The Milwaukee Brewers finished with a 74-88 record and fourth place in the National League Central, eight games above the Chicago Cubs.
In July, the face of the Brewers, Ryan Braun was suspended for Performance Enhancing Drug usage and the Brewers surprisingly posted a 36-32 mark in the second half. Braun, who lied about using PEDs, will likely be the villain in most ballparks, especially Wrigley Field. Time will tell whether or not Braun not being on PEDs will effect his play.
Braun moves to right field with the departure of Norichika Aoki, who was traded to the Kansas City Royals for Will Smith (not the actor). Khris Davis, who played in 56 games during Braun’s suspension, will take over left field.
Another significant change in Milwaukee is the addition of former Cub starter Matt Garza, who signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the club this offseason. Scotter Gennett is currently projected as the Brewers’ starting second baseman ahead of 2011 All-Star Rickie Weeks, who suffered from injuries last season. They also brought back Lyle Overbay and signed Mark Reynolds to compete for the first base job.
Reynolds, 30, spent last season with Cleveland and the New York Yankees, and put up his usual numbers, hitting just .220 while popping 21 home runs and driving in 67 runs in 445 at-bats. His strikeouts continue to amass, as he tallied 154 in those 445 at-bats. His best career season came back in 2009 with Arizona, when he hit 44 home runs and drove in 102 runs while hitting a respectable .260 for the Dbacks.
Since that season, Reynolds’ highest single-season batting average is .221 and he’s tallied over 200 strikeouts at the plate three times in seven big league campaigns. He’ll provide power for Milwaukee, but will also come up empty with his strikeouts more often than not.
Overbay, who is heading into his age 37 season, spent last year in the Bronx, where he appeared in 142 games for the Yankees, hitting .240/.295/.393 with 14 home runs and 59 RBIs, also adding 24 doubles. He’s no longer the solid offensive player he once was, but is a solid stopgap option for this club that is seemingly caught between an aging roster and an under-developed system of prospects.
Cubs @ Brewers April 25-26-27
Brewers @ Cubs May 16-17-18
Cubs @ Brewers May 30-31, June 1
Brewers @ Cubs August 11-12-13-14
Brewers @ Cubs September 1-2-3
Cubs @ Brewers September