The Milwaukee Brewers led the National League Central for quite a while before finally collapsing out of the postseason race late in 2014. They went into the offseason with talent on the roster but a number of question marks (sounds familiar). While they didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make many major moves, they did some things of interest.
- Corey Knebel
- Adam Lind
- Neal Cotts
- Yovani Gallardo
- Mark Reynolds
- Tom Gorzelanny
- Ricky Weeks
- Lyle Overbay
The biggest move was the trade of Yovani Gallardo (still only 29???) to the Texas Rangers for the promising crew of right-handers Corey Knebel and Marcos Diplen and infielder Luis Sardinas. Knebel is a reliever that throws in the mid 90s. Some scouts see Sardinas as a defensive first shortstop that could start for a team. Others see him as a utility player. The Brewers saved some money but didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t upgrade the roster that much in the short term.
The offense has a number of quality pieces returning with the trio of Jonathan Lucroy, Ryan Braun, and Carlos Gomez leading the way. But they also have a number of holes that cost them dearly in the postseason race last season. Much like the Reds, the Brewers had the choice of upgrading at weaker positions or counting on younger players to improve and veterans to live up to their baseball cards.
Also like the Reds, the Brewers chose the latter. They did replace the free swinging Mark Reynolds with Adam Lind, which may be a slight upgrade. Zips currently projects Lind to hit .291/.356/.468 this season, which by current standards, is excellent.
Ricky Weeks had become a part-time player but a pretty good one. His departure weakens the Milwaukee bench leaving the Brewers to count on Sardinas being ready to contribute. The Brewers do have Gerardo Parra as a part-time player. He contributed 4.5 WAR two seasons ago for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Brewers hope youngsters Jean Segura, Khris Davis, and Scooter Gennett can deliver on their considerable promise. Segura made the All-Star team as a rookie in 2013 but struggled mightily in 2014. Davis has enormous power potential but doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get on base very much. Unless he changes his approach, Gennett will try to become the rare player who walks very little and doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hit for much power to contribute consistently on offense.
The Brewers did very little to upgrade their rotation. You could argue they are worse off without Gallardo, who has pitched for the Brewers since the 1930s (rough estimate). They did resign closer Francisco Rodriguez to a two-year dealÃ‚Â and have Jonathan Broxton from last AugustÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s deal with the Reds. Ã‚Â The addition of Knebel and Neal Cotts may help their bullpen, but the Brewers havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t overhauled their pitching staff.
As you can see, the Brewers didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do much this offseason. They believe they are closer to the team that surprised everyone for three quarters of the season last year. The Brewers and Reds had similar offseason strategies: hope their core players stay healthy and produce in 2015. That strategy has potential for success—or epic failure.