Because of the All Star week and my annual mid-season break, it’s been two weeks since I posted my two-part plan for how to rebuild the Milwaukee Brewers. Since then, and really since the first-pitch was thrown this season, not a whole lot has changed.
The Brewers dropped two of three series in their post All-Star game play. The majority of the games were close, with a couple of them ending in heartbreaking fashion in the ninth inning. They can be described as games filled with consistent displays of the true amount of talent on this ball club, coupled with blatant indications of why Brewers just aren’t a contending team. The past ten days have been oddly symbolic of the Brewers’ season as a whole: the stars kept performing at a high level, while the duds of this ball club came up short in critical situations. There were a lot of defensive miscues, a lot of runners in scoring position left on base, and a couple of head scratching sequences that led to more losses than wins for the Brewers.
For a team that is very publicly rebuilding, the next seven days are the closest we as Brewers fans will get to a World Series – at least as far as importance is concerned. By the end of next week, all of the rumors and unanswered questions will be put to rest. By the time the Sunday Cycle hits the Squeaky Curd’s website next Sunday evening, the Brewers will almost certainly be a different looking ball club, void of a number of talented baseball players that have kept them in so many close games this year. Their already top ranked farm system will likely get an influx of young aspiring major leaguers with varying levels of talent, and it will be up to the Brewer’s player development staff to mold these young players into the World Series Champions of the future. If Milwaukee’s recent draft is any indication of what they will attempt to do at the trade deadline, look for the Brewers to acquire highly ranked prospects that are close to their Major League debuts; we may even see some in a Brewers uniform before the end of this season.
And then, we will wait. We will wait for August and September to drag on while the Brewers try to play spoiler to playoff teams- the only role left for them to play. As they ceremoniously go through the motions of finishing out the 162 game season, they will lose even more games by larger margins. And while we’ll likely get a glimpse of some of the most anticipated prospects in the Brewer’s minor league system, we will be watching them cut their teeth at the major league level. Attendance will dip, Packers training camp will start, the leaves will start to change, Cubs fans will get even more vocally annoying (who knew all my Facebook friends who never talk about baseball were closet Cubs fans?!), and the book will close on the 2016 Milwaukee Brewers. Year one of what will be a three year process (at the minimum) will finally be in the rear view mirror. Year two will likely be even more brutal, but we’ll save that for another day.
So while the Brewers’ play on the field is less than inspiring, it’s worth keeping tabs on this team for just one more week. Basing my thoughts solely on a hunch, and nothing more than that, I would predict that David Stearns will make three to five separate trades before the July 31st deadline. If I had my way, Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy, Will Smith, Jeremy Jeffress, Chris Carter, and Junior Guerra would all get dealt over the next seven days. I can promise you that some of those players would require top-5 prospects in return, and the current market favors the Brewers.
It will be exciting to dig into the players that the Brewers get in return, and start to speculate on when we will start to see some of these talented young prospects pay dividends at the major league level. But as with everything in baseball, it’s going to take a ton of time. So before we watch the Brewers mathematically eliminate themselves from playoff contention, we might as well enjoy the little bit of excitement we can get from the deadline deals. It’s going to be a brutally slow process, but at least we’re further along than we were last year.