The Brewers are in the midst of a pennant race, though it’s possible that they are fading as they get ready for the stretch run. But even as the Cubs get hot, add pieces, and try to pull away with the Central, the Brewers aren’t giving up on a Cinderella-story 2017.
At 55-52, Milwaukee is hanging around in the NL Central race — they are just 2 1⁄2 games out of the lead — but they have struggled to stay afloat, winning just three of their last 10 games. On deadline day, the Brewers added another reliever to help one of their biggest issues: the bullpen.
Yes, Milwaukee did make a big deal for a reliever earlier during the trade deadline season when they got Anthony Swarzak from the White Sox, but they got yet another bridge to closer Corey Knebel today, acquiring Jeremy Jeffress from the Texas Rangers today. In exchange for Jeffress, right-handed pitcher Tayler Scott goes to Texas.
Jeffress, 29, is not a rental for Milwaukee. He is arbitration eligible for just the second time next season, giving him the opportunity to stay with the Crew through 2019. They will have to bank on a resurgence from him, though, as Jeffress’ 5.31 ERA over 40 2⁄3 innings isn’t too appealing, and neither is his 29:19 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Despite these poor numbers, Jeffress does have a history of success prior to 2017. During a four-year run from 2013 to 2016, Jeffress posted a 2.46 ERA with a solid strikeout-to-walk ratio to back it up. If he can figure it out going forward, then he has the opportunity to be a big piece with the Brewers.
Scott is an interesting piece going back to Texas in this trade. The 25-year-old has been pitching in Double-A this year, where he has a 2.34 ERA and a 63:13 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 61 2⁄3 innings pitched. Scott is from South Africa and would become the second player from the nation (after the Pirates’ Gift Ngoepe) to appear in the Majors if he gets there with Texas. He was not ranked on the Brewers’ Top-30 prospect list.
Overall, the Brewers’ side of the trade looks more appealing. Jeffress not only has Major League experience, but he should be comfortable in the blue and gold uniform there, considering this was the team that took him in the 1st round of the draft back in 2006. To add, he has had some success in the past, which may provide hope for him going forward. Live-armed relievers are a dime a dozen, and while Scott’s numbers aren’t bad, he’s a 25-year-old at Double-A; it’s hard to imagine the Brewers really regretting this move.
Devan Fink is a Featured Writer for Beyond The Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter @DevanFink.