Mets acquire Houser, Taylor from Brewers

December 20th, 2023

NEW YORK -- The Mets continued adding to their stockpile of pitching options on Wednesday, acquiring right-hander and outfielder from the Brewers for pitching prospect Coleman Crow.

Houser, 30, is a seven-year veteran entering his final season under team control. He’s coming off a season that saw him post a 4.12 ERA over 21 starts and two relief appearances, missing time for groin and elbow injuries along the way. At his best, Houser is an expert at avoiding hard contact, though he struggled in that regard in 2023. His career league-adjusted ERA+ rates a shade above average, at 106.

The sinkerballer will be due a raise over the $3.6 million he made this season, giving the Brewers incentive to find a cheaper option. The Mets, with a much larger budget, had no such issues.

In New York, Houser joins Tylor Megill and Joey Lucchesi as potential back-end rotation options behind Kodai Senga, José Quintana and Luis Severino. (One key piece of that depth, David Peterson, will miss the start of the season recovering from a torn labrum in his left hip.) The Mets continue to search for additional starters, with free agent Yoshinobu Yamamoto at the top of their list.

Taylor, 29, profiles as a right-handed bench candidate for a Mets team that still has only three full-time, Major League outfielders on its 40-man roster. Known for both his power and defense, Taylor has slugged 41 homers over 331 career games -- 13 of them against left-handed pitchers, though his lifetime platoon splits are not extreme. Arbitration-eligible for the first time, Taylor could become the righty complement to left-hander DJ Stewart on the Mets’ bench.

In exchange for those two players, the Mets gave up a prospect who will not pitch at all next season. Crow, 22, spent less than six months in the Mets' organization, after arriving in the team’s trade of Eduardo Escobar to the Angels in June. He never wound up pitching for his new employer due to an elbow injury that led to Tommy John surgery, which he underwent in August.

Because Crow is expected to miss all of next season, he was an intriguing possibility for teams at the Rule 5 Draft earlier this month; any club that selected him could have kept him on its 60-day injured list all season. He instead went undrafted and the Brewers traded for Crow instead, which allows them to avoid paying him a Major League salary while he rehabs (in addition to the $100,000 drafting fee).

A 28th-round pick of the Brewers in 2019, Crow was off to a hot start before getting injured, going 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA over four starts for Double-A Rocket City. He was the Mets’ 29th-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.