Milwaukee Brewers trade Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress to the Texas Rangers
The Texas Rangers made an even bigger move right before the deadline closed when they acquired Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for top prospects Lewis Brinson and Luis Ortiz. The deal marked not only the second significant deal for the Rangers of the day, but also for the Brewers as they also dealt reliever Will Smith to the Giants.
Why the Rangers make this deal
Most people would consider Lucroy to be the prize of this deal and they would be right, but we shouldn’t undersell the effect that Jeffress will have on their pitching staff. With 27 saves for a losing team, Jeffress brings immediate credibility to the Rangers bullpen. To consider the Rangers bullpen to be their weakness would be an understatement. Many dispassionate observers would consider it a dumpster fire.
Their catching situation has also been shaky at best. So, when you add in a new designated hitter in Carlos Beltran you can see the Rangers have definitely established themselves as the favorites in the AL West at worst and perhaps the entire American League. They might be weak in the starting pitching department, but they should be able to scrap together three decent starters for the playoffs. Their lineup is now on the same level as the Red Sox. Losing three of the their top five prospects certainly hurts, but they managed to keep Jurickson Profar and Joey Gallo.
Why the Brewers make this deal
The Brewers were put in a spot when they had a deal in place to deal Lucroy to the Indians and Lucroy nixed the deal. It’s hard to deny you are shopping a guy when a deal gets nixed that publicly. So, they felt like they had to send him somewhere and therefore they might have had to take a little less than they otherwise would have. Yet, when you put together the deals they got for Lucroy with the Will Smith deal you see they do get some good prospects coming back.
Lewis Brinson is top 20 prospect in all of baseball. He is only 22 years old and is already playing in AA. He will likely need another year to develop, he has good power and good speed. He should give fellow prospects Brett Phillips some healthy competition for the spot of future center fielder in Milwaukee. Luis Ortiz is not quite as highly regarded, but he is still a top 100 prospect according to multiple scouting sources. He is a combined 4-6 this season with a 3.48 ERA between the A and AA levels. At 20, he is considerably younger than most players at that level. He clearly misses plenty of bats and has time to develop.
What this deal means for you
This is obviously a good deal for Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress owners. Moving from losing teams to winning teams is usually a good move for players, but it is especially true in their case. Lucroy is putting up great percentage numbers, but the counting numbers simply not there. Jeffress should get more save opportunities as well.