Takeaway #7: This playoff exit hurt more than others
The Brewers truly felt they had a championship caliber team in 2023, making this year's early playoff exit more painful than ones in recent years. The closeness of it also likely played an impact in that feeling, said Arnold, but they believed this group could win it.
At times, it certainly looked that way this year. Matt Arnold also added that they are not disappointed with the season, having won the NL Central by a wide margin. Arnold views the regular season success and the postseason as two separate things, meaning the disappointed in how the season ended doesn't make it a disappointing season.
It's understandable that's where Arnold is coming from, although when the regular season has consistently been good and the postseason runs have consistently been short, it does feel like the regular season success is diminished to most, but the Brewers front office doesn't feel that way.
Arnold also added that they will take an assessment of the entire organization to figure out ways they can get better and achieve their ultimate goal of winning the World Series. Arnold believes it's more than just one thing and one area they can get better. They've focused a lot on raising the floor of the roster in recent years and Arnold suggested they now need to focus on raising the ceiling of this roster as well.
Takeaway #8: They believe Jesse Winker's health caused his issues and that's why he played in the postseason
When asked about Jesse Winker, a player who was supposed to be a big factor in the lineup this year but struggled mightily, Matt Arnold said the organization believed his struggles were due to injuries. He wasn't healthy for most of the year, even when he was playing he wasn't 100%.
But towards the end of the year, when Winker was out for two months, they believed that Winker was fully healthy once again as the playoffs got going, and a fully healthy Winker should be, well, productive. That's why he was put on the postseason roster despite not playing in any big league games down the stretch after being on IL for two months.
Still, the playoffs are an odd time to just throw Winker back into the fire when he hasn't been healthy or productive all season believing that now all of a sudden he is healthy and will be productive. Also, when Winker tweaked his oblique in his first at-bat in the postseason, the Brewers still should've pulled him from the roster after that because it was clear he wasn't back to 100%.
The Brewers postseason exit stings for Arnold as much as it does for everyone else. They'll be looking to make some changes this offseason, but a lot is hinging on two things still, the health of Brandon Woodruff and the contract status of Craig Counsell. Those two big things are still up in the air as of Arnold's press conference.