Milwaukee Brewers: Make the offseason count

Did the Brewers do enough this offseason to make the postseason?


(Photo Credit: Bryce Edwards)

After missing the playoffs by one game last season, the Milwaukee Brewers are hungrier than ever to make a run in the playoffs. The club hasn’t made the playoffs since winning the NL Central in 2011 and with the Chicago Cubs looking to win the division for the third straight season, Milwaukee is hoping the busy offseason pays off.

This offseason was a successful for the Brewers on paper, but that doesn’t always translate onto the field. Some people might argue there’s too much depth in the team’s roster because of their offseason moves. Others might say the Brewers gambled too much to win now when, in reality, they have a big window of opportunity to win. Are the Brewers good enough to compete with the Cubs or will they embarrass themselves and fall out of the postseason picture early?

  1. 1 Greatest Addition(s): Lorenzo Cain & Christian Yelich


    Part of the Brewers busy offseason included upgrading what already was a scary lineup. Though the team could have used an upgrade in the rotation, the club made it clear to the rest of baseball that they are in it to win it in 2018. 

    Former Kansas City Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain, who started his career with the Brewers before being sent to KC in a trade for Zack Greinke, signed a five-year, $80m contract in January and will play centerfield daily. A few days later, the club traded four prospects, one of them being Lewis Brinson, to the Miami Marlins for Christian Yelich. Yelich and Cain are huge upgrades in the lineup but having them leaves notable players from last season with less or no playing time.

    The good news is Ryan Braun is trying out first base this year, which gives Domingo Santana a spot in the lineup every day. The bad news is Braun and Eric Thames will split the first base duties, leaving Jesus Aguilar out of the picture to play consistently. Another thing to consider is outfielders like Brett Phillips and Keon Broxton might spend the year in the minors unless they’re traded or someone gets injured.

  2. 2 Greatest Loss: Neil Walker


    The Brewers acquired Neil Walker shortly after the trade deadline last year and provided a major upgrade at second base over the struggling Jonathan Villar. Walker only hit .267 in 38 games, but his veteran presence was a nice addition to a young clubhouse.

    Now that Walker’s gone, it’s up to Villar to step up in 2018. Hernan Perez is another option to play second base if Villar’s struggles continue, so here's hoping Villar rebounds and doesn't leave Milwaukee with a void on the field.

  3. 3 Greatest Asset: The offense


    The Brewers might be the only team in baseball that could survive a mass injury bug outbreak going into the season if they make no more moves before the season starts. The club led the National League in home runs with 224 last season and they could easily pass that total this season with the depth in the offense.

    Player

    Position

    2017 Home Runs

    2017 RBI

    2017 Batting Avg.

    Manny Pina

    C

    9

    43

    .279

    Stephen Vogt

    C

    8

    20

    .254

    Eric Thames

    1B

    31

    63

    .247

    Ryan Braun

    1B/OF

    17

    52

    .268

    Jonathan Villar

    2B

    11

    40

    .241

    Hernan Perez

    Utility

    14

    51

    .259

    Orlando Arcia

    SS

    15

    53

    .277

    Travis Shaw

    3B

    31

    101

    .273

    Eric Sogard

    IF

    3

    18

    .273

    Lorenzo Cain

    OF

    15

    49

    .300

    Christian Yelich

    OF

    18

    81

    .282

    Domingo Santana

    OF

    30

    85

    .278

    Keon Broxton

    OF

    20

    49

    .220

    Brett Phillips

    OF

    4

    12

    .276

    Jesus Aguilar

    Bench

    16

    52

    .265

    The Brewers have one of the deeper rosters in the majors right now and the options that will be available in the farm system is something the fans and front office should be excited about, even without Brinson in the picture.

  4. 4 Greatest Liability: Ryan Braun


    (Photo Credit: Steve Paluch)

    Braun is aging and at some point, the Brewers will have to accept the fact he isn’t the player he once was. Braun had an injury-plagued 2017 and his presence is hurting the future of the club from getting playing time. 

    Eric Thames put up a respectful return season in 2017 and it’ll be interesting to see how he and Braun handle platooning every day. As much as the Brewers want Braun in the lineup, they need to keep him either at first base or the outfield and not platoon him between positions, or else young players like Santana, Broxton, and Phillips won’t play as much as they should.

  5. 5 X-Factor: Jhoulys Chacin


    The Brewers were quiet in adding upgrades to the starting rotation but Jhoulys Chacin is expected to be the veteran of a young rotation and perform to the best of his abilities. Chacin posted a 3.89 ERA with the San Diego Padres last season, the best on the team. 

    When Jimmy Nelson returns from shoulder surgery, Chacin could either be a sixth man in the rotation or a key piece to the bullpen. How Chacin performs could set the tone for the rest of the pitching staff, which will be pivotal to the team’s success.

  6. 6 Final thoughts


    (Photo Credit: Jim Bauer)

    Don’t be completely sold on the Brewers in 2018. It’s easy to like what they have on paper, but that talent doesn’t always translate to the field. The Tampa Bay Rays were a prime example of this from 2015 to 2017 and they didn’t post a winning season in that span.

    The Brewers are close to being competitors in the long run but don’t be surprised if they take a step back this season. Still, fans shouldn’t worry because one bad year won’t cause the team to rebuild and start from scratch. Craig Counsell will still be the manager and Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich won’t go anywhere as the team looks to win a World Series for the first time in franchise history. 

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Stephen Gossman

Just a guy who loves baseball, God, and all my friends and family. Any time I can go on an adventure I will take that opportunity.

I've been blessed to get this opportunity to do something I love in an effort to make my dreams of sports broadcasting come true.

Find joy in the journey. Nothing comes easy, therefore you must make the most of every opportunity that comes your way. Make the journey fun along the way.

James 1:2-4; Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

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