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Would the Brewers be better off as sellers for the long-term competitiveness of the franchise?


I think the majority of posters appreciate the multiple "bites-of-the-apple" approach of ownership and the front office. I happen to believe it is the best long-term strategy to try and win a World Series. With that said, I do wonder if taking one-step back for a season would help the team continue to take bites of the apple in future years.

Do you think the Brewers would be significantly improved in say, 2025 or 2026 if the Brewers would do a "hard" rebuild which would probably lead to an uncompetitive season, or do you think a "soft" rebuild, trying to remain competitive, would sufficiently improve the competitiveness of '25 and '26 rosters?

We all know the scenarios with Woody and Burnes, but would you also want to move guys like Tellez/Urias/Devin? Would you want them to cut payroll and bottom out in order to get a higher draft pick?

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This current group isn't a championship contender so I would certainly trade Burnes and Woodruff as well if he is healthy since its obvious we aren't signing either long term.

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7 minutes ago, Playing Catch said:

I think the majority of posters appreciate the multiple "bites-of-the-apple" approach of ownership and the front office. I happen to believe it is the best long-term strategy to try and win a World Series. With that said, I do wonder if taking one-step back for a season would help the team continue to take bites of the apple in future years.

Do you think the Brewers would be significantly improved in say, 2025 or 2026 if the Brewers would do a "hard" rebuild which would probably lead to an uncompetitive season, or do you think a "soft" rebuild, trying to remain competitive, would sufficiently improve the competitiveness of '25 and '26 rosters?

We all know the scenarios with Woody and Burnes, but would you also want to move guys like Tellez/Urias/Devin? Would you want them to cut payroll and bottom out in order to get a higher draft pick?

10 times out of 10 I would say it would make more sense to do a brief retool than to trade away some higher level prospects in an attempt to help this years team. 

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Woodruff is injured and will likely only have around a month to show that he is healthy before the deadline. Unless he comes back from injury guns blazing, I can't imagine too many teams willing to pony up what Brewers fans would consider fair value in return.

Burnes (63 ERA- | 58 FIP- from 2020-22 vs 80 ERA- | 94 FIP- so far this year) and Adames (120 wRC+ from 2021-22 vs 87 wRC+ so far this year) are underperforming their recent norms, so they likely would not return a massive haul if they keep playing like they have so far this year.

Best bet is probably to hope they rebound/get healthy over the course of the season, put up some impressive playoff performances and look to deal in the offseason when they've hopefully recovered some value.

Pretty crazy that the three most valuable assets on the team have all underperformed or been hurt to this point and we are still in first place though. 

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6 minutes ago, brewers888 said:

This current group isn't a championship contender so I would certainly trade Burnes and Woodruff as well if he is healthy since its obvious we aren't signing either long term.

On May 22nd last year the Phillies were 19-22. They went to the World Series.

On May 22nd of 2021 the Braves were 22-24. They went to the World Series.

On May 22nd of 2019 the Nationals were 19-30. They went to the World Series.

It might be a little early to start making definitive statements about who is or isn't a championship contender.

 

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4 minutes ago, sveumrules said:

On May 22nd last year the Phillies were 19-22. They went to the World Series.

On May 22nd of 2021 the Braves were 22-24. They went to the World Series.

On May 22nd of 2019 the Nationals were 19-30. They went to the World Series.

It might be a little early to start making definitive statements about who is or isn't a championship contender.

 

Every one of those teams had far more talented rosters than this one.

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2 minutes ago, brewers888 said:

Every one of those teams had far better rosters than this one.

Did they though?

FanGraphs currently has the Brewers roster projected for 85 wins with 62.9% playoff odds.

On May 22nd last year they had the Phillies roster projected for 84 wins with 37.3% playoff odds.

On May 22nd of 2021 they had the Braves roster projected for 83 wins with 35.5% playoff odds.

On May 22nd of 2019 they had the Nationals roster projected for 82 wins with 27.7% playoff odds.

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16 hours ago, sveumrules said:

Did they though?

FanGraphs currently has the Brewers roster projected for 85 wins with 62.9% playoff odds.

On May 22nd last year they had the Phillies roster projected for 84 wins with 37.3% playoff odds.

On May 22nd of 2021 they had the Braves roster projected for 83 wins with 35.5% playoff odds.

On May 22nd of 2019 they had the Nationals roster projected for 82 wins with 27.7% playoff odds.

