Even after losing two of three to the Mariners over the last three days, the Brewers look to be in prime position to make another deep postseason run this year. Rotation over bullpen will likely be the case in terms of what the Brewers primarily target over the next few weeks, but even one of the league’s best units has room to grow.
The Brewers are big on flexibility within their pitching staff, so Elías is a great and obvious fit in that sense. Elías would give Craig Counsell four legit high-leverage relievers, allowing him to be more creative and decisive late in games.
Along with Elías, the Brewers secure a much-needed backup catcher for their playoff run in Tom Murphy. The 28-year-old has revitalized his career in Seattle and would be a significant upgrade to Milwaukee’s current reserve backstop Manny Piña. Murphy is extremely cheap and still has three arbitration years ahead of him, while Elías has two, so this package wouldn’t come cheap to the Brewers.
That’s why I have them giving up one of their best pitching prospects in left-hander Aaron Ashby. Selected in the fourth round of last year’s draft, Ashby has a three-pitch mix headlined by a mid-90s fastball and a plus curveball. Through 81 innings across Low-A and High-A this year, Ashby has struck out 101 batters and walked just 34.
He’s using all three of his pitches effectively, including an improved changeup, and accurately hits the zone early and often. As his velocity continues to tick up and more work is put into developing the changeup, Ashby has a very real chance of reaching his middle-of-the-rotation ceiling, or ascending it, by late next year.
It’ll be hard to rip Ashby away from the Brewers, but they’re going to be aggressive at the deadline this year. Elías and Murphy aren’t big names that will necessarily shift the tides for them, but they’ll help further stabilize an elite group and greatly raise the floor of their overall team depth.