David Stearns, Brewers president of baseball operations (🎲🎲 ROLLING THE DICE)
Juan Soto was undoubtedly the biggest name dealt at the MLB trade deadline, but Josh Hader was the most surprising. But … maybe not? Hader, making $11 million this year, was due for a big raise in 2023 through the arbitration process and can be a free agent in 2024. Few relievers get big money – and probably for good reason. The top paid reliever in baseball in 2022? The Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman ($18 million), who lost his job as closer. Teammate Zack Britton is No. 5 ($14M) and he hasn’t pitched in 2022 due to injury. Hader is eighth and surely will be moving up the list in 2023. Milwaukee was going to likely get a better haul now than in the offseason. Did Stearns get enough? Will it hurt chemistry and a chance at a World Series? Those are unanswerable, for now, but some fans certainly have Stearns in their crosshairs, as evidenced by reaction on social media after Hader was dealt. Stearns did fortify the bullpen with Matt Bush, Dinelson Lamet, Taylor Rogers and Trevor Rosenthal … but the hitting remains suspect. And how much relief will be needed in the playoffs with a strong rotation (gone are, or at least should, be the days of manager Craig Counsell lifting starting pitchers after just a couple of innings in playoff games). On face value, the Hader move was understandable. It’s just tough to swallow for fans of a first-place team. That being said, Stearns has built a winner in Milwaukee – four consecutive playoff appearances attest to that – so that should give him some latitude when making these kind moves. This one was bigger, of course, and a roll of the dice. Stearns has gotten a lot of “7s” in his tenure. Let’s hope this one doesn’t turn up snake eyes.
Christian Yelich, Brewers left fielder (⬆️ UP)
Yelich has really taken to this leading off thing. He now has four straight games with two hits and is riding an 11-game hit streak. Over that span he’s batting .370/.473/.522. We may never see MVP Yelich again but a productive Yelich, setting the table, goes a long way. He’s doing just that, slashing .305/.411/.431 while batting first this season and .257/.381/.457 as the first batter in the game.
Rowdy Tellez, Brewers first baseman (⬆️ UP)
Think Tellez might have found a home in Milwaukee? Last week he went 7-for-16 with three homers and eight RBI – two of those blasts and six of the driven in coming in a win over Minnesota. Tellez also had three hits in a win at Boston on July 30, his most in a game this season since he had four back on May 4. Tellez has 21 homers, tied for his career high, and 66 RBI, his most in any of his five MLB seasons.
Corbin Burnes, Brewers starting pitcher (⬇️ DOWN)
In the midst of another fantastic season, Burnes suddenly lost his control in Tuesday’s loss in Pittsburgh. He threw just 53 strikes among his 103 pitches, walking a career-high five and his most in a game since Aug. 26, 2017 with Biloxi, when he also issued five free passes. Burnes also hit two batters, which he’d done just once in his major-league career – earlier this year, May 18 vs. Atlanta (but he didn’t walk anyone that game). Burnes had never allowed seven baserunners on walks and hit batters in a game in his career – majors or minors – before Tuesday.
Jaire Alexander, Packers cornerback (😥 OK!)
Alexander missed practice the other day, fueling injury concerns, which is of course the last thing Green Bay wants to see happen to its best defensive player. But Alexander was just feeling some tightness and his being held out was precautionary to ensure he can participate in full practices later in the week. All together now: PHEW!
Jordan Love, Packers quarterback (⬆️ UP)
Both general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur praised Love’s improvement in training camp this year (and thus far). Good news for the 2023 Packers! We kid, we kid (we think).