clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Know Your Enemy: Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers appear to be "tanking." Or, as it's now known, "long-range planning."

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Brewers went into September 2014 at 73-63, tied for first place in the N.L. Central.

Since then they've gone a combined 77-111 (9-17 in September 2014 and 68-94 last year). As such, management in Milwaukee has decided to start selling off parts and re-tooling.

This isn't a bad idea in a division dominated by the Cubs, Pirates and Cardinals. As is the question for all such teams: will it work?

For now, the Brewers will put a team on the field in 2016 that doesn't much resemble Milwaukee teams of the recent past. Only Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy and Scooter Gennett will return at positions they manned last year. Aaron Hill, who once was a pretty good power hitter but was bad last year, was acquired in the deal that sent Jean Segura (and others) to the Diamondbacks and will start at third base, a position he hasn't played much.

Chris Carter, signed as a free agent, plays first base. As of this writing, the Brewers' depth chart shows Jonathan Villar as the starting shortstop. Villar was acquired from the Astros for no one you've ever heard of.

And it seems likely Lucroy will be traded by the midseason deadline. What, then, of pitching?

The Brewers did bring a top pitching prospect to the rotation late last year, and Taylor Jungmann did pretty well (3.77 ERA, 1.282 WHIP, 1.5 bWAR in 21 starts). Wily Peralta is solid, Jimmy Nelson returns after a scary injury late last year, and Matt Garza will do some Matt Garza'ing after being sent home in September because he refused to pitch out of the bullpen. (The Brewers are surely wishing they didn't have to pay Garza for this year and next.)

Milwaukee's closer job is up for grabs after the departure of K-Rod. Corey Knebel, who's primarily a ground-ball pitcher, had a decent year in a setup role in 2015 and could get a look, but it would seem former top prospect Jeremy Jeffress (the Brewers' first-round pick in 2006) could have the inside track.

All in all, the Brewers appear to be just killing time while they re-tool. They could lose 90-plus again this year.

The Cubs and Brewers will play 19 times this year, beginning with a three-game series at Wrigley Field April 26-27-28.