 for a playoff team. He is batting .301 from the leadoff with seven dingers this year while Lorenzo Cain is hitting .221.
2021: Brewers move on from Orlando Arica for two relievers. Look Arica is kind of a shithead. From all accounts, the dude doesn’t dial into the clubhouse. I get that Milwaukee might have wanted him out of the clubhouse for that reason. But to put all your eggs in a young shortstop’s basket when you’re trying to be this excellent defensive team is not the best decision. Arica isn’t a good player, but he would have been a serviceable backup.
2021: Urias has nine errors in less than two months and with no shortstops in the farm system, Milwaukee needs to trade two of their top relievers for Willy Adames and Trevor Richards. J.P. Feyereisen and Drew Rassmussen were the Brewers’ 6th and 7th inning guys and yet because of the shitshow at shortstop, Milwaukee has to trade them. Adames is a great defender, a former top prospect who can’t make contact. Sounds like that Arica guy we had. Maybe Stearns can save himself but it’s not looking good.
As much as it pains me to watch Dubon do well for NL-West leading Giants, that was the right move to make. If the Brewers beat Washington, who knows what happens in the 2019 playoffs. But Stearns should have seen the Cain decline coming. It would have been unpopular to trade Cain last year, but that’s a move many general managers as it’s a year early before a year late. Grisham was a top pick for the Brewers that they just sent off because he had a colossal fuck up. If he had just held his water with Grisham, we wouldn’t be here.
Maybe the Brewers fix themselves soon, maybe not. Regardless, the pressure on Stearns is building like never before.