Final Grade: B
The Brewers can’t really be given too poor of a grade in this case, because there was little they could have done to improve the club for the 2016 season. Building for the future is clearly the goal right now, and the Brewers made some good moves adding depth pieces that could develop into solid players for the future. Aside from trading Lucroy or Braun, the Brewers moved most of the veteran pieces they had with any type of trade value. Lind, Rodriguez, and Rodgers netted decent returns that could help the Brewers the next time they are ready to drive for the playoffs. The additions the Brewers made were smart, adding relatively low-risk, high-reward pieces like Carter and Middlebrooks. These players will fill important spots in the lineup, and if their production isn’t good, it won’t really matter – the Brewers aren’t trying to win in 2016 anyway. Should their production be solid through the first half of the season, they may even draw some trade interest around the deadline because of their cheap contracts which expire at the end of 2016.
Hanging on to Lucroy and Braun was a smart move for the time being, as their trade value could increase around the 2016 or even 2017 trade deadlines should they maintain their current levels of production and need for their services become more pressing. Surely, these productive veterans will be less than pleased with sticking around a young, rebuilding club, but their leadership skills could also provide value as the young players around them mature. Moving them for the right price wouldn’t be a bad move, but keeping them for now will provide benefits and their contracts allow the Brewers front office plenty of time to work on dealing them before they walk in free agency.
As a whole, the Brewers offseason wasn’t particularly exciting, but GM David Stearns played it safe and smart with a proper goal in mind. While no team likes going through a rebuild, the Brewers seem to be handling it relatively well. Hopefully for the fans, players, and executives, their plan can unfold positively in the upcoming years and the Brewers will be ready to make a playoff run before the end of the decade.