West Coast road trips suck. With most of the Brewer’s first pitches thrown after 9PM this past week, it was an absolute struggle to make it through the first half of most of the games. At least I didn’t miss a whole lot of winning…
Two points this week:
Welcome back, Matt Garza… now go away.
Last week, the Brewers optioned Wily Peralta to AAA Colorado Springs and welcomed back Matt Garza to the starting rotation. Garza bent often but never broke in his 2016 Brewer’s debut, allowing eight hits but only one run in four innings in a game the Brewers would ultimately lose. It wasn’t a great effort by any means, but Garza was able to limit the damage and keep his team in the game.
Garza took the mound again this afternoon vs. the Dodgers and looked even better, tossing six scoreless innings in just 70 pitches, handing the game to the Brewer’s bullpen with a one run lead. He had control of his pitches, allowing just five hits, and made a couple of nice defensive plays along the way.
It’s no secret that the relationship between Garza and the Brewers has been, umm, shaky… to say the least. He’s never been a great locker room guy, an intangible quality that becomes important for teams in rebuilding mode. Garza has two years left on his contract and stands to make $12.5 million this year and next. I think the Brewers would love nothing more than to see Garza pitch his way off this team before the trade deadline and move on. Oh, I’m sorry.. did I say the Brewers? I meant me.
It’s been a nice run for the Brewers, but it’s time to press play on the rebuild.
Look, nobody has enjoyed the success of this Brewers team more than I have. I fully and openly expected this team to lose more than 100 games. What we’ve been fortunate to witness is a scrappy team of newcomers that has been able to keep games close, deal with adversity, and actually win some ball games. When I think about where I was as a fan at this point last year, it’s night and day. This team is fun to watch, but I think the Brewers need to be realistic.
For a couple of weeks, the Brewers hung around the 3-5 games below .500 mark and had many local baseball fans mentioning the idea of a Wild Card run. To me, however, it’s just not realistic. the Brewers are 10-24 against teams with a winning record, and 7-18 against teams currently in a playoff spot. While they manage to beat up on the small number of teams that are below them in the standings, they consistently looked outmatched when they’re up against the best teams in the majors, and I think that’s important to note.
The Brewers set out on a multi-year rebuilding project last off-season and are at a very critical point in that process. They find themselves with multiple trade chips that will significantly lower the quality of the team currently on the field, but could drastically alter the team of the future. While it’s been fun to watch them win games and compete, they’re still a couple of pieces away from being a playoff team. It’s time to find new homes for their current All Stars, and start looking to their minor league development staff for the All Stars of the future. It’s time to press play on the next phase of the rebuild, instead of letting the limited amount of success we’ve seen this year cloud the vision of what a true playoff team should look like. It’s time to start dealing.