MILWAUKEE — The Brewers trimmed their list of arbitration-eligible players by two in a trade with the Mets on Wednesday, sending two of Milwaukee’s longest-tenured players — right-hander Adrian Houser and outfielder Tyrone Taylor — to New York in exchange for a bullpen. Coleman Crowe.
Crowe, a six-foot-two right-hander who turns 23 next week and is viewed more for pitching ability than power, is in the middle of returning from Tommy John surgery in July, which was performed shortly after the Angels traded him and another prospect to Mets by Eduardo Escobar.
Crowe ranked 29th on MLB Pipeline’s list of the Mets’ top 30 prospects.
Born and raised in Georgia, he was a 28th-round pick of the Angels out of high school in 2019 who received fifth-round money to sign. Crowe parlayed his impressive Arizona Fall League in ’21 into an aggressive stint for Double-A in 2022 in his age-21 season, when he led the Southern League in innings pitched and finished second in strikeouts. He returned to that form and got off to a strong start in 2023 — 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA and 31 strikeouts in his first 24 innings — before suffering an elbow injury.
Given the typical timeline for Tommy John surgery, Crowe is expected to be back on the field in the second half of 2024. His injury makes him an interesting player entering this month’s Rule 5 draft; Any team could have picked him up for $100,000 and put him on the 60-day injured list all season. However, the downside is that he would have held a 40-man roster spot all winter, then earn a major league salary throughout 2024.
Taylor and Howser have been Milwaukee mainstays for years, with Taylor being a second-round draft pick in 2012, and Houser acquired in a blockbuster July 2015 trade with the Astros that netted a quartet of prospects, including Josh Hader. In recent years, both have moved between a variety of roles, with Hoosier mostly playing as a starter and Taylor providing right-handed power as a versatile defender.
With this performance, their salaries increased. Houser is in his final year of arbitration eligibility after earning $3.6 million last season and posting a 4.12 ERA in 111 1/3 innings despite missing time with hip and elbow injuries. Taylor, who worked his way to the Majors starting in 2019 after parts of eight years in the minors, is arbitration-eligible for the first time after putting up a .713 OPS and managing a nagging right elbow injury.
Combined, Cot’s contracts projected to earn just under $7 million next season. Houser’s innings could have come in handy as the Brewers build a rotation without his longtime reliever Brandon Woodruff, but Taylor’s role was clouded given the Brewers’ stability in a Major League-ready outfield, led by top prospect Jackson Chorio, who made his way to Opening Day That became even clearer when he signed a record-setting eight-year, $82 million contract earlier this month.
The departures leave the Brewers with seven arbitration-eligible players, starting with right-hander Corbin Burns and shortstop Willie Adams, whose names have come up in trade chatter already this winter. Others eligible for arbitration are relievers Devin Williams, Hobey Milner, Joel Payamps, Bryce Wilson, and first baseman/outfielder Jake Bowers, acquired in a trade with the Yankees at the non-tender deadline.
The next deadline to know in the process is Jan. 13, when teams and arbitration-eligible players will formally submit salary proposals to MLB if they haven’t reached an agreement yet.
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