In what was a very head-scratching move following the Josh Hader trade — another move that many consider head-scratching — the Brewers designated Lamet for assignment.
Lamet was included in the trade to help “balance” things out, as David Stearns said. Meaning that Lamet’s salary was likely needed in addition to what Taylor Rodgers is making this season as a way to get close to Hader’s $11 million deal.
Lamet was having a rough season in San Diego, posting a 9.49 ERA in only 12.1 innings as he battled injuries—although his FIP is only 3.49. He has struck out 10.9 batters per nine innings of work and walked 4.2 batters per nine.
However, Lamet also isn’t that far removed from a 2020 season where he was a Cy Young candidate behind a 2.09 ERA and a 0.855 WHIP. For his career, Lamet has a strikeout rate of almost 31% and a walk rate of 11%, according to Fangraphs.
Had Lamet cleared waivers, the Brewers would have had the option to outright Lamet to Triple-A Nashville, but as MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy would mention, because Lamet has over three years of major league service, he could have declined that option, collected from the Brewers the $1.6 million he was owed, and elected free agency.
This is just another factor that makes the DFA designation all the more difficult to understand.
McCalvy would also mention some other factors that possibly contributed to this decision, was the addition of Matt Bush via trade and the return of Freddy Peralta, which quickly created a crowded pitching staff—especially with the 13 pitcher limit.
Also, Lamet recently passed the five-year mark in terms of big league service and could no longer be optioned to the minors.
“Dinelson has a good arm and was included in the trade to help balance out the deal,” Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said via MLB.com. “As subsequent transactions played out, the roster fit became a little tougher.”
Unfortunately, these reasons don’t exactly make Brewers fans feel any better. In fact, it feels worse as there are now more questions than answers—most notably, why was Lamet even included in the trade to begin with?
The Milwaukee Brewers find themselves on a four-game losing streak, which includes having lost three in a row to the Pittsburgh Pirates since the Hader trade was made. The Brewers are now back at home to take on the Cincinnati Reds.