The Brewers front office are in a position they haven't been in for quite some time. David Stearns and his staff actually have money to spend and if last season was any indication of the future, the rebuilding process is ahead of schedule.
The 2016 season finished with the Brewers four games under .500 at 79-83. While the roster featured big name players who have been with the organization for many years it also featured far too many players who had no business being on a big league roster such as Andy Wilkins, Jake Elmore, Colin Walsh, Ramon Flores, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and several more. At times, it looked more like a AAA team than a major league roster.
Just prior to the 2017 season, FanGraphs ran data and forecasted the Brewers to win 73 games in 2017. Clearly, the Brewers were not suppose to be relevant this past season. A six win decrease from the year before would not be ideal. However, we all know what actually happened. The Brewers were in the playoff picture up until the second to last day of the season and went 86-76. Had it not been for three freak injuries- Junior Guerra calf injury while batting (6 weeks), Chase Anderson oblique injury while batting (6 weeks), and Jimmy Nelson torn labrum sliding (injured last couple weeks of season)- the Brewers might've been in the playoffs. However, injuries always happen during a 162 game season and teams must adjust accordingly.
So what went right? Lot of things. Chase Anderson, Zach Davies, and Jimmy Nelson lead a rotation that statistically was one of the best in the majors, with an ERA of 4.00. Newcomer Travis Shaw provided a power threat in the middle of the lineup that should be feared going forward. He lead the club with 101 RBI's and tied Eric Thames with 31 home runs. Thames was a surprise as well in his first season. Beyond that, some of the prospects came up and contributed in major ways. Josh Hader was about as dominant that a relief pitcher can be, Brett Phillips was a major part of the Crew's success in September, and everyday playing for guys like Arcia and Santana allowed them to produce consistent results.
One would suggest, regression would surely happen this coming year. As individuals, these guys can't perform this well again, or can they? There is nothing I see that makes me think the production and numbers will decline and with some additions the Brewers should get over the hump and make it into the playoffs. Will such an "addition" occur? Is it perhaps a Jake Arrieta signing, Josh Harrison trade, Chris Archer trade or perhaps someone else? So far, the Crew have been rather quiet this offseason as have many other teams. It is a slow developing market this offseason as teams waited for Ohtani to sign, Stanton to be traded, etc. Time will tell what Stearns and Co. decide to do. As of now, they've made just a few signings to solidify and create greater competition within the starting rotation and bullpen. Whatever is decided over the next month and a half, I'm sure it'll be for the best. This front office has made all the "right" moves thus far.