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Know your enemy: Milwaukee Brewers

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Our neighbors to the north have made major changes over the winter.

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

KEY ADDITIONS: Eric Lauer, Luis Urias, Omar Narvaez, Avisail Garcia, Justin Smoak, Josh Lindblom, Brett Anderson, Eric Sogard, Jedd Gyorko, David Phelps, Ryon Healy, Justin Grimm, Ronny Rodriguez, Keon Broxton, Logan Morrison, Andres Blanco, Shelby Miller

KEY SUBTRACTIONS: Chase Anderson, Zach Davies, Trent Grisham, Mike Moustakas, Gio Gonzalez, Matt Albers, Jordan Lyles, Jay Jackson, Yasmani Grandal, Tyler Austin, Eric Thames, Junior Guerra, Jimmy Nelson, Tyler Saladino, Travis Shaw

In yesterday’s Know Your Enemy article about the Reds, I put the key additions and subtractions at the bottom.

Today, I am leading this article about the Brewers with them because... well, just look at how many there are! These are not only not your father’s Brewers, they’re barely even last year’s Brewers.

There are 17 additions and 15 subtractions above, and many of those who have departed were significant contributors to the 2019 Brewers, who were the second wild card and lost the wild-card game to the eventual champion Nationals because of a single error made by Trent Grisham in the eighth inning of a game they were otherwise dominating.

So are all these changes an overreaction to one play?

The Brewers will have three new starters in their rotation. They swapped Andersons, trading Chase and acquiring Brett, and Zach Davies and Gio Gonzalez are also gone. In place of the latter two are Eric Lauer, who had some success in San Diego, and Josh Lindblom, who is returning to MLB after three dominating years in South Korea’s KBO major league. I had hoped the Cubs might take a chance on Lindblom; since he landed in Milwaukee, we’ll probably see quite a bit of him.

Mike Moustakas and Yasmani Grandal depart, replaced by Keston Hiura (who had some playing time in 2019) and Omar Narvaez. They’ve signed a bunch of veteran infielders (Sogard, Morrison, Smoak, Gyorko). Some will work out, others might be released after spring training.

Their depth chart says Ryan Braun will take over at first base with the signing of former White Sox and Rays outfielder Avisail Garcia, who will play left field. Braun has played 18 career games at first, all in 2018.

A couple of former Cubs relievers will be in Brewers camp, David Phelps and Justin Grimm. Phelps will almost certainly be in their Opening Day bullpen, as he signed a MLB contract. Grimm, who spent 2019 in the Reds and Dodgers minor leagues, is on a minor-league deal.

With all these changes, the Brewers are a big ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ for 2020. They do have spiffy new uniforms, though, so there’s that.

The Cubs will open the season against the Brewers in Milwaukee and face them 19 times — the last 16 between the middle of May and the middle of August.

May 11-12-13, June 29-30-July 1-2, July 31-August 1-2 at Wrigley Field
March 26, 28-29, May 22-23-24, August 7-8-9 at Milwaukee