In the waning seconds of the trade deadline, the Milwaukee Brewers finally made a move. Problem was, it wasn’t the move anyone thought they needed to make.
The Brewers didn’t pick up a starting pitcher or another relief weapon. Instead, they acquired infielder Jonathan Schoop from the Baltimore Orioles in a puzzling move.
Schoop, 26, is hitting .244/.273/.447, with 17 home runs in 2018. He still has one more year of arbitration before he can hit the free-agent market following the 2019 season.
What does the Jonathan Schoop move do for the Brewers?
It gives the team a second baseman, which it didn’t have prior to the trade deadline. While that’s good, it creates an infield logjam that puts the team in a tough spot. The team already went through that with Travis Shaw and Mike Moustakas. Following that deal, it was expected one of those players would man third base and the other would move to second. Now, it looks like Shaw doesn’t really have a spot on the team.
By wRC+, an advanced stat that measures offense, Shaw was the team’s fifth-best hitter this season. The Schoop move essentially takes his bat out of the lineup. Shaw can’t play first because he’s blocked by All-Star Jesús Aguilar. He can’t play right field because Eric Thames has been a better hitter when healthy.
The only place where Shaw is a clear upgrade is shortstop. And while that would be a fun viewing experience for non-Brewers fans, it doesn’t seem likely to happen.
With that said … who knows? Maybe the Brewers are willing to actually give it a shot.
Travis Shaw at shortstop is gonna be lit.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 31, 2018
It is possible Schoop could play shortstop. He’s seen a few innings at the position with the Orioles the past few seasons, but hasn’t played there regularly in years. If the Brewers do that, they would be giving up a lot on defense to make sure their best bats are in the lineup. It’s a risky move.
Brewers don’t wind up with any starting pitchers at the trade deadline
The Brewers’ rotation has combined for a 3.85 ERA, which actually ranks ninth in the majors. While that figure is pretty good, the team still could have used a starter in the second half. The Brewers just lost pitcher Brent Suter for the rest of the season. While Suter’s 4.56 ERA wasn’t impressive, he was still the team’s third-best starting pitcher according to fWAR.
While Jhoulys Chacin, Freddy Peralta, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra all have solid ERAs, the team could have used an upgrade over Wade Miley in the fifth spot. Miley has an excellent 2.01 ERA, but has walked more batters that he’s struck out, making it unlikely that ERA sticks.
In the Brewers’ defense, there weren’t many aces available this year. Still, getting another solid starter to stick in the rotation would have helped keep the Brewers in the race. They’ve gone just .500 since the start of June and have been passed by the Chicago Cubs in the division.
What does the Jonathan Schoop trade do for the Orioles?
In return for Schoop, the Orioles received three players, including infielder Jonathan Villar.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 31, 2018
Pitcher Luis Ortiz and infielder Jean Carmona are joining Villar in the deal. Ortiz, 22, has a 3.71 ERA over 68 innings in Double-A. He ranked as the Brewers’ sixth-best prospect coming into the season, according to Baseball America. Carmona, 18, did not rate among the Brewers’ top-30 prospects at the beginning of the season. He’s hitting .239/.298/.406 in rookie ball.
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