LOS ANGELES -- Jonathan Schoop arrived at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday and became the third high-profile player in a week to circle the Brewers' clubhouse shaking hands with his new teammates. Reliever Joakim Soria and third baseman Mike Moustakas did the same days earlier.However, Brewers general manager David Stearns did
LOS ANGELES -- Jonathan Schoop arrived at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday and became the third high-profile player in a week to circle the Brewers' clubhouse shaking hands with his new teammates. Reliever Joakim Soria and third baseman Mike Moustakas did the same days earlier.
However, Brewers general manager David Stearns did not find a starting pitcher ahead of Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline to bolster a surprisingly solid, but not particularly deep, Brewers rotation, despite working hard on a number of fronts and coming very close on one particular player. Stearns opted not to name him.
He'll keep working on it.
"We still have August," Stearns said.
That's right -- the end of July is baseball's non-waiver Deadline, not a hard cap to trade season. Teams can still deal players, provided they clear waivers first, and there are a number of starting pitchers among the potential candidates. MLB.com's Mark Feinsand included three on his list of 10 who could still be traded: Matt Harvey of the Reds, Ervin Santana of the Twins and James Shields of the White Sox.
Whether any of those players represent an upgrade over what the Brewers already have is open for debate. Through Wade Miley's seven scoreless innings in Tuesday's 1-0 win over the Dodgers, Milwaukee's starters rank seventh in the Majors with a 3.80 ERA. And the Brewers had 63 quality starts entering Wednesday, trailing only the Astros.
That might surprise some outsiders, considering the Brewers don't have any aces like Justin Verlander on their staff. Instead, they have a current five-man rotation of Jhoulys Chacin, Chase Anderson, Junior Guerra, Freddy Peralta and Miley, with right-hander Zach Davies scheduled to throw a second of at least three Minor League rehab starts on Wednesday night as he works through a back injury and Brandon Woodruff in reserve at Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Stearns acknowledged that the Brewers' own view of their rotation is more optimistic than outsiders' "and that's fine," he said. Lorenzo Cain weighed in on the matter after Miley's gem, saying, "For me, the pitching has been carrying our team all year long. That speaks for itself."
Still, adding depth at the right price would not hurt. Jimmy Nelson, the team's best starting pitcher a year ago, remains in rehab mode following shoulder surgery. He threw breaking balls for the first time during a Dodger Stadium session on Wednesday, but is not quite ready to pitch at full strength off a mound. The Brewers don't know whether Nelson will pitch for them this season. Left-hander Brent Suter, who has been valuable as a swingman in recent seasons, is out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery on Tuesday.
So, Stearns did some shopping.
"When you're talking about potentially acquiring an elite, controllable player -- regardless of position -- other teams are going to target the top of your system," Stearns said. "In certain cases, we thought that was appropriate, and in other cases, we weren't willing to go there.
"We've proven that when we feel the time is right, we're willing to deal from the top of our system. We did it in the case of Christian Yelich. We think that was a transaction that was worth making. In these cases, we just couldn't line up with the teams that had the controllable starting pitching to make deals that we thought were in our best interest."
Among the controllable pitchers the Brewers pursued were the Rays' Chris Archer and the Orioles' Kevin Gausman, but Archer went to the Pirates and Gausman to the Braves. Either pitcher would have probably required Stearns to part with one or more of the team's top four prospects per MLB Pipeline -- infielder Keston Hiura, pitchers Corbin Burnes and Peralta and outfielder Corey Ray.
Stearns didn't find a deal to his liking, so with moments to go before the Deadline, he got Schoop from the Orioles for infielder Jonathan Villar and Minor Leaguers Luis Ortiz and Jean Carmona.
Schoop checked in Wednesday and batted cleanup as the Brewers' second baseman.
"My agent kind of told me, 'Don't be surprised if they trade you. Be ready for it,'" Schoop said. "It was 50-50. I was expecting it a little bit."
With the lineup and bullpen strengthened, Stearns will keep working on the rotation. He suggested that some of the pitchers he targeted didn't get traded.
Stearns expects August to be busy with trades around baseball.
"We had numbers of parallel paths, and we certainly had a number of conversations revolving around pitchers; some of whom were traded and many of whom were not," Stearns said. "We did think it was important for us to focus on potentially adding a starter. We were unable to do that at this point, but we still have the August trade period to see if there's something out there that makes sense for us."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.