The Milwaukee Brewers and the Boston Red Sox made a big trade on Tuesday as the Brewers sent relief pitcher Tyler Thornnburg to the Red Sox in exchange for 3rd baseman Travis Shaw, shortstop Mauricio Dubon, and right-handed pitcher Josh Pennington.
Tyler Thornburg was by far the most consistent player in the Brewers bullpen last season as he had a 2.15 ERA and 13 saves, so this trade makes Milwaukee’s bullpen a lot more uncertain in 2017. Thornburg took over the closer’s role last season after the Brewers traded Jeremy Jeffress to the Rangers. Now it appears that the team will either have Corey Knebel or Carlos Torres as their new closer next season. Losing Thornburg will certainly hurt the Brewers short-term, but it is otherwise a good move because of the return that they got. Travis Shaw will make an already solid Brewers infield even better as Shaw figures to be the everyday starter at 3rd base. Shaw had a good year for the Red Sox as their everyday 3rd baseman as he hit 16 home runs and had 71 RBI’s. The Brewers needed a good left-handed hitter in their lineup and Shaw should provide that. Shaw might not have a great average, but he provides solid power and consistent offensive production at 3rd base. The Brewers will likely now move Jonathan Villar over to 2nd base and that likely leaves last year’s starting 2nd baseman Scooter Gennett out of the starting lineup. I’m sure that the Brewers will try to trade Gennett now that they don’t have a clear role for him. Meanwhile, the Brewers received even more infield depth in this trade by acquiring young shortstop prospect Mauricio Dubon. Dubon is a solid prospect that projects as a utility player if he reaches the MLB level possibly in 2018. He doesn’t have much power as he has hit only 14 home runs in 4 career minor league seasons. However, he does provide a lot of speed as he had 30 stolen bases last season. Also, he has proven that he can get on base consistently as he is a .306 career hitter in the minor leagues. Dubon reached Double-A last season and he could end up starting their in 2017, but by the end of next season I expect him to be in Triple-A. Dubon probably won’t have a regular position when he joins the Brewers, but he has the versatility to play many positions probably. Meanwhile, Josh Pennington is a decent starting pitcher prospect as he went 5-3 with a 2.86 ERA in Class A last season. It will take awhile for him to reach the MLB level, but he could provide some solid pitching depth for Milwaukee eventually maybe as a starter in the back of their rotation. Overall, the Brewers aren’t quite ready for contention as they are still adding some pieces to their team. However, this trade is really good because it will give them solid depth for the future.
Red Sox evaluation:
This trade makes sense for the Red Sox as well because they are set to lose setup men Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazaw in free agency. Tyler Thornburg was the closer for Milwaukee last season, but expect him to be the new 8th inning guy to set up for Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel. Thornburg has been really consistent throughout his career as he has a 2.87 ERA in 5 seasons with the Brewers. Thornburg provides a lot more stability to the Red Sox bullpen and he is a solid addition that could turn the Red Sox into world series contenders. Travis Shaw was Boston’s starting 3rd baseman last season, so trading him away creates some obvious uncertainty at the position. However, by trading away Shaw then it allows Pablo Sandoval to regain the starting spot at 3rd base in 2017 which he was expected to do last season anyway before he got injured. The only concern that I have for the Red Sox in this deal is that they gave away Dubon and Pennington who are 2 quality prospects. Dubon could have been used as a utility player in 2018 for Boston, but instead they traded him for a quality relief pitcher like Thornburg that can help the team win right away. I really like this trade for the Red Sox overall. However, I believe that the Red Sox gave up too much in order to get Thornburg. Thornburg is a consistent player that will make an impact right away and either way this is a smart move for Boston.