Wednesday’s four-player Brewers/Padres swap was largely about two teams recognizing that they could trade puzzle pieces with each other to better complete themselves, and probably also revealed San Diego’s long-term pessimism regarding Luis Urías. Here’s the deal:
With Lauer, the Brewers get an inning-eating lefty whose 2019 innings total is a big reason he generated 2.3 WAR despite his pedestrian 4.77 xFIP. He gives the Brewers yet another unique mechanical look, and chucks in a lot of varied breaking stuff, working heavily off of a cutter, curveball, and a slider that Lauer doesn’t use very much overall, but that he throws at a higher rate when opposing hitters have two strikes. That slider and cutter usage flipped last year (20% sliders and 6% cutters in 2018, with the inverse last year) and Lauer’s glove-side command of the cutter seemed to enable him to jam righties, as right-handed batter wOBA against him dropped from .341 in 2018 to .300 last year.
Lauer was still a little fly ball/homer prone last year, but PETCO has a fairly short porch to straightaway left field…