David Washington at-bat for the Milwaukee Milkmen
Transaction Analysis

Transaction Analysis: An Eye for Milk

Milwaukee Milkmen traded 1B/DH-L David Washington to Winnipeg Goldeyes for RHP Tyler Smith and a Player to be Named Later

I both get this trade for the Milkmen and am also left scratching my head. It appears to be a case of them selling high on Washington and taking a shot at a relatively unproven reliever. The Milkmen have spent most of their offseason reshaping the team to a great degree. In that sense, trading Washington is simply a domino falling in place following an earlier trade for Correlle Prime. I’m not sold on this domino move being the right one all things considered.

Before we get to that, the Tyler Smith part of the transaction deserves some time. Smith is, as stated, a relatively unproven reliever. He posted a 2.16 ERA for Winnipeg in 2021, but that was in a grand total of 8.1 innings. Milwaukee has developed a reputation of being able to get the most out of the majority of relievers who end up on their squad. It’s clear they believe Smith has some potential, even if his affiliated numbers were wholly unimpressive. Perhaps Smith will end up being a boon to the team, but one has to wonder if the Milkmen could have aimed higher in this deal and instead signed a free-agent reliever to turn around in typical Milkmen fashion?

Back to Washington and Prime, I’m not convinced that Washington’s emergence last season was a mirage. He’s put in the work, he’s made changes to his approach, and has become a very patient hitter. He’s shortened his swing in certain situations and has become a grinder and on-base machine. He’s those things plus still with considerable power. As good as Prime has been throughout most of his career, losing the left-handed bat of Washington for the right-handed bat of Prime seems like a lateral move at best that has the chance to blow up in Milwaukee’s face if Washington keeps up his recent play.

Winnipeg Goldeyes traded RHP Tyler Smith and a Player to be Named Later to Milwaukee Milkmen for 1B/DH-L David Washington

Smith was a decent arm for the Goldeyes last year but in very limited action. He’s also a bullpen arm and everyone knows bullpen arms are easier to come by. The Goldeyes gave up very little on the chance that Washington helps fill the massive hole left in their lineup by the loss of Kyle Martin. Even if Smith goes on to have an amazing season in Milwaukee it’s not like the Goldeyes will be regretting losing him most likely.

Last year Washington slashed .325/.402/.628 with 17 home runs in 264 plate appearances. Those are big boy numbers and the sort that would make Goldeyes fans very happy. The caveat is, Washington needs to stay healthy all year long. If he can do that and even come close to matching his production from 2021 then the Goldeyes will have made out like bandits in this deal. That’s a big if when one considers that Washington missed all of the playoffs and almost half of last season with injuries. 

The Goldeyes will take Washington’s still high strikeout rate if he can provide them 400ish plate appearances with a high average, on base, and slugging. Hell, any team would take that, especially a team that just lost a player like Kyle Martin. Washington has the potential to be the answer that the Goldeyes are looking for on offense and if he is the rest of the American Association may finally have to deal with a true contending Goldeyes squad.

Editor’s Update: The Milkmen signed Keon Barnum to a deal this week which causes this trade to make a lot more sense.

Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – Milwaukee Milkmen

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Bill Thompson
Father (human/feline/canine), husband, Paramedic, Socialist, writer Internet Baseball Writers Association of America and Off the Bench Baseball; freelance writer at various online and print publications. Member Internet Baseball Writers Association of America & Society for American Baseball Research.

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