Generally speaking, missing the playoffs is a bad thing. The Milwaukee Brewers have missed the playoffs for the first time since 2017. But could that actually be a good thing?
It was a disappointing season for the Brewers and there were a lot of mistakes made along the way that have led to this result. Mistakes can teach you more lessons than success sometimes. You learn what doesn’t work. That can be just as valuable as learning what does work. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know, until you know it.
That’s why I think the Brewers missing the playoffs is actually going to be a good thing.
The Brewers missing the 2022 MLB postseason should serve as a wake up call for management that forces them to realize the gravity of the mistakes they made.
It was a horrible Trade Deadline from David Stearns, Matt Arnold, and the rest of the Brewers front office this year. They traded a franchise cornerstone, they immediately released one of the players they got in return in that trade, made another move for an injured pitcher that never pitched for them, and destroyed their clubhouse chemistry and trust in the front office.
That was all within a span of about 48 hours.
Those decisions were the primary reasons behind the Brewers going from a 3 game division lead to missing the playoffs altogether. There were other reasons, yes, but those were the primary ones.
If the Brewers made the 2022 postseason, despite all of those clear missteps and poor decisions, the Brewers upper management could declare victory. They could take solace in the fact that the moves they made allowed them to reach the postseason for the 5th straight year, getting them another “bite at the apple”, and harden their stance that they made the right moves.
As poor as the decisions were at the Deadline, the Brewers front office is not a bunch of fools. They can see plain as day that the moves they made did not work out as intended or hoped, and missing the playoffs is as solid a reminder as any. That should cause them to reflect and make the necessary changes moving forward.
In the past, David Stearns acknowledged when his moves did not work out. He did this after the failed Jonathan Schoop trade and his subsequent non-tender. He did it again after 2020 when they tried a new roster building strategy and it didn’t work. He must do so again in 2022 after the Brewers leave him with no choice but to admit defeat as the team missed out on the postseason.
If the Brewers made it, Stearns could declare that even though fans were upset and things looked bad, that this was still a team that made the playoffs, that saw a lot of success, and gave themselves a chance in the postseason. They might never see that missteps they made had they snuck into the third and final Wild Card spot.
Now, David Stearns will have to face the media in a few days for his end of season press conference. He’s going to be asked repeatedly about the Deadline and how that impacted the team. There will be no defense for his Deadline strategy. It did not work out. There is no logical gymnastics he could try to spin that could justify that the moves made helped improve this roster, at least none that anyone would buy.
In their effort to get as many bites at the apple as they could, they inadvertently cost themselves an actual bite at the apple. It’s hard to get the maximum amount of bites if you don’t take the one right in front of you.
Missing the 2022 playoffs needs to serve as a wake up call to the Brewers organization. They cannot continue to neglect clubhouse chemistry. They cannot trade All Stars away mid-season and expect things to go well afterwards. They must focus on today as much as they focus on tomorrow. We know they have to look out for the long-term future of the club, that’s their job. We get it. But it came at the expense of today’s club, and that’s not something a winning organization does.
The players in the clubhouse don’t care about the bite at the apple in 2025. They don’t care about the roster three years from now and if that team competes. Most of them won’t be here then anyways. The players want to win now. The fans want to win now. Management didn’t want to win now. They didn’t make the investment in the 2022 team to help them win now.
If you get so lost in the future and worrying about three years down the road, you’ll completely forget about what’s happening right now in front of you. You’ll get lost, and lose everyone else along the way.
Hopefully the sting of missing the postseason will help the Brewers learn that and remember that.
If the Brewers can learn from the mistakes they made this year, they can adjust their future strategy, mend their clubhouse, and not repeat these mistakes again going forward. That would put them well on the path to returning to the playoffs in 2023 and beyond. If they made the playoffs, they might never see they made mistakes to learn from, or never see a need to adjust their future strategy, or not focus on mending their relationship with their players, and might even make these same mistakes again.
The long offseason is set to begin. Let’s hope the Brewers have learned a lot these last two months.