This century has been one of excitement, yet at the same time disappointment for the Milwaukee Brewers. 2008 was supposed to be just the first year of many incredible years to come, but in fact there has only been one postseason appearance since then. And with all the young talent that was on that roster, only one player still wears a Milwaukee uniform today.
Since 2011’s deep NLCS run the Brewers have been stuck in mediocrity, which is quite possibly the worst place to be in Baseball. Dating back to 2011, teams who finished at the bottom of the standings like the Royals, Cubs, and Astros have all become contenders. Meanwhile the Brewers have finished with records of 83, 74, and 82 wins. The Brewers have year after year tried to piece together a team with spare parts and it has cost them precious rebuild years, salary cap space, as well as draft picks.
With the news of Doug Melvin stepping down, it seems as if this decades Milwaukee Brewers have finally come to a close, and a rebuild is on the way. The Brewers have elite talent in the farm system right now and with what looks to be a top five pick next year the Brewers could be on the rebound very quickly.
One of the first decisions for the Crew should be what they want to do with players such as Braun and Lucroy. If they want to keep them, the rebuild needs to be quick. If they want to look more long-term, they could probably ship them out and get good value. Jonathan Lucroy could possibly net two elite prospects in a return, due to his high production at the catcher position and low cost salary. Ryan Braun at this point would probably not net a high return in a deal, but clearing his salary as well as moving on from the PED saga would serve the franchise well. It would also open up an outfield spot for the Brewers who have lots of elite outfield talent knocking on the door.
Next on the trade list for Milwaukee should be Scooter Gennett and Khris Davis. Both players have major flaws in their games – Gennetts ability to hit left handed pitchers and Khris Davis’ struggles in the field. Both are under control and could more than likely get very good talent, albeit raw minor league talent in return. With Orlando Arcia on the way as well as a few other notable middle infield prospects, the Brewers best interest would be to trade Gennett and make Segura transition to 2B. A move which would make the Brewers very solid defensively up the middle for the future. As far as Khris Davis goes, he has been an extremely humbling and hard working player to watch grow, but with four of the Brewers top five prospects currently being outfielders, trading him would free up room and give them even more depth in the minor league system.
The bright spot of this Milwaukee teams future is the starting rotation. As it currently stands you could potentially say four of the Brewers future five rotation members are already pitching for them. This would include Jimmy Nelson, Taylor Jungmann, Wily Peralta, and Zach Davies. Other prospects of note that could be seen next year or the year after include 2014 first round pick Kodi Medeiros, the Brewers first pick of the 2013 draft Devin Williams, and RHP Jorge Lopez who is currently pitching for the Brewers in AA. Because of this, Matt Garza is someone who should be looked to be moved this off-season no matter what it takes. The Brewers bullpen also has lots of young talent including Will Smith, Jeremy Jeffress, and Tyler Thornburg.
All in all, the Brewers have a lot of talent ready to step in and play a role. Next year is the time to move on from the past completely and get rid of all veterans and role players. They need to see what the prospects we have that are ready can do. They will likely not all pan out. That is not the point, the point is to see who does and build from there as the next wave of talent comes in. No longer should the Brewers be signing mediocre free agents such as Matt Garza and Kyle Lohse. Instead younger players should fill these voids until they figure out what they have. If they stick to that plan, by 2018 the Brewers could be looking at a completely fresh payroll, a stocked minor league system due to high draft picks, and a very young major league team. Something that could bring hope of a World Series, someday.