MILWAUKEE -- Brewers general manager David Stearns threw a curveball late Thursday night, trading away the sort of controllable talent he has been working so hard to acquire.
After sending Jason Rogers to the Pirates for a pair of prospects -- speedy center fielder Keon Broxton and right-hander Trey Supak, Pittsburgh's No. 15 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com -- Stearns said the return was worth the price, including the vacancy Rogers' departure left at first base.
"These are the types of trades that become a little more complicated, because you're trading one young player for other young players," Stearns said. "But we have to remain open-minded and pursue these deals when there is an opportunity to bring additional talent back into the organization. In this case, we felt as though the combination of getting a young, athletic center fielder and a young, upside starting pitcher was too much to pass up.
"It's more a commentary on what we feel we were able to get, rather than anything on Jason Rogers. Jason Rogers is a quality Major League player with a very solid bat."
That bat made Rogers the rare 32nd-round Draft pick to make it to the Major Leagues. Now 27, he hit .296 with an .808 OPS in 86 games for Milwaukee last season and is a career .290/.372/.466 hitter in the Minor Leagues. Rogers was the leading internal candidate at first base after the Brewers traded Adam Lind to the Mariners last week at the Winter Meetings.
Now, the Brewers will have to look elsewhere. Stearns indicated nothing was imminent, but said he was exploring a number of options in free agency and trades, for both short- and long-term solutions.
"Clearly, we need to add to our first-base depth, and we feel we will be able to do that over the coming weeks and months," Stearns said.
Regarded for his defense and speed, Broxton, 25, debuted in the Major Leagues last season with seven appearances off the Pirates' bench. He batted a combined .273/.357/.438 with 39 stolen bases between Double-A and Triple-A, and has stolen at least 21 bases in five of his seven seasons in the Minors.
The Brewers are set at the outfield corners with Ryan Braun, Khris Davis and Domingo Santana, but have prioritized the search for a true center fielder. Could Broxton be the solution?
"There is a chance of it," Stearns said. "We're going to go into camp with a competition in center field, and Broxton will be a part of that. He's a 'plus' runner, and we certainly believe he can go get it in the outfield."
Supak, 19, was a second-round Draft pick in 2014 from La Grange (Texas) High School, the same school that produced the Reds' Homer Bailey. Supak has spent two years in Rookie ball, going 2-5 with a 5.85 ERA in 16 appearances, including 14 starts.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.