The Brewers are likely headed toward a downfall that has been looming for longer than most Brewers fans realize. Let’s dive into the three strikes that have forced the Milwaukee Brewers into an abysmal situation.
Strike #1: Brewers Trade Josh Hader
The first strike had to be the Josh Hader trade. Hader was arguably the best closer in baseball while a part of the Brewers. His long hair flowing in the wind as fast as his impressive fastball made him a fan favorite in Wisconsin. Hader had 125 career saves, which was second for the most saves all-time in Brewers history. Hader also was a 4-time all-star as a Brewer. When the Brewers traded him, it split the clubhouse and brought morale down even when the team still had playoff aspirations in 2022.
The Brewers still have recovered nicely since, shifting Devin Williams from set-up man to closer and ultimately acquiring star catcher William Contreras from a player acquired in the Josh Hader trade. Regardless, it was the start of the downfall of the team, showing their fans that it does not seem like the ultimate goal is to win ownership. As in baseball, you need to pay to push for winning, and the team has shown that in only one season, in 2018.
Strike #2: Brewers Leave Money In Their Pockets
The second strike has to be the continuous lack of not trying to improve the team in the off-season. The owners of the Brewers seem to rarely be willing to pay the price to help add to a winning team. Thanks to an amazing pitching staff and a great manager in Craig Counsell, the team always seems to have a great shot to make the playoffs, but nothing beyond that. The offense has always seemed to become dry, and the team doesn’t have an MVP-level player in Christian Yelich to carry the burden anymore. The team has continued to seem satisfied with making small salary cap moves in trades but never pursuing anything major.
The next big hurdle is what will happen with the team’s superstar pitcher, Corbin Burnes. There have been constant issues in contract negotiations between Burnes and the Brewers. The Brewers seem reluctant to pay the best-starting pitcher the Brewers have ever had because why? The why is Mark Attanasio, the Brewers Owner, basically never wants to pay players what they truly deserve, especially when you’re towards the top at your position in the entire MLB. Burnes does not feel wanted here, and most fans believe a trade is looming this off-season.
Strike #3 Brewers Say Goodbye to Counsell
The final strike has just occurred. The team’s success has been accomplished mainly by the exceptional management of Craig Counsell. Counsell’s contract expired this off-season, and while the team did actually offer him a lot of money, it did not matter. Counsell has left Milwaukee for their rival Chicago Cubs for $8 million a year, the highest ever for a manager.
Counsell has been with the team since 2015 and easily has been one of the best managers in the entire MLB for quite some time now. He has taken an average to below-average roster to the playoffs 5 seasons in his tenure. Before taking over, the last three times Milwaukee made the playoffs were 2011, 2008, and 1982. Counsell’s frustrations with the ownership’s lack of willing to spend any money to improve the team might have played a part in his departure.
What’s Next for The Brewers?
Now, the Brewers sit with a below-average roster, no manager, a disgruntled superstar pitcher, and their second star starting pitcher, Brandon Woodruff, is most likely out for most of 2024. So what’s next? The best case for the Brewers would be for the owner, Mark Attanasio, to sell the team to an owner that is more willing to spend money to help the team compete. In the MLB, with no salary cap, it does usually come down to how much your owner is willing to spend.
But, the most likely outcome is going to be what most Brewers fans have been accustomed to, and the team will likely look to rebuild once again and reassess what the future of the team will be. Wisconsin fans will most likely need to turn to Giannis even more than they already do with the uncertainty of the Packers and, now, the Brewers.