The World Series begins this week, bringing with it the last series of competitive Major League Baseball that we will all get a taste of before the long, cold winter begins. After either the Royals or Mets emerge victorious the offseason will officially begin, and teams can start building their rosters for another run next year.
For the Milwaukee Brewers, however, next season's results have basically already been written in stone. When Doug Melvin traded Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers on July 30th, the team effectively raised the white flag on competing in 2016 and began the process of a multi-year rebuilding project. Now under new General Manager David Stearns, it appears the Brewers are setting themselves up for a potentially busy offseason as they continue to look ahead to the future.
According to a report (subscription required) from ESPN Insider Buster Olney over the weekend, the Brewers have told other teams they are willing "to listen to offers on anybody on its roster." Olney speculatively included Jonathan Lucroy as an example, saying he'd be available but "only in the right deal." This philosophy under Stearns represents a slight shift for the Brewers, who were unwilling to part with Lucroy prior to this past trade deadline despite receiving interest from the Braves and others.
For a team with little design on competing in 2016, there's not much reason not to have every player on the table for the right price. The Brewers have a lot of money coming off the books and no shortage of trade candidates, including the likes of Lucroy, Adam Lind, Francisco Rodriguez, Jean Segura, or even a buy-low candidate like Matt Garza (we can only hope). Olney's comments, however, leave the door open to the possibility of younger "core" players under team control like Wily Peralta, Jimmy Nelson, or any of the team's flame-throwing relief corps being moved, as well.
It wouldn't be altogether surprising to see Stearns engage in some "counter-building," where he trades one or more prospects from a position of strength in exchange for a prospect at a different position, either. Teams do this to bring some more overall balance to their farm systems. An example of this kind of trade could be moving someone like Yadiel Rivera, a defense first middle infielder (which the Brewers already have in spades), on the heels of his strong offensive performance in the Arizona Fall League.
Mark Attanasio has said that (for now at least) he'll exercise patience with the rebuild process, which should allow Stearns the room he needs to continue to augment a rapidly improving farm system. For the time being the team should make every player available and continue to target the best talent out there in trades, regardless of position. This way the Brewers can continue to build a strong foundation for sustainable success going forward and give the loyal fan base multiple chances to watch our team in the postseason. And isn't that what we all really want?