All fans of Wisconsin-based sports teams should be excited about what the Cheese State teams have, and will, accomplish in the very near future. University of Wisconsin football played in the Big Ten Championship this weekend, the Green Bay Packers just came off a crucial victory, and the Bucks have a complete freak in Giannis Antetokounmpo (try to say that five times fast). For us fans of baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers have a future that all other teams should seriously be jealous of. It seems like yesterday that we were enjoying a young Zack Greinke slinging the ball at a superstar level and watching Prince Fielder hit the ball in such a way that few have done before him. Now they own a man who lied to Aaron Rodgers’ face about using performance enhancing drugs, and one bright future ahead of them.
Milwaukee has consistently turn out stars from their picks. David Stearns is one lucky general manager. When he took the job in late September of 2015, he obtained a team that many baseball enthusiasts knew would be a great one in the very near future. It is a team that is holding a whole crop of young potential stars, headlined by a young Orlando Arcia, who I believe has all the tools to become a seriously good player. What young David needs to do with the team is trade Ryan Braun. Trading Braun makes so much sense for the Brewers that I’m genuinely baffled that they have not traded him yet. Trading him opens a natural spot for Lewis Brinson, their young exciting outfield prospects. Along with opening up a spot for Brinson, the Brewers could get a nice little package that will help them become a major contender down the road.
Trading Braun, who is now thirty-three years old, makes too much sense for the team that calls Milwaukee home, he wants to win at this point in his career. The young and exciting Brewers need to push forward with their franchise and move him. Limiting him teams that have legitimate championship aspirations limits the number of teams. The Giants could use another player after they failed to make the NLCS, ending their even-year magic (FINALLY!). But the spot that makes the most sense, at least in my eyes, is Hollywood: the Los Angeles Dodgers. It just so happens that the Dodgers have managed to build a farm system that allows for them to trade for a player like Braun, who is no superstar, but the Dodgers would have to let go of a few nice prospects. The glitz and glam of Dodger blue makes so much sense for Braun; they are team that is looking to win now. Clayton Kershaw is not getting any younger and they could use Braun yesterday. The Brewers could use any prospect that the Dodgers would be willing to give up. I’m going to assume that they are not to keen on trading Julio Urias. Why would they, he has superstar written all over him. However, with no player locked into first base for the Brewers, a deal involving Cody Bellinger and a lower level prospect would be a great get for Milwaukee.
The next step in building a team that will challenge for the NL Central is trying to improve from within, and the best way to do that is to allow the young, exciting prospects to earn playing time at Miller Park. Whether that means giving Josh Hader and Luis Ortiz in a bullpen role, allowing young bats like Lewis Brinson to begin to take reps against Major league pitchers, or giving a player that seems to have stalled out, such as Tyrone Taylor, a chance at playing in Milwaukee. Not playing the future in the bigs makes no sense for the Brewers; players need to take their lumps to see what they truly are. Playing young players allows the fan base to see what the future looks like, while allowing these players to earn more meaningful reps than any minor league game ever will, since the speed of the majors is so much faster than anything the minors can produce. Being loaded with prospects and having plenty of spots open, sorry Eric Thames, but you are pretty replaceable my friend. The rotation has no true ace, so even pitching Hader as an ace doesn’t seem that out-of-place. He could already be their best pitcher.
One of the most important things to do in this situation is to surround the young players with the right veteran players. The veteran players coming in know they aren’t winning in the next three years and know they are in a situation where maybe they are place holders or bench players.. The Cubs, had the perfect player to rally the young Cubbies in David Ross. The Brewers need their own version of Ross and that player is missing from the roster. This role needs to go to a player with no ego whatsoever and could walk into the clubhouse and instantly gain the respect of these young players. Someone with experience winning at the highest level. A player that seems like an intriguing option that can help these young players is the experienced Albert Pujols of the Angels. The reason I believe Pujols could become the Ross type veteran that the young Brewers will need is because he will install experience in every situation, as he has two World Series under his belt. He will help the young players get through tough situations that they will experience in their young careers. Pujols was one of the best pure hitters in recent history and he could help the exciting trio of Villar, Arcia, and Brinson. He would be the undisputed leader of a young team and if everything fell into place, I believe he could be lifting his third title, walking away into the sunset a champion and a Brewers icon at the same time, bringing the great city of Milwaukee a World Series parade.
Moving on from Ryan Braun will be tough, and unless you want to continue to watch him not win a World Series, the next step is to get rid of any veteran player with any sort of value. The team is in great hands with the likes of Jonathan Villar, Orlando Arcia, Brinson and their southpaw Hader. The future is very bright in Milwaukee and we should all be excited as baseball fans to watch this young and exciting team begin to take steps to compete against their rivals in the NL Central. Hopefully, one day we watch, as a team lead by a dynamic quartet, is able to have some seriously fascinating matchups with the Cubs and the Cardinals. Who knows, with Braun trading in his winter coat for the beautiful sunshine of the City of Angels, he will be able to extend his career and add some stats with a team that looks destined, if they do the trade, to have an interesting fall, as they could very well keep playing into October if everything plays out for them.