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Former Milwaukee Brewers in the World Series

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Two former Brewers are participating in the World Series this year.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Tampa Bay Rays Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

The World Series is set to kick off tonight in Arlington, where the Dodgers and Rays will meet to play for the championship. Both teams announced their rosters today, and a couple of former Brewers are on the rosters. Let’s take a quick glance at those players.

First of all, let’s look at the Dodgers. This will be quick, because there are no players to talk about here. None of the current members on the Dodgers roster have played for the Brewers. In fact, no one on the Dodgers 40-man roster has been in the Brewers organization, so there’s very little for us to dwell on.

On the other side, the Rays do have two players participating in the World Series that have played for the Brewers in the past. The first is Ji-Man Choi, who has been with the Rays since being traded there in 2018. Choi started that season on the Opening Day roster for the Brewers and had a strong first game, but then was sent down to the minors. He did come back up in late May thanks to a strong stint at Colorado Springs. However, with first base the only place he could play, and that spot already crowded between Eric Thames and Jesus Aguilar, Choi just didn’t fit in. He ended up getting traded to the Rays on June 10 and has been a regular in their lineup ever since. He played in 127 games for them in 2019 and 42 games in 2020. This season, he hit .230/.331/.410 and had 3 home runs and 16 RBI.

The other player is a fan favorite, even after he left the Brewers — Brett Phillips. Phillips was originally acquired from the Astros in the massive trade that brought in some of the Brewers current members. At the deadline in 2015, the Brewers acquired Phillips, Josh Hader, Adrian Houser, and Domingo Santana for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers. Phillips spent two years in the minors before debuting in 2017 and instantly made an impact, posting a .276/.351/.448 batting line with 4 home runs and 12 RBI. His defense was also exceptional, helping establish him as a regular to end that season.

Unfortunately for Phillips, he would also end up being a casualty of a crowded position. The following offseason, the Brewers went heavy on the outfield market, trading for Christian Yelich and signing Lorenzo Cain. With Ryan Braun taking the other starting slot in the outfield, there just wasn’t a spot for Phillips. He played in 15 games for the Brewers in 2018 as a bench player, and while the defense was still there, his bat wasn’t. He ended up being dealt to the Royals with Jorge Lopez at the trade deadline in the deal that brought in Mike Moustakas.

After being traded to the Royals, he platooned a bit in the majors in 2018, then spent most of the 2019 season in the minors with a few call-ups that season. This season, he was out of options and had to be kept in the majors. While his defense is as good as ever (he has made a total of 1 error in his major league career, as a frame of reference), his offense just hasn’t developed. Phillips ended up getting traded to the Rays towards the trade deadline this season, where he has been a bench player ever since.

So far this postseason, Ji-Man Choi has played in 12 games, going 9-for-28 with 7 walks, and has recorded 2 home runs and 4 RBI. Brett Phillips was on the roster for the AL Wild Card and ALDS, and has played in 4 games, getting just two plate appearances and going 0-for-2 in those. Phillips was off the roster for the ALCS, but has been added again for the World Series.

There is one other player of note for the Rays. Former Brewer Oliver Drake was also on the roster, pitching in 11 games and posting a 5.73 ERA and 5.92 FIP. He did pitch an inning for the Rays in the ALDS, but was released on October 14.