Milwaukee Brewers: Building A Winner Takes Time, Let’s Enjoy The Ride
The mixed 2007-2011 seasons
It took 15 seasons, but the Brewers had their first winning season since 1992 when rookie Ryan Braun and the Brewers finished 2nd in the National League Central. General Manager Doug Melvin had put together a young, exciting team that was ready to compete. The 2008 version of the Brewers didn’t wait long as they won 90 games and captured the National league Wild Card and first trip to the postseason in 26 seasons.
He also had a young and exciting farm system with Jeffress, Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Brett Lawrie. They were poised for long term success. However, two 3rd place finishes in 2009 and 2010 lead to younger players coming up to the majors. Cain and Jeffress each found their way to the roster in 2010, gaining valuable playing time.
In the 2010 draft, the team signed two righty pitchers in consecutive rounds with Jimmy Nelson and Tyler Thornburg. In October 2010, they also signed 16-year-old Venezuelan shortstop Orlando Arcia.
When you are a team that has a young nucleus, that is built for the playoffs, teams take chances and make big trades. On Dec. 19, 2010, the Brewers snagged ace pitcher Zack Greinke and infielder Yuniesky Betancourt from the Kansas City Royals for Cain, Jeffress, Escobar and pitcher Jake Odorizzi. The move paid off as the Brewers set a franchise record for wins with 96 and would make it to the 2011 National League Championship Series.
The beginning of the rebuild
The Brewers had reason to be optimistic going into 2012, since they returned most of the NL Central Championship Team minus one big piece, Prince Fielder. The Brewers would finish 83-79, missing the playoffs. Greinke was traded to the Los Angeles Angels for three players including infielder Jean Segura. The team made no major signings except Kyle Lohse in the off-season and limped through 2013 with a 74-88, 4th place finish.
At the start of the 2014 season the Brewers brought back Jeffress, who was looking for a fresh start. He had a great run with the Crew, pitching in 29 games, with a 1.88 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. That June, the team drafted a big righty out of Mississippi State University, Brandon Woodruff in the 11th Round.
After an epic collapse in August and September leading to a 82-80 season in 2014, the team was set for a long off-season. On Nov. 1st, 2014, they traded pitcher Marco Estrada for power-hitting first baseman Adam Lind.
In January they traded a struggling ace pitcher Yovani Gallardo to the Rangers for Marcos Diplan, Corey Knebel and Luis Sardinas. The team looked for former All-Stars to fill gaps, but after starting the season 17-33, the team knew it was time to rebuild and trade away any value they had.