You can think the Brewers have similar talent to those teams but I strongly disagree and I would be shocked if this team wins 85 games even in this division. 

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4 minutes ago, brewers888 said:

You can think the Brewers have similar talent to those teams but I strongly disagree and I would be shocked if this team wins 85 games even in this division. 

Is there an issue with those teams being judged in hindsight as world series contenders/winners whereas at this time of the season, they were viewed as listless and awful?

I think a lot of baseball is getting hot, and one recent issue is the lack of competent pitching sadly. Yelich's AB's were really good last night, a lot of loud contact, but there are holes in the line-up with Turang and Wiemer/Taylor that just kill momentum, as well as the Adames funk and Winker's lack of, well, anything fun to watch. But I'd disagree there isn't teh ability for the rookies to find their feet, for Woodruff and Burnes to be lights out from July onwards, with Miley and a return to form for Lauer, plus potential arrivals of Hiura/Frelick. There's potential there to be a terrifying team, it just hasn't clicked at all in the last month or so

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4 minutes ago, Jake McKibbin said:

Is there an issue with those teams being judged in hindsight as world series contenders/winners whereas at this time of the season, they were viewed as listless and awful?

I think a lot of baseball is getting hot, and one recent issue is the lack of competent pitching sadly. Yelich's AB's were really good last night, a lot of loud contact, but there are holes in the line-up with Turang and Wiemer/Taylor that just kill momentum, as well as the Adames funk and Winker's lack of, well, anything fun to watch. But I'd disagree there isn't teh ability for the rookies to find their feet, for Woodruff and Burnes to be lights out from July onwards, with Miley and a return to form for Lauer, plus potential arrivals of Hiura/Frelick. There's potential there to be a terrifying team, it just hasn't clicked at all in the last month or so

I don't see all this potential that you do but I hope you are right. I see a lineup with very little talent and don't see that changing with the players we have on this roster or in AAA currently. Plus we have to assume Burnes isn't returning to ace form when he has pitched like this for a full year at this point.

If you tell me a team like the Padres or Mets who have played poorly most of this season will eventually turn it around you can point to a bunch of underacheiving stars picking it up but we just don't have that level of talent.

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The injuries & lack of consistent performance is a much bigger problem than any real or percieved lack of talent IMO. Whatever someone thinks the talent level is, are they playing as well as they can given that level? No. And I'm not talking about playing over their heads, either. When they struggle, the baseball IQ of the hitters seems to go south as well, making it that much tougher to recover.

Still, injuries are the main culprit. In the 2023 NL Central, you need to give it much more time.

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The Brewers are a small market team, that cannot afford to let star players walk with just  little  to no compensation. 
 

Look at the history of guys they traded in the last 20 years before they reached free agency: Carlos Lee, Greinke, Gallardo, Gomez, Lucroy, Hader.

Unless like in ‘11 with Fielder where they’re way out in front and planning to go deep in the playoffs, they’re going to trade all their stars: Woodruff, Burnes, Adames, etc. it’s just a matter of time.

That their talking heads tell the media they don’t want a “rebuild” is just a crock of baloney.

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I wouldn't do a complete sell of unless the wheels really fall off. If we are still in contention come the deadline it would be super detrimental to the fan base to rock the boat. The only big move that would make sense to me  is trading Willy or Burnes (if they straighten things out). When Urias comes back we could trade Willy for some young mlb ready arms and move Turang to SS, Urias to 2B, and Miller to 3B. Trading Burnes would be tough but we should get Lauer and Woody back by then and maybe Ashby or Miley. However we would still be taking away from our best chance at competing in the playoffs taking from the big 3 starters. 

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I think the team needs to get an answer from Counsell whether he wants to manage this team moving forward. If not, this team without him takes a huge hit and for me, won’t be able to overcome his void for next season and should then sell-off.

The team has the infrastructure to keep the prospect flow coming but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to see what this FO could do adding prospect talent thru the selling of at least the big 3 and possibly more.

The early returns on this skill-set look good with their Hader trade return and adding 10-12 prospects with 4-5 of them top 100’s to this organization’s strong farm (Fangraphs-9th, Law-8th) makes 2026+ look more than just promising.

This is how we get organizational talent  to rival the best of them including Tampa.

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3 hours ago, SF70 said:

I think the team needs to get an answer from Counsell whether he wants to manage this team moving forward. If not, this team without him takes a huge hit and for me, won’t be able to overcome his void for next season and should then sell-off.

