The Milwaukee Brewers have made their first official trade of the offseason, and unsurprisingly, it was for a reliever. The Brewers have acquired RP Burke Badenhop from the Tampa Bay Rays for minor league OF Raul Mondesi Jr.
In 62 innings for the Rays this past season, Badenhop recorded a 3.03 ERA, striking out 42 batters against walking just 12. Though he recorded a career low in his K/9 (6.06), he also recorded a career low in BB/9 (1.73), which in addition to a very solid 76.9 LOB% would help explain the over half-run differential between his ERA and his FIP (3.65 for 2012). Badenhop's tendency to induce groundballs has definitely been a major asset to his major league success, and will likely remain so in the friendlier confines of Miller Park. In essence, he is a doppleganger of former-Brewer, Kameron Loe, but will cost less than Loe would have and is two years younger.
In exchange for Badenhop, the Brewers parted with Raul Mondesi Jr., who signed with them as an undrafted free agent back in 2010 at the tender age of 17. Mondesi Jr. wasn't exactly jumping off the page with his stats to date, sporting just a .231/.282/.374 in 273 ABs with the Rookie League Helena Brewers. However, having just recently turned 20, Mondesi Jr. could still grow and improve his game with some more seasoning. His tools won't blow anyone away, but he's a fantastic athlete with a good knack for the game.
Overall, this appears to be a fine trade for the Brewers. After a disastrous performance by their relief corps in 2012, the team simply had to address the bullpen in one form or another this Winter. This one may cost them a potentially promising player down the line, but that's the way of the game, and potential is really just potential until it becomes something more. Badenhop is Super 2 eligible, and isn't due to become a free agent until 2015, so the Brewers will be getting at least 2 years of service time from him, which is pretty nice for a fairly solid middle-reliever. I imagine this will be the first of several moves to help improve the bullpen, so think of this as the first step in a multiple step process.