Following their most competitive season since they won the National League Central in 2011, the Milwaukee Brewers failed to improve upon their 2014 campaign. In 2015 they slipped from 82 wins to 68 wins, putting them 32.0 games back of the division champion St. Louis Cardinals, quadrupling the number from 2014 (8.0 games back). The team’s offense was relatively comparable to the 2014 version, scoring 655 runs as opposed to 650 in the previous season. However, the pitching was far worse, specifically the starting pitching. The 2015 Brewers’ starters racked up an ERA of 4.79, good for third-worst in the MLB behind only the Rockies (duh) and the Phillies. Last season also saw the Brewers deal away some of their best players at the trade deadline, including outfielders Gerardo Parra and Carlos Gomez, third baseman Aramis Ramirez, and starter Mike Fiers.
The 2015-16 offseason was nevertheless uneventful for the Brewers, with their biggest acquisition coming in early January in the form of a one-year, $2.5 million deal with strikeout-susceptible slugger Chris Carter. Carter projects to slide into the Brewer’s lineup at first base in place of Adam Lind, who was traded to the Mariners in December. Other notable departures include closer Francisco Rodriguez and pitcher Kyle Lohse. The Brewers did make a number of minor acquisitions to try and bolster their roster for 2016, with the acquisition of Jonathan Villar, signing of third baseman Will Middlebrooks, waiver claim of outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Rule 5 selections of IF/OF Colin Walsh and reliever Zach Jones. Regardless, the landscape of the 2016 NL Central makes it hard to imagine the Brewers competing for a playoff spot this season.