Reason #2: This Brewers core is coming to an end soon
The Brewers have been good for a number of years now. Since David Stearns and Matt Arnold arrived at the end of the 2015 season, the Brewers have been consistent competitors. They just fell short in 2017, and have made the playoffs now in five of six seasons since. Yet, they've still fallen short.
The 2018 team came closest, getting to Game 7 of the NLCS. They probably should've won that series, but ultimately didn't. After that, it's been a series of first round exits. The 2019 team lost in the Wild Card game, the 2020 Crew got swept in the first round, and the 2021 Brewers lost in four to Atlanta in the NLDS. Yes, they've made the playoffs, which is a big step up from where this franchise was previously. But now, after so many first round exits, the pressure is on to advance in the postseason.
All of that success over the past few years has come with largely the same core. Christian Yelich leading the position players and a pitching staff led by Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta. The pitchers were just rookies in 2018 but now they're nearing the end of their team control, specifically Burnes and Woodruff, and their salaries are rising quite high.
Last year's trade of Josh Hader signified that this core may not make it all the way to free agency with the Brewers. Hader was a large part of those teams as well. Burnes and Woodruff are free agents after the 2024 season, as is shortstop Willy Adames. There's a decent chance one of that trio gets traded this winter, World Series or not. The Brewers weren't willing to pay Hader the money he was getting and they may feel the same about this trio. Can they afford to keep all three and build a competitive roster around them?
While a trade of these core pieces may benefit the Brewers in the long run, it won't help their immediate World Series chances. See the Hader trade last year for example. That trade essentially sunk the 2022 team and kept them from the playoffs. In the long run, that trade has essentially netted William Contreras, which does help Milwaukee's World Series aspirations, but it cost them that first year.
The Brewers are as well positioned for a World Series as they will ever be with this group. They're supplemented with veterans but there are a bunch of rookies as well and there's only going to be more of those rookies in 2024 as Tyler Black, Jackson Chourio, and other prospects push their way to Milwaukee next year. As we've seen, rookie seasons aren't always sunshine and rainbows, there can be some down periods.
This may be the last year with Burnes, Woodruff, and Adames all on the same team. By 2025, all three of them could be gone. The Brewers are a better team with these three guys on it and replacing them will be challenging. Making it to the World Series without them will be even more so.