AJ Preller has a busy day, acquires Grisham and Davies from Milwaukee; signs Drew Pomeranz

Sep 6, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Zach Davies (27) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 19, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Zach Davies (27) pitches during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

AJ Preller has continued his tradition of working on the holidays, much to the chagrin of other general managers.

A deal was made early on Thanksgiving Eve with the Milwaukee Brewers, as both Luis Urias and Eric Lauer were packaged in exchange for Trent Grisham and Zach Davies.

As a cherry on top, Drew Pomeranz will be returning to San Diego as a left-handed relief pitcher as he agreed to a four-year, $34 million guaranteed contract. The deal is pending a physical.

Urias is the highlight of the deal and, should he bounce back from a disappointing stint with the Padres, this deal can backfire horrendously. Urias, ranked the number 27 prospect in MLB Pipeline’s 2018 Top 100 prospect list, hit a lowly .233/.329/.326 in 2019 in 71 games.

Once a contact-first hitter, Urias had recently adopted a leg kick that, instead of adding power, only added to his strikeout total. He only hit four home runs in 215 at-bats while racking up a 22.5% strikeout rate.

His ceiling is still incredibly high, but Urias didn’t get enough playing time to prove it. In Milwaukee, perhaps he will show his true self and achieve his potential.

Also going to the Brewers is Lauer, who pitched to a 4.45 ERA and a 4.23 FIP/4.77 xFIP/4.72 SIERA in 149.2 innings of work. The left-hander saw an uptick in his strikeout numbers with an 8.30 K/9 and a slight drop in his walk rate with a 3.07 BB/9.

Lauer was able to keep the ball on the ground for the most part as opposing batters hit a groundball 39.9% of the time at the exchange of a slightly higher 38.1% fly-ball rate.

If anything, Lauer’s performance in 2019 was similar to his 2018 season, but the left-hander was always going to be a back-end starter in the Padres rotation. He, like Joey Luchessi, had his struggles in an up-and-down season and only awoken to face his true nemesis in the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In return, San Diego will receive the left-handed-hitting Grisham from Milwaukee. He might be best remembered as the man whose error in the 2019 Wild Card game allowed the Washington Nationals to move on to the next round. A .231/.328/.410 batting line doesn’t jump off the page, but he raked to the tune of .300/.407/.603 in the upper minors.

Across the two levels of the upper minors, Grisham slammed 26 total home runs and six in the Majors. It fills a desperate need as left-handed batters donning a Padres jersey combined to hit 40 home runs against right-handed batters all season.

Add that to some highly graded defense (despite the playoff error), and incredible upside (number 19 ranked Milwaukee prospect), and Grisham could be a mainstay in the Padres outfield until Taylor Trammell is ready for The Show.

Davies is essentially a right-handed Lauer. He won’t strike out a lot of people (5.75 K/9), but he did pitch 159.2 innings with a 3.55 ERA. He may have been getting lucky with that ERA as his 4.56 FIP/5.20 xFIP/5.43 SIERA indicate that Davies had favor with Lady Luck.

Pomeranz was the ace of the Padres in 2016, even appearing in the All-Star Game in San Diego. After getting traded to Boston for Anderson Espinoza, he has had some good seasons and some bad seasons. After struggling with San Francisco in 2019, he was traded to the Brewers and moved to the bullpen.

He did nothing but thrive once he got there. Out of the bullpen, Pomeranz pitched 26.1 innings with a 2.36 ERA and an insane 15.38 K/9. His advance statistics backed him up as well as his 2.68 FIP/2.14 xFIP/2.11 SIERA was all close enough to his ERA. His 45.7% K rate since moving to the bullpen was also better than Kirby Yates‘ 41.6% K rate.

He’ll join a bullpen that currently employs Jose Castillo and Matt Strahm as left-handed specialists. In addition to pitchers like Andres Munoz and Michel Baez, San Diego’s 2020 bullpen is looking to be even stronger than 2019.

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Jason Freund on Email
Jason Freund
I am currently attending San Diego State University while working on achieving a major in journalism. At SDSU, I write for The Daily Aztec while also hosting the sports radio show "Picked Off", for KCR Radio. A loyal fan of San Diego sports, I hope to bring content that you will enjoy reading.
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Billy Bobaloo
Billy Bobaloo
2 years ago

Do you guys watch the games? I mean honestly. Do you? My background is as a below average D1 baseball player who has some limited baseball coaching background. Urias, who I would have loved to be our everyday second baseman, was called up 3 times and struggled mightily to hit his weight with no power, stolen bases, etc. Secondly, he is yet another right handed guy on a team with no balance that cannot hit righties. Third, and most importantly, he had the yips. He’s one Spring training from Chuck Knoblauch. I have no idea. He may become a 10… Read more »

Billy Bobaloo
Billy Bobaloo
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bobaloo

Oh, and, my “prediction” is a FA sign of Bettances. Bettances, Pomeranz, and Yates 7, 8, 9? Could be amazing. Munoz, Strahm, Castillo, a fixed Reyes…filthy.

Who knows. But, I think good things are happening.

My only fear is trading Myers for nothing and adding prospects and/or money to do so. Dude can play. Get him right.

2 years ago

So, are you saying he was only the #19th rated prospect for the Brewers? And the padres gave up a top 20 prospect in all of baseball for him, a guy who would not crack the top 30 , or 50, for the padres entire team?

Tommy T
Tommy T
2 years ago
Reply to  LB

According to the U-T, Grisham squeezed in the Brewers top 30 (28) at the beginning of 2019. They have several better OF prospects than Grisham. It should not surprise anyone if he does not make the ML team to start next year.

2 years ago
Reply to  Tommy T

They may force him on the major league roster to try and reduce criticism of the trade.

2 years ago

“Preller the Padre Killer.”

Perhaps he was pressured into making a move. Even then, getting embarrassed nationally didn’t have to happen. No one is this bad at what they do. Something else has to explain such a horrible move.

Tommy T
Tommy T
2 years ago

I was afraid this was going to happen. Now all GM’s are in a race to take advantage of Preller. Just when there was light at the end of the tunnel, and hope for a decent year this year, and even more beyond, AJ pulls another AJ. The Padres are doomed, again. This is yet another maddening move where the Padres go backwards, not forward. They give up way too much value (someone noted there is even more going to the Brewers!!! are you kidding me?!?!) They need longterm upside at pitching with pitchers who can go deep into games.… Read more »

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