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Luis Urias Offers Shortstop Alternatives

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Many fans expect their team to "win” every trade. But, truth be told, swaps are meant to benefit both sides.

That was the case when the Brewers sent righthander Zach Davies and outfielder Trent Grisham to the Padres for lefthander Eric Lauer and middle infielder Luis Urias. The Brewers were looking to save money in their rotation and pick up a needed lefty, but the fascinating part of the deal was the exchange of Grisham and Urias.

The 23-year-old Grisham hit his way into regular big league at-bats late in the season following a breakthrough season in the high minors. The 22-year-old Urias was considered the Padres’ second baseman of the future.

The two teams had other things in mind. The Brewers wanted another option at shortstop after another disappointing season from Orlando Arcia. Though Urias’ best position is second base, the Brewers have a rising offensive star there in Keston Hiura.

The Brewers could pit Arcia against Urias for the shortstop job in the spring. Or perhaps Urias will serve as a multi-position regular. Either way, the Brewers thought he was too exciting of a young talent to refuse.

Urias was a dynamic performer in the minors. He won the California League MVP in 2016 and is a career .308 hitter in the minors.

In 73 games at Triple-A El Paso in 2019, he batted .315/.398/.600 with 19 home runs. In his first extensive run in the majors, Urias struggled to a .223 average in 71 games.

"This is a player who performed at very high levels at very young ages throughout his career,” president of baseball operations David Stearns said. "This is a player with elite zone control, has demonstrated elite contact skills in his past, and is also a very gifted defender.

"We did not have good shortstop production last year (the club's .612 OPS ranked last in the National League), and we have been open about that. For us to ultimately do what we want to do and be the type of team we want to be, production from that position needs to improve.

"Having competition at that position is not a bad thing.”

MICROBREWS

— The Brewers signed 29-year-old second baseman Jace Peterson to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp. He spent much of 2019 at Triple-A Norfolk in the Orioles system, batting .313 with a .910 OPS in 90 games.

— The Brewers sent their 2020 supplemental second-round pick to the Mariners in the trade for catcher Omar Narvzez. Last winter, they traded their 2019 supplemental first-round pick to the Rangers for lefthanded reliever Alex Claudio.

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