A Blueprint for Success – Commentary

Will Rossmiller wross460@uwsp.edu

As the World Series approaches, St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox fans eagerly wait to celebrate, while the 28 other teams’ fans wonder why it wasn’t their year.

Brewers fans haven’t tasted World Series action since the 1982 season, when they lost to the Cardinals in seven games.

Milwaukee’s front office would be wise to look over how the Cardinals and Red Sox managed to reach baseball’s ultimate competition.

Both teams provide a blue print that the Brewers could use to reach the World Series for the first time in more than 30 years.

The Brewers have reached a pivotal point in determining what their future as a franchise is.

They could do a rebuild through the draft or they could use what they have for a quick turnaround to make the playoffs next year.

If the Brewers go with the rebuilding route, the Cardinals present a good example of a quick and successful rebuild through the Major League Baseball draft. The Cardinals have reached the National League Championship Series the last three years and have reached the World Series twice, winning in 2011.

St. Louis has done this with wave after wave of minor league talent coming up to the majors and performing in big spots.

Of the 25 members on the Cardinals playoff roster, 20 were developed in the team’s farm system with 17 players being drafted by St. Louis.

If the Brewers do decide to do the full rebuild they’re going to have to put a bigger focus on their minor league system.

At the beginning of the season Milwaukee was ranked as one of the worst farm systems. The team didn’t do itself any favors by losing their first round pick by signing Kyle Lohse last year.

The Brewers have to commit to re-tooling their farm system. If they starting doing this now, and draft well, they could be back in contention soon.

If Milwaukee wants to go the route of a quick turnaround, they must look at what the Red Sox have done in just over a season.

After making flashy signings the last two offseasons, the Red Sox were poised to take the 2012 American League East title.

But the team didn’t mesh under manager Bobby Valentine. The team wasn’t winning like they should, and big changes were on the way.

In August of last season, the Red Sox created a clean slate for the next season, sending big contracts, like Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It wasn’t what the team got back in prospects that helped them; it was the ability to dump hundreds of millions of dollars in salary to allow the Red Sox a fresh start.

The team fired Valentine as their manager and brought in, veteran manager, John Farrell.

Then, during this past offseason, the team signed players that they thought could help them now without breaking the bank

The Red Sox brought in outfielders Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes who have both played major roles. They signed first basemen Mike Napoli, shortstop Stephen Drew and extended the contract of the face of their franchise, David Ortiz.

They added a solid starting pitcher in Ryan Dempster, and in asigning that hasn’t been talked about until now, they signed relief pitcher Koji Uehara.

Uehara wasn’t a big name during the offseason and the Red Sox got him relatively cheap, but boy has it paid off.

Uehara posted a 1.09 earned run average during the season and has been perfect in the playoffs, not allowing a run in six innings and winning the American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player.

The Brewers won’t be able to spend all of the money signing new players that the Red Sox did, but doesn’t mean they can’t cut some of their payroll in trades.

Milwaukee can’t be afraid to trade players like Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse or Aramis Ramirez.

Not only could they get a good return of prospects, but it would also free up money that could allow the Brewers a fresh start.

The Brewers have a lot of tough decisions to make this offseason. If they choose one of these options, or something else, they have as good a chance as anyone to be in the playoffs next season. 

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