Brewers get Mark Canha, Mets get pitcher Jarvis in trade

Mark Canha (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The Milwaukee Brewers continued attempting to upgrade their lineup for their NL Central title quest on Monday as they acquired outfielder Mark Canha, the latest veteran to get dealt by the disappointing New York Mets.

Milwaukee sent minor league pitcher Justin Jarvis to the Mets.

"He’s a guy that we’re excited to have," Brewers president of baseball operations Matt Arnold said. "He’s somebody that’s been a productive big league player now for a long time. He still is a versatile guy as well. Between what he’s done over the course of his career offensively and also with the ability to play the outfield, first base, DH, etc., he’s somebody that we think can help us here down the stretch."

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This move comes four days after Milwaukee added former Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Carlos Santana, who hit his first homer as a Brewer in a Sunday afternoon 8-6 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

The Mets have been one of the most active sellers in the days leading up to Tuesday’s trade deadline, a remarkable shift for a franchise that opened the season with a $355 million payroll that was the highest in major league history.

After trading reliever David Robertson to the Miami Marlins on Thursday night, they sent three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer to the Texas Rangers in a deal announced Sunday.

The Robertson deal brought the Mets two players from the Marlins’ rookie-level Florida Complex League affiliate: infielder Marco Vargas and catcher Ronald Hernandez. The Scherzer trade enabled the Mets to land minor league infielder Luisangel Acuña, the younger brother of Atlanta Braves superstar Ronald Acuña Jr.

While the Mets look to the future as they boost their farm system, the Brewers are hoping this trade helps them get back into the playoffs after their franchise-record string of four straight postseason berths ended last season.

Milwaukee got swept at Atlanta over the weekend to fall behind the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central standings heading into Monday’s action.

The cerebral and versatile Canha is batting .245 with a .343 on-base percentage, six homers, 29 RBIs and seven steals in 89 games this season. He's in the second season of a $26.5 million, two-year contract that includes an $11.5 million team option for 2024 with a $2 million buyout.

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Canha, 34, lost playing time in left field this season to Tommy Pham but also has played right field, first base, designated hitter and third base. Arnold said right field probably would be Canha's primary position in Milwaukee but also noted his ability to play all three outfield positions as well as first base.

Milwaukee has struggled to score runs all season but is in playoff contention largely due to its quality pitching staff and outstanding fielding.

The Brewers have benefited from left fielder Christian Yelich’s resurgence this season to lead an outfield that lately has been starting two rookies in center fielder Joey Wiemer and right fielder Sal Frelick, who also has the ability to play center.

Frelick just got promoted July 22 and has hit .269 with a .417 on-base percentage in his first nine games. Wiemer has played exceptional defense but is hitting just .209 with a .289 on-base percentage, though he has 13 homers.

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Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Canha is expected to join the team for Tuesday's game at Washington.

"He's probably going to play a lot of right field," Counsell said after a 5-3 loss to the Nationals on Monday night. "That's going to move Sal to some center field, so we'll have to kind of mix and match with the outfielders. We have the DH spot obviously that's going to be in play too. Whether it's Christian or Mark with some DH at bats, it opens that up too."

Jarvis, a 23-year-old right-hander, is 6-6 with a 4.33 ERA in a combined 17 starts for Double-A Biloxi and Triple-A Nashville this season. He has struck out 102 and walked 38 in 87 1/3 innings.

"Justin is a really talented young pitcher with real upside," Arnold said. "We liked his arm quite a bit and everything that he had done this year. He'd done a great job. Obviously tough to give him up, but we're also very, very excited to have Canha here as well."

Editor's note: All statistics as of July 31, 2023.