Category: Milwaukee Brewers

Thanksgiving: Wisconsin Sports Edition

The sports world can be hectic with non stop news and hot takes from talking heads. Sometimes we forget what we like about sports in the first place. In the spirit of Thanksgiving let’s look at some things Wisconsin sports fans can be grateful for.

hall of fame quarterbacks

An obvious place to start and one we should always be grateful for. Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers have given the Packers hall of fame quarterback play for 25 seasons. If you found yourself taking a player like Rodgers for granted then watching Brett Hundley should change that. The Packers have been in the playoffs for the vast majority of those 25 seasons and have two championships. Look at how other teams have struggled to replace hall of fame QB’s. The 49ers experienced similar good fortune with Joe Montana and Steve Young but that’s about it. Once Rodgers returns to the field be sure to enjoy it.

Giannis and the new bucks

Between the time Ray Allen was traded and Giannis Antetokuonmpo was drafted the Bucks were the definition of mediocrity. Never a threat to advance in the playoffs but never truly bottoming out. The Bucks were not even an NBA laughingstock, they were simply forgotten. The franchise became so bland that even much of Wisconsin stopped paying attention.

Nobody was really expecting much from a 15th overall pick with an impossible to pronounce name, but slowly the Bucks fortunes have turned. The Bucks selected star Forward Jabari Parker in the 2014 draft. Herb Kohl sold the team to new ownership who quickly rebranded and began securing a new arena. NBA hall of famer Jason Kidd came to town as coach and in 2015 the Bucks landed Greg Monroe in free agency. The latest sign that the Bucks are no longer NBA outcasts came earlier this fall when Eric Bledsoe named Milwaukee as a place he would like to play.

Antetokuonmpo has become an All-Star, potential MVP type player and the Bucks are an exciting club with a bright future. The on court product may still be rough at times but no one can deny that the Bucks are back on the NBA landscape. A welcome change from the apathy of the 2000’s.

David Stearns

Stearns has been with the Brewers for a short time but has already experienced success. It became obvious in 2015 that the Brewers had peaked with that group of players and a rebuild was necessary. Stearns immediately began restocking the farm system which was regarded as one of the worst in baseball at that time. Fast forward to 2017 and the Brewers are regarded as a top 10 farm across all publications.

Stearns crowning moment thus far was sending Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress to Texas for Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, and Ryan Cordell. Neither Lucroy or Jeffress are with the Rangers anymore, Brinson and Ortiz are nearly ready for the majors and Cordell was used to acquire reliever Anthony Swarzak last season. Oh and as for rebuilding, the Brewers won 86 games in 2017 and now face an important offseason which Stearns will oversee.

PAUL CHRYST

Paul Chryst is from Madison, WI. He went to school in Wisconsin, coached in Wisconsin and even just sounds like Wisconsin. Chryst is about as Wisconsin as it gets and under him the Badgers are in great shape as a program. Hopefully Chryst remains in Madison for a long time.

Wisconsin sports overview

Bad things are always going to happen in sports whether it be an injury to a key player or a tough loss. However we as Wisconsin sports fans do have a lot to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. The Packers with Rodgers are always in the hunt. The Bucks are as exciting as they have been since 2001. The Brewers rebuild is roaring along and the Wisconsin Badgers have a shot at the College Football Playoffs.  Here’s to our teams, may they continue to give us fans reasons to cheer.

 

 

A Fork In The Road: Should the Milwaukee Brewers Buy at the Trade Deadline?

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Is the brewers rebuild coming to an end? or should david stearns stay the course?

The Milwaukee Brewers trade deadline activity might be heating up, especially after they have defied the odds all season and have a 5.5 game lead in the division. Even the most optimistic fans did not see the division as winnable after expectations were low to start the season. Many others, myself included, figured there were too many unknowns with this club for it to come together this early. Yet here we are at the All-Star break and the Brewers are 50-41 and leading a surprisingly mediocre NL Central.

Many fans are thinking playoffs and are right to think so. The Brewers offense has shown an incredible amount of power despite Ryan Braun appearing in less than half of the 91 games played. Pitching has held up thanks to big first half performances by Jimmy Nelson, Chase Anderson, and Corey Knebel.

The trade deadline is merely weeks away and some big names are available. Both the Oakland A’s Sonny Gray and Chicago White Sox Jose Quintana had been named as potential targets of the Brewers. Quintana is now off the board after the Chicago Cubs traded their top two prospects plus others for his services. Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers is also rumored to be on the trade block. The Brewers may be tempted to make a splash with a rare opportunity to make the playoffs looming. Should they though? We’ll take a look at the arguments for and against buying at the deadline.

Milwaukee Brewers trade deadline and buying in

The Brewers have a 5.5 game lead in the division with 71 games to play. If they hold a similar lead by the end of July, the division will be theirs for the taking. One big reason to buy at the deadline is that playoff appearances are unfortunately rare in Milwaukee. Aside from 2008 and 2011, one must go back to the 1982 squad to find a playoff team. The Brewers have one of the highest rated farms in baseball, but there is no guarantee that the prospects will pan out as expected. Why wait around for something that may not happen?

General Manger David Stearns does not care about history though, his focus is on the future. Sonny Gray could be a smart pickup as he is under 30 and has two seasons of affordable team control remaining. This would not be a half season rental like C.C. Sabathia back in 2008. Gray would immediately be, at worst, the number 2 starter in the rotation.

The Brewers farm system is loaded with talent with a surplus in the outfield. Stearns could flip a couple prospects and not damage the overall health of the franchise. While they would still be underdogs in the NLDS, a playoff rotation of Gray, Nelson, and Anderson could at least keep the Crew competitive. If Stearns feels like the roster is built to compete within the next several seasons then adding a starting pitcher could be the final piece needed.

The Case For Standing Pat

David Stearns has repeatedly said that his goal is to build a long term winner in Milwaukee. Selling off prospects for a pitcher now could help this year, but could also hurt the Brewers down the road. The Brewers have done a remarkable job over the last two years flipping veterans for prospects. The team could very well sell off some prospects, getting burned in the process when a player they acquire does not live up to expectations.

In fact the Brewers are already benefiting from the trades they’ve made as Travis Shaw, Domingo Santana, and Corey Knebel are big contributors now. The sheer amount of talent in the Brewers farm could have them set up to be a playoff caliber squad for a decade. Given Milwaukee’s rather non-competitive history I think most fans would welcome a sustained period of success.

In the end it’s about trying to bring a championship to Milwaukee and two seasons of Gray is unlikely to push the Brewers over the likes of the Dodgers, Astros, or Nationals. The Brewers have shown that they will go all in to acquire a front line starter; Sabathia in 2008 and Zack Greinke in 2011. Stearns may not feel that 2017 is the time for the big push, especially if either the Cubs or Cardinals close the divisional gap by the deadline.

My Opinion

The idea of acquiring Gray is tantalizing for sure. Winning the division title over the heavily favored Cubs would be sweet considering the meager expectations heading into the season. However I would not expect the Brewers to pull the trigger on a large scale deal this season. They might make another low risk trade similar to the one made for reliever Tyler Webb, but not much else.

The reality is that the Cubs gave up two of their top prospects to get Quintana. The A’s will want a similar deal for Gray which might require the Brewers to trade two of Lewis Brinson, Josh Hader, or Isan Diaz. Given the potential of those players I expect Stearns will pull out of any trade talks. There will come a time when the Brewers add a top line starter for a World Series push but it is unlikely to be this season.