The team has the infrastructure to keep the prospect flow coming but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to see what this FO could do adding prospect talent thru the selling of at least the big 3 and possibly more.

The early returns on this skill-set look good with their Hader trade return and adding 10-12 prospects with 4-5 of them top 100’s to this organization’s strong farm (Fangraphs-9th, Law-8th) makes 2026+ look more than just promising.

This is how we get organizational talent  to rival the best of them including Tampa.

As much as we like Counsell there is no manager that should change the direction of an organization. I think Counsell is done after the season but regardless I am favor of moving guys like Burnes, Adames, and Woodruff if healthy because I don't believe that a team that won't spend should or really can afford to let premium free agents walk without getting something back and no I don't consider one draft pick as nearly enough for a guy like Burnes.

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On 5/23/2023 at 9:28 PM, Jopal78 said:

That their talking heads tell the media they don’t want a “rebuild” is just a crock of baloney.

I think that's a little harsh. To me it's clear they believe they can walk a line between getting value for talent and maintaining a competitive team without completely tearing down. Whether they can remains to be seen, but if you're saying they don't actually believe that, I think you're wrong.

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22 minutes ago, Team Canada said:

I think that's a little harsh. To me it's clear they believe they can walk a line between getting value for talent and maintaining a competitive team without completely tearing down. Whether they can remains to be seen, but if you're saying they don't actually believe that, I think you're wrong.

How many stars did the Cubs retain when they all entered free agency at the same time? Zero, they traded them all.

The Brewers will do the same. They’re kidding themselves  if they think they can remain competitive in the NL and break up their starting pitching staff at the same time. 
 

It’s never been done before by a small market team. 

Maybe if they were like the Cubs who have the money to sign Swanson, Stroman, Smyly, Bellinger, etc. to just tread water, but the Brewers aren’t big players in free agency and never will be.

Maybe when they trade their stars over the next 13 months they will hit on the vast majority of prospects they acquire in return and be able to keep the party going, but the odds of that happening are virtually nil. 
 

They want to sell tickets and suite leases, so of course publicly they say there won’t be a tear down, but unless their FO are all stupid (which I doubt) they know that’s a ruse and are aware of the grim years on the horizon. 
 

 

 

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31 minutes ago, Jopal78 said:

It’s never been done before by a small market team. 

The Rays have been doing this for the past 10 or so years now.  They have been basically just churning out prospect after prospect and then trading them once they are close to FA. 

It may not work exactly 100% of the time but the Brewers only need to be successful once or twice.  Basically they need to keep on developing MLB talent which they have been able to do recently with Mitchell, Wiemer and Turang.  Then make trades for players like Adames and Urias when needed. 

Pitching is always the hard part and no team in MLB has really got this consistently correct.  The Guardians and the Rays have been the best but it is not perfect and they have hit some bumps here and there on their players. 

The Brewers definitely believe they can trade their players and continue to be successful without going through a full on rebuild like the Orioles and Cubs have done.  The Cubs problem after they trading their superstars away they didn't have anything in their farm system it was completely barren.  The Cubs went scorched earth tactics on their farm system to win a World Series.  They won one but they absolutely destroyed their farm system in doing so.  This is why the Cubs are stuck in mediocrity right now and it is something the Brewers are trying to avoid.  

I think the Brewers want to keep their payroll on average around $90-100m which allows them to go over when needed.  Top players normally bring over AA or A+ level prospects.  I don't see the Brewers trading Burnes, Woodruff or Adames for players below A+ at least not the main piece(s) coming over.  The headliner in a trade for Burnes or Adames will more than likely be a player in AA which means that player normally is only one or two years away at most. 

So yes the Brewers are still thinking they can compete even after trading Burnes, Woodruff and Adames. 

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11 hours ago, Jopal78 said:

How many stars did the Cubs retain when they all entered free agency at the same time? Zero, they traded them all.

The Brewers will do the same. They’re kidding themselves  if they think they can remain competitive in the NL and break up their starting pitching staff at the same time. 

I was already beaten to the obvious Rays counterpoint, but that is exactly what they're trying to do. There's a huge difference between a plan and reality, but that's why you do things like trade Hader for Gasser. You know that Burnes and/or Woodruff are on their way out and are starting to restock, and that's much more important than paying a closer $15M/yr. Could it fail, of course! But asserting that the FO is just paying lip service to the idea of being competitive and really is planning to tear things down is unfounded.

