Nearly a month ago now, David Stearns completed his first trade with his former club, sending Coleman Crow to the Brewers in exchange form right handed pitcher Adrian Houser and outfielder Tyrone Taylor. Yes, in the midst of the Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes, the Mets made the time to acquire a pitcher who is perhaps most famous for puking on the mound multiple times and an outfielder that most fans have probably never heard of. Not a flashy move, probably not an exciting move to the well-adjusted fan, but there’s a lot to like her just beneath the surface.
Houser, 30, is a right-handed starting pitcher who has been a fairly consistent presence at the back of the Brewer’s rotation since stepping into the role in 2019. He’s missed time here and there—a groin issue in 2022, a swollen elbow in 2023—but has generally been healthy and reasonably effective. He leans heavily on a sinker and a four-seam fastball, which combine for ~70% of his pitches, complimenting his fastballs with a slider, curve, and a seldom used change. None of his offerings are particularly impressive; his fastballs sit in the low-to-mid 90s, his breaking balls lack standout movement or spin, and none of his pitches induce a ton of whiffs. Houser commands his arsenal well, however, limiting walks and generally keeping the ball off of barrels en route to an ERA in the low 4s. He’ll be a free agent after this season and agreed to a $5.1M salary in arbitration—slightly below MLBTR projections.
Taylor is the more interesting piece of the deal. A late bloomer, he didn’t reach the big leagues until he was 25 back in 2019, but has since been a league average hitter and one of the better outfield defenders in baseball (consider him in the tier below the really elite guys like fellow new Met Harrison Bader). Taylor’s got a little pop, makes enough contact to not be disastrous, has very good speed but doesn’t really steal bases, walks slightly less than you’d hope, and holds his own against both righties and lefties. It’s a really nice 4th outfielder or RHH platoon option. Despite being 29, Taylor is also under team control for three more seasons. He’s a clearly useful player that’s been forced out in Milwaukee by their wealth of high-level outfield prospects (Sal Frelick, Garrett Mitchell, Joey Wiemer, and now Jackson Chourio).
Maybe in a vacuum that’s not as interesting as you’d have hoped, but let’s place the player in context. The Mets were clearly interested in adding a RHH CF to the roster, expressing early interest in Michael A. Taylor and ultimately signing Bader even after adding Tyrone Talyor. The two Taylors actually profile very similarly, but one is a 33-year-old free agent expected to get a multiyear deal worth $7-$9M annually. Instead, the Mets got a younger, cheaper player under team control for longer and who requires less of a commitment (since he can be non-tendered at any point). That’s much more appealing piece to have on the roster.
The cost here was essentially nothing. Coleman Crow is an intriguing arm and was set to rank 25th on our offseason top prospect list. He also was traded for Eduardo Escobar last season, subsequently had Tommy John surgery, then was left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft, where the Brewers or any other team could’ve essentially had him for free. All of that should give you an idea of his value which is somewhere in the range of “not much” to “none at all”. In other words, this deal boils down almost solely to the Mets flexing some of their financial muscle and absorbing money that Milwaukee didn’t want to spend.
So to recap, the Mets got a solid 4th starter, a solid 4th outfielder with multiple years of team control, are paying both players less than equivalent talents are likely to receive on the free agent market, and gave up next to nothing to do it. It’s not the flashy signing that excites the average fan, but if you’re a process dork (and let’s be honest, if you’re reading this article you probably are) it’s a move you should be very happy with. This trade receives an A.