Mets360 GM Project: 2017-18 Milwaukee Brewers

This is a project where 30 people got together to act as the GMs of the 30 MLB teams with the idea of conducting the offseason in one week. This is what happened in this simulation, not a prediction of what will happen in real life.

The Brewers finished with the best record of any team in MLB to not make the playoffs. On the one hand an 86-76 record is pretty good, but on the other hand, it came without a playoff berth and without a high draft pick. Nevertheless, it should be something to build upon, only the Brewers are in a tricky spot with limited payroll and handcuffed by one disproportionately high salary eating up nearly a third of it.

That salary belongs, of course, to Ryan Braun, their lone star player. Though he’s not the perennial MVP candidate he once was, Braun is still a very good player when healthy. Together with Travis Shaw and Eric Thames, he’s part of a formidable middle of the order. Braun missed more than a third of the season last year, and wasn’t his vintage self when on the field, slashing just .268/.336/.487, a big dip from the previous year’s .305/.365/.538 and a really far cry from his heyday when he routinely drove in 110+ runs. At 33-years-old and coming off a down year, the Brewers will likely find his $20 million contract (with three years to go plus an option and a not so limited no trade clause) as unmovable as this fake GM did.

Try as I did, no GM was remotely interested in Braun. With a mere $70 million payroll budget this left me with very little flexibility, especially given the coming arbitration increases. The good news is that most of the rest of the roster is made up of a lot of quality players still on rookie contracts. In their favor, the Brewers have some talent and not too many glaring holes. I saved a few bucks by letting Matt Garza, Willy Peralta, Neftali Feliz, Stephen Vogt, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Eric Sogard walk. I focused on finding a platoon partner at catcher and a versatile bat who could play second if Jonathan Villar doesn’t bounce back from his own down year, but could also play outfield. I managed to land Howie Kendrick ($7.1 million) for the latter role and Alex Avila ($2 million) for the former. I got outbid badly on a few pitchers, namely Chris Tillman, so I’d need to watch the waiver wire in Spring Training to find some pitching depth.

Here’s the team:

Budget: $70mm, actual amount: $69.3mm

The Lineup:

  1. Keon Broxton, CF – .55mm
  2. Howie Kendrick, 2B – 7.1mm
  3. Ryan Braun, LF – 20mm
  4. Travis Shaw, 3B – .55mm
  5. Eric Thames, 1B – 5mm
  6. Domingo Santana, RF – .55mm
  7. Manny Pina, C – .55mm
  8. Orlando Arcia, SS – .55mm
  9. Pitcher

The Bench:

The Rotation:

  1. Chase Anderson – 5.4mm
  2. Zack Davies – .55mm
  3. Brent Suter – .55mm
  4. Junior Guerra – .55mm
  5. Brandon Woodruff  .55mm

The Bullpen:

Disabled list: Jimmy Nelson, SP (shoulder surgery) – 4.7mm

Thoughts:

The lesson learned is that it’s very hard to compete with a small payroll, especially when nearly a third of it is tied up in one star on the downside of his career. With the two additions plus bounce back years from Braun and Villar, and contributions from a few upcoming prospects, this Brewers team could be competitive again. The good news is that the nucleus that helped them just miss the playoffs will be back, plus they have five of the top 100 prospects in their pipeline. Stud outfielder Lewis Brinson should be up by midseason at latest.

Also, I’m quite proud that I still know how to spell Kirk Nieuwenhuis

2 comments for “Mets360 GM Project: 2017-18 Milwaukee Brewers

  1. November 3, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Without knowing the state of the farm system, I think I would have preferred spending to add a SP better than Junior Guerra rather than on Howie Kendrick.

    If you had $7.65 million to spend between SP and 2B, would $5 million on CC Sabathia and $2.65 million on Logan Forsythe been more productive?

    I know there’s risk involved in Free Agents on the last day but there were other guys available, too. Maybe Doug Fister and Neal Walker?

  2. MattyMets
    November 3, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Brian, I wanted CC Sabathia but was either too late or too low with my bid. I think Kendrick would be a perfect fit for this team. I’m not sure what the real life Brewers budget will be, but they need another 15 million to polish up that roster.

    It’s very hard for a small market team to carry a big salary player. Especially when they’re past their prime.

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