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A few different parts of the rebuild question here. Firstly though, I'll say that I'm absolutely against a complete rebuild. You need to really tank to get a benefit from it, meaning even in the best case scenario you're bad for a long time. And even then there's no guarantee. So I'll be looking at it from the perspective of a soft rebuild, retool, whatever you want to call it. And it'll be offseason trades, not midseason. 

One is that the Brewers should look to trade or (If they're getting a great deal) extend Woody/Burnes/Adames. Keeping one, if the trade offers aren't great and an extension is possible might be alright, an extra season and a draft pick isn't nothing, after all. But 2/3 at least. The question then is if it's mid-season or off-season. I'd be very hesistant to do a mid-season trade. Yes, the return will be slightly (but not much) better, but this division isn't good, it's very winnable. Trading a top of the rotation starter or a good SS (and team leader) is different from trading a reliever. I think it'd take being 10+ games down at the deadline to see a mid-season trade, unless the return was absurd. I think the chances of an extension are really slim for all of them, and unless the payroll is allowed to go up, I don't like the idea of having $50m+ per year invested in two players (Yelich + one of those guys) for many years. Maaybe Adames really likes it enough to give a "hometown" discount. Maybe Woody wants to lock in some guaranteed money. But I doubt it. 

The second part is, what about the rest of the team? Lauer, Tellez, Houser all reach free agency at the same time as the "big 3". Urias and Williams are the main ones after 2025. Some FAs after this season too in Caratini, Anderson, Winker mainly, but I think the trade return for them is minimal. Anderson might be someone they could sign to a Wong or Garcia type FA deal or extension. So let's focus on the more long-term guys. If they're trading the big 3, I'd also consider the other guys with the same contract status. Again though, not going to get a ton for them so could look at cheap extensions too. Urias is someone I'd seriously look to try to extend. Free agent at 29, has positional versatility, has shown excellent plate discipline (A trait that ages well), and has room to get better IMO. 

Basically, because I don't really believe in a hard rebuild. the division being there for the taking (Cardinals need an entire new starting staff next year for instance), and the farm system being in a good spot, there aren't that many clear trade targets beyond the "big 3". Lauer and Houser for instance wouldn't command huge returns, and if you're losing Burnes and Woodruff you don't want to have to replace both their quality as well as the depth that Lauer/Houser provide. So not much to gain. 

One player I'd look at though, and I bet lots of people hate the idea, is Devin Williams. If there is interest and a good return to be had, I will always be in favor of trading relievers. No matter how good. They pitch so few innings, they're volatile, they get too expensive in relation to their impact, and finding/developing relievers is one thing this team is really good at. I think most teams are too smart these days to give up a ton for relievers, so probably not happening. But I'd certainly be open to it. 

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23 hours ago, Lathund said:

A few different parts of the rebuild question here. Firstly though, I'll say that I'm absolutely against a complete rebuild. You need to really tank to get a benefit from it, meaning even in the best case scenario you're bad for a long time. And even then there's no guarantee. So I'll be looking at it from the perspective of a soft rebuild, retool, whatever you want to call it. And it'll be offseason trades, not midseason. 

One is that the Brewers should look to trade or (If they're getting a great deal) extend Woody/Burnes/Adames. Keeping one, if the trade offers aren't great and an extension is possible might be alright, an extra season and a draft pick isn't nothing, after all. But 2/3 at least. The question then is if it's mid-season or off-season. I'd be very hesistant to do a mid-season trade. Yes, the return will be slightly (but not much) better, but this division isn't good, it's very winnable. Trading a top of the rotation starter or a good SS (and team leader) is different from trading a reliever. I think it'd take being 10+ games down at the deadline to see a mid-season trade, unless the return was absurd. I think the chances of an extension are really slim for all of them, and unless the payroll is allowed to go up, I don't like the idea of having $50m+ per year invested in two players (Yelich + one of those guys) for many years. Maaybe Adames really likes it enough to give a "hometown" discount. Maybe Woody wants to lock in some guaranteed money. But I doubt it. 

The second part is, what about the rest of the team? Lauer, Tellez, Houser all reach free agency at the same time as the "big 3". Urias and Williams are the main ones after 2025. Some FAs after this season too in Caratini, Anderson, Winker mainly, but I think the trade return for them is minimal. Anderson might be someone they could sign to a Wong or Garcia type FA deal or extension. So let's focus on the more long-term guys. If they're trading the big 3, I'd also consider the other guys with the same contract status. Again though, not going to get a ton for them so could look at cheap extensions too. Urias is someone I'd seriously look to try to extend. Free agent at 29, has positional versatility, has shown excellent plate discipline (A trait that ages well), and has room to get better IMO. 

