In 2019, the Brewers traded top prospect Trent Grisham and Zach Davies to the Padres for Luis Urias and Eric Lauer. The deal was done to fill needs according to both front offices. At first, it looked like a mistake for Milwaukee; Grisham thrived, and Zach Davies had a career year while Lauer and Urias struggled. However, as the years go on, the Brewers have won this trade.

Trent Grisham

Prior to being drafted by the Brewers in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft; Grisham was one of the best prospects available. He only needed four seasons in the minor leagues before the Brewers promoted him to the big club. In Grisham’s one month in Milwaukee, he hit six home runs and had 24 RBI, and had an OPS of .738. His career looked to be off to a promising start.

However, breaking into the Brewers’ starting lineup was going to be tough considering the log jam in the outfield. The outfield already featured stars in Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun, and Lorenzo Cain. Ben Gamel had come over in a trade from the Mariners and was productive in limited time. Milwaukee had also called up now current starting outfielder Tyrone Taylor who had four hits in just ten at-bats. With Yelich, Braun, and Cain unmovable and the Brewers built to “win now”, this meant that Grisham was expendable.

Zach Davies

Zach Davies came over to the Brewers in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles for Gerardo Para in 2015. In his first two full seasons with Milwaukee, Davies combined to go 27-16 with a 4.24 ERA and 259 strikeouts. After struggling in 2018, Davies bounced back with a 10-7 record with a 3.55 ERA and 102 strikeouts. However, the Brewers figured out that Zach Davies wasn’t meant to be an ace. They also already had future all-stars Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta pushing him. This meant that Davies could also be moved somewhere else.

The Deal

Early in the 2019 offseason, the Brewers traded both Grisham and Davies to the Padres for Luis Urias and Eric Lauer. The Brewers also had the option to receive cash or a player to be named later. Urias was the “crown jewel” of the trade. While he only had a slash line of .221/.318/.331 across two seasons in San Diego; he was MLB’s 23rd best prospect heading into 2019. The Brewers planned to have him compete for the starting shortstop job with Orlando Arcia.

Eric Lauer never cracked the top-100 prospect list and didn’t exactly jump out as a pitcher. Across two seasons in San Diego, he had a record of 14-17 and an ERA of 4.41 in 261.2 innings pitched. He was more or less considered a “throw-in player” for this deal.

A Great Start for the Padres

At first, it looked as if David Stearns and the Brewers made a mistake. In the truncated season, Trent Grisham won a Gold Glove and hit 10 home runs and 26 RBI. He also stole 10 bases. Grisham had proven that he was here to stay in the big leagues and that All-Star selections were in his future.

Zach Davies also had a career-low 2.73 ERA and his seven wins were tied for second with Max Fried. Only Yu Darvish had more wins than Davies in 2020. Davies and Grisham played a big part in the Padres returning to the postseason for the first time in 14 years.

A Brutal Start for the Brewers

Meanwhile, Luis Urias and Eric Lauer didn’t get off to great starts in Milwaukee. In just four appearances in 2020, Lauer registered an ERA of 13.09 while battling a shoulder injury. He would also begin the 2021 season in the minor leagues and perhaps had a short leash.

Luis Urias won the shortstop job outright and was still slated to split time until Orlando Arcia was traded to the Braves. This meant that Urias would be the Brewers’ starting shortstop going forward. However, Urias’ debut was delayed due to him contracting COVID-19. After being reinstated, he never found his footing. Urias finished the short season batting .239 with no homers and an OPS of .602 in 41 games.

How It’s Going Currently

The early part of the 2021 season was more of the same for both teams. However, the tide began to turn during the summer of last season. Grisham experienced a sharp decline in the second half of the 2021 season and it seems to have carried over into 2022. He currently is sporting a .157 batting average with one home run and an OPS of .508 through 41 games.

After a slow start, Luis Urias bashed 23 home runs and delivered a .789 OPS in 150 games in 2021. Since returning from the injured list this season, he has produced an OPS of .811. Also, despite early struggles playing shortstop, Urias has also evolved into a “super-utility” player on the field.

An Unexpectedly Large Return

Considering how Lauer has progressed, any production that they are getting from Urias can be considered a bonus. Since late June of the 2021 season, he owns an ERA of 2.21, this is the second-best mark during that timeframe. This season, Lauer is looking like a serious Cy Young contender. He currently has a record of 5-1 with an ERA of 2.31 and 55 strikeouts. His 2.31 earned run average is the sixth-best in the National League. Lauer’s 55 strikeouts put him inside the top ten in the National League as well. Lauer has turned an already solid starting rotation into a much more formidable one with Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta.

Never Judge a Deal After Just One Year

While it looked like a bust at first for Milwaukee, the Brewers ended up winning this trade. This is one reason to never judge a deal after just one season. A lot can change as we’ve seen with all three players. Trent Grisham was a success in his first year but has been struggling ever since the second half of last season. Zach Davies was only with the Padres for a season before being traded. While Grisham still has time to turn his career around; the Padres won’t get the same return the Brewers got from this deal.

For more on baseball, check out Belly Up Sports and follow Eric on Twitter.

About Author

Eric Katz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.