The state of the Milwaukee Brewers


After years of the “win-now approach,” the repercussions have finally caught up with Doug Melvin and company.  The Milwaukee Brewers find themselves as sellers; as a rebuilding process for the first time in over a decade due in large part to organizational decisions that sacrificed the future for the present.

The organization has made two playoff runs in the past seven, soon to be eight, years and they made blockbuster deals in both of those years.  Milwaukee gave four prospects to the Cleveland Indians back in 2008 for then-ace CC Sabathia.  Then in 2011, Milwaukee gave up an incredible amount of young talent for a year and a half rental of ace Zack Greinke.

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Two players given away in that 2011 deal included now All-Star shortstop Alcides Escobar and starting center fielder Lorenzo Cain.  Both players are two of Kansas City’s most valuable players today.

These decisions, while satisfying for those two years, leave the organization reeling for new, affordable talent.

That’s where the selling comes into play.  The team was active at the trade deadline, dealing whoever they could to help replenish their now diminished farm system.  Milwaukee traded aging Aramis Ramirez and Jonathan Broxton for whatever they could, receiving a minor league pitcher and outfielder respectively.

While those deals seemed to be relatively obvious, the heart of our new farm system came near the end of the deadline.

Jul 31, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez (30) falls down on a swing against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

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After the New York Mets got wedding-day cold feet and backed out of a Carlos Gomez trade because of concerns over his hip, it seemed he wasn’t going anywhere after all.  But just one day later, the Houston Astros offered an even sweeter deal for the dynamic slugger which included 30-year-old starter Mike Fiers as well.

In return, Milwaukee received four very good prospects, headlined by outfielder Brett Phillips.  Phillips skyrockets up the Brewers prospect list, as he is now their No. 2 prospect behind just Orlando Arcia.

Phillips is a left-handed hitting 21-year-old who offers speed and is considered a very good contact hitter; an ideal fit for the top of any order.  Milwaukee also received outfielder Domingo Santana, left-hander Josh Hader, and right-hander Adrian Houser.

According to Mike Axisa of CBS Sports and Baseball America, Phillips, Santana, and Houser were all in the top 12 of Houston’s farm system. Phillips and Domingo were Houston’s top two OF prospects and now turn into two of Milwaukee’s most coveted future pieces.

The other deal that added relevant farm system depth was the Gerardo Parra deal.  Milwaukee shipped the red-hot Parra to Baltimore and in return received 22-year-old pitcher Zach Davies.

The scouting report on Davies is less upside, but MLB-ready sooner.  Davies isn’t seen as a game-changing, top of the rotation kind of guy.  Instead, he’s a middle to end of the rotation, consistent, MLB-ready pitcher.  This is something the Brewers desperately need for next year.

With Jimmy Nelson, Wily Peralta, and Taylor Jungmann solidified as starters for at least a year or two down the road, the futures of Matt Garza and Kyle Lohse are less than bleak when it comes to pitching on this staff next year.  Adding another young, affordable arm is what Milwaukee needs.

Aug 1, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Khris Davis (18) reacts after striking out in the sixth inning during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park. The Cubs beat the Brewers 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Now there is something Brewers fans need to know, both casual and devoted; this is just the beginning.  This is just the beginning of what will be a long rebuilding process.  And that’s ok.

Things are going to have to get even worse before they start to get better.  Milwaukee just got swept by the rival Cubs in Milwaukee, recognizable faces are rapidly diminishing, and interest in the team is fading as the losing continues.

The idea of selling, in a sense, means throwing in the towel for the time being.  Keeping a player like Carlos Gomez, while it may keep fans happy, makes no sense for the future.  In two years he’s going to want to get paid a lot of money, and deservedly so.  The Brewers would be in no position to even think about signing Gomez to a long term deal even if they wanted to.

Between the lack of talent around him combined with crippling yourself financially for no reason at all would only set the franchise back even farther.

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  • Losing teams sell every trade deadline every year.  We’ve been lucky that Milwaukee hasn’t had to do it for years now, but our time has come.  The fun we had during those playoff runs, the big names, the media attention, it all came at a cost.  The cost was the future.

    You knew that this time would come, it was just a matter of when.  The biggest gamble of all was when the front office didn’t make many changes from last season’s collapse to this year’s opening day.  Staying stagnant and just hoping the same team that collapsed the last month and a half of the 2014 season would get back to a form that some called a fluke was a gamble that didn’t pay off.

    Not making any changes was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  It was the straw that cost Ron Roenicke his job, will force Doug Melvin to eventually step down from his general manager position, and started the long rebuilding process.

    Fans will be seeing new faces come and go, hearing names they’ve never heard before, and will have to prepare to see a drastically changed Milwaukee Brewers team.

    The run was fun while it lasted, we’re just going to have to wait a while for the next one.

    Next: Lohse's Rotation Spot In Jeopardy

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