Ryan Braun won't be enough for the Brewers to contend. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Realistic Expectations For The Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers are not going to wear the N.L. Central crown in 2013 and they won’t grab a Wild Card spot either. As a die-hard Brewers fan, I feel like a pathetic traitor for writing this. But I view myself as an unbiased fan and I call it like I see it. And my vision looks like something out of an Adam Sandler film; a bitter disappointment.

Recently, Reviewing the Brew’s very own Colin Bennett released his N.L. Central predictions. You can find them here. He has the Brewers finishing third, behind the annoyingly silly chirping St. Louis Cardinals and the choke artists of last year’s postseason, the Cincinnati Reds. I agree with Mr. Bennett but not without reservations. Milwaukee will have to fight tooth and nail to avoid sitting alongside the miserable Chicago Cubs in the cellar…and nobody wants that.

You may ask why I’m being such a Debbie Downer but the truth is, I’m not. The Brewers made three noteworthy moves in the offseason by acquiring Burke Badenhop and signing Tom Gorzelanny and Michael Gonzalez. That’s it. Do you really think those acquistions are enough to skyrocket the Crew into first place? Not a chance. Hell, the Cubs had a better offseason than the Brewers.

The improved bullpen adresses the team’s most blantant problem from a year ago, but it’s not fixed; there’s a difference between the two. Great bullpens have an absolute stud that goes out, takes over a game, and completely shuts the opposing team down. I ask you, who’s that stud reliever for Milwaukee? It was John Axford in 2011 but everyone knows the story of 2012. The Reds had Aroldis Chapman (who’s now a starter) and the Cardinals had a plethora of ridiculously good relievers. The Brewers have none.

Wasn’t one of Doug Melvin’s top priorities this winter to sign a veteran starting pitcher? What happened to that train of thought? What happened was that the Brewers were unwilling to ink a free agent to a deal longer than two years. When that became apparent, free agents turned a cold shoulder and pursued teams who could dim the dollar signs in their eyes. Frankly, the Brewers didn’t have the money and, as a result, the starting rotation is going to suffer. And by suffer I don’t mean pitch a couple of bad games here and there. I’m talking about total disaster.

Yovani Gallardo may be the Brewers ace, but he’s not one of the top pitchers in baseball. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Yovani Gallardo is not a true bonafide ace. Granted, he is the Brewers top dog but he is nowhere near elite. In the five seasons in which he has made at least 17 starts, Gallardo has never posted an ERA under 3.50. That’s impressive for a No. 2 or 3 starter, but not for a so-called “ace”.

While Marco Estrada and Wily Peralta will occasionally show flashes of brilliance, neither of them will have memorable seasons. Estrada gives up home runs like Santa gives out presents; there are just so many. Peralta, just named the Brewers top prospect, is still a year away from figuring out the big leagues. I know he garnered attention while posting a 2.88 era in six appearances (five starts) last season but I’m calling that beginner’s luck. However, watch out for him in 2014.

Milwaukee’s offense won’t be an issue. Unless Aramis Ramirez starts showing signs of old age or Mat Gamel is a horrific replacement of Corey Hart, the bats will be fine. Ryan Braun can’t go down with a season-ending injury, though. That would destroy any shred of hope.

With all my negative talk and gloomy expectations, I have probably made some of you think I despise the Brewers. But I promise that I love them and would give both my kidneys to see them reach the postseason this year. Sadly, that’s not what the future has in store for Ron’s Wrecking Crew but I shall have my fingers crossed nonetheless.

 

What are your predictions for the upcoming season? Do you believe the Brewers can compete? Leave comments and questions below! Follow Justin and @ReviewngTheBrew on Twitter. Be sure to like us on Facebook, too.

Tags: Brewers Predictions John Axford Milwaukee Brewers Wily Peralta Yovani Gallardo

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