Now that the 2017 All-Star game has officially been played we can now say that the Milwaukee Brewers are in first place at the halfway point. With such a young team blowing our expectations out of the water, where do they go from here?
If the Milwaukee Brewers do make the playoffs in 2017, it will be one heck of a story that we can look back on years from now. A team of kids that never had the opportunity to play every day shocked the world, beat the defending World Series Championship Cubs and put a stop to a possible dynasty.
Thanks to the genius moves of GM David Stearns, Matt Arnold and the front office as a whole, this rebuild, or “retool” looks like it could finally be in the final stages. There are rumors that have the Milwaukee Brewers interested in this year’s available top talent.
Aside from making outside additions through trades, what will happen to this team in a few years if they continue to play the way they have been?
How will we be able to keep together the core of our young and talented players in order to make future deep playoff runs?
We now see impending stardom in a few of our key players. Orlando Arcia, Domingo Santana, Travis Shaw, Corey Knebel and Jesus Aguilar are just a few examples. They have made key contributions to this team’s current success. We all know, though, with success of players will come the time when we have to pay up and give them what they deserve. Or risk watching them go somewhere else.
The Brewers are one of the smallest market ball clubs in the MLB. We all have known this for quite some time. As Brewers fans, we have seen some pretty significant talent get traded away, or just signed by big market teams. CC Sabathia and Prince Fielder are two good examples of that. They had too high of asking prices, hence their transition to another team.
How will Milwaukee be able to avoid this kind of situation from happening with its current crop of talent? Sadly there is no way that we can guarantee that this team will be together for the long haul. Especially if everyone reaches their full potential and is able to command what everyone believes they could be worth.
That is where the benefit of having a deep farm system comes in handy, but not all prospects will work and out and can replace current players at the Major League level.
Orlando Arcia is one player that needs to be handled with care. He is currently batting .283/.323/.418 with eight home runs and 30 RBIs. And he is only 22 years old. His glove is what really makes him valuable, though. This season he has a fielding percentage of .972 and has committed 12 errors.
Yes, 12 errors. But some of them could be attributed to the official scorer.
When I think of what Arcia is currently doing at 22 years old, a noteworthy comparison to him is Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles.
The early Manny Machado, of course. Without the power numbers, but the average. In Machado’s age-22 season in 2013, he only played in 82 games. Arcia has played in 86 this season. Machado batted .278/.324/.431 with12 home runs and drove in 32 RBIs to that point.
Machado will reach free agency in 2019. He is currently looking for a record payday. He has won two Gold Glove awards and is a three time All-Star. Arcia could easily achieve these accolades, if he is able to stay consistent.
If Arcia and our young talent do become perennial all stars how do the Brewers avoid losing them to the big market teams?
How To Stay Successful
The way the Brewers can avoid running into a situation like this is they take the Pirates approach. Once a player has proved enough they lock them up for at least 5 years. They have done this with Andrew McCutchen and Francisco Cervelli. We saw it recently with Gregory Polanco. He was given a 5-year 35 million dollar deal in 2016.
Our version of Polanco is Domingo Santana. He is on his way to becoming a far more productive player that Polanco. So far in 2017, Santana is batting .291/.384/.497 with 15 home runs and 50 RBIs. As opposed to Polanco, who is batting .258/.317/.404 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs.
Since the Milwaukee Brewers have such a deep farm system, there isn’t any pressure to give their guys giant contracts. But there are players on this team that will command the big money and it is the front office’s job to figure out who is worthy of such deals.
We could see the Milwaukee Brewers do this With Orlando Arica and Domingo Santana in the near future. Along with all the other cornerstone pieces that need to remain in the organization long term.