Basically, because I don't really believe in a hard rebuild. the division being there for the taking (Cardinals need an entire new starting staff next year for instance), and the farm system being in a good spot, there aren't that many clear trade targets beyond the "big 3". Lauer and Houser for instance wouldn't command huge returns, and if you're losing Burnes and Woodruff you don't want to have to replace both their quality as well as the depth that Lauer/Houser provide. So not much to gain. 

One player I'd look at though, and I bet lots of people hate the idea, is Devin Williams. If there is interest and a good return to be had, I will always be in favor of trading relievers. No matter how good. They pitch so few innings, they're volatile, they get too expensive in relation to their impact, and finding/developing relievers is one thing this team is really good at. I think most teams are too smart these days to give up a ton for relievers, so probably not happening. But I'd certainly be open to it. 

Disagree that there isn’t much difference in return with a deadline trade vs offseason trade, at least with a player as good and unique as Corbin Burnes.

Burnes at the deadline would be the most coveted player available and would return much more than the offseason due to the extra control, and the fact of there being no competition with FA signings.

San Diego, Philadelphia, Texas, Toronto, NYY, would be 5 teams off the top of my head I could see overpaying for Burnes at the deadline.

 

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1 hour ago, SF70 said:

San Diego, Philadelphia, Texas, Toronto, NYY, would be 5 teams off the top of my head I could see overpaying for Burnes at the deadline.

Barring Burnes going on some kind of run over the next two months, I don’t see anybody overpaying for him at the deadline.

There are 114 pitchers with at least 40 IP so far this year, here’s how Corbin stacks up…

63.2 IP (20th) | 84 ERA- (41st) | 105 FIP- (71st) | 99 K%+ (54th) | 102 BB%+ (74th) | 109 HR9+ (67th) | 84 BABIP+ (13th)

That’s essentially the line of an innings eater that has gotten some batted ball luck.

Kind of insane that Burnes has gone from putting up a Pedro FIP in 2021 with elite across the board 153 K%+ | 58 BB%+ | 31 HR9+ to where he is at now.

If he were dealt at the deadline, I think it’d be more of an underwhelming to fan expectations Hader type return than any kind of overpay.

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2 hours ago, SF70 said:

Disagree that there isn’t much difference in return with a deadline trade vs offseason trade, at least with a player as good and unique as Corbin Burnes.

Burnes at the deadline would be the most coveted player available and would return much more than the offseason due to the extra control, and the fact of there being no competition with FA signings.

San Diego, Philadelphia, Texas, Toronto, NYY, would be 5 teams off the top of my head I could see overpaying for Burnes at the deadline.

 

The return is better, but it's very much not linear. You don't get twice as good a return for 2 years, or 50% more return for 1½ years, than you do for 1 year. Selling mid season means giving up on the season, with a very winnable division, and while I don't care about the "signals" it sends, I suspect the club and many fans do. I just don't think the extra return is worth it, I'd rather have Burnes for another potential playoff appearance, and still get a good return in the offseason. 

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1 hour ago, sveumrules said:

Barring Burnes going on some kind of run over the next two months, I don’t see anybody overpaying for him at the deadline.

There are 114 pitchers with at least 40 IP so far this year, here’s how Corbin stacks up…

63.2 IP (20th) | 84 ERA- (41st) | 105 FIP- (71st) | 99 K%+ (54th) | 102 BB%+ (74th) | 109 HR9+ (67th) | 84 BABIP+ (13th)

That’s essentially the line of an innings eater that has gotten some batted ball luck.

Kind of insane that Burnes has gone from putting up a Pedro FIP in 2021 with elite across the board 153 K%+ | 58 BB%+ | 31 HR9+ to where he is at now.

If he were dealt at the deadline, I think it’d be more of an underwhelming to fan expectations Hader type return than any kind of overpay.

I had originally thought this, but I think teams will stay pay up for him. He's 6th among qualified SP in stuff+. His stuff is still super elite and I think teams will care more about that than they will middling numbers. If a team is willing to trade for him they will likely believe they can get the most out of his elite stuff and that they will be getting a great pitcher out of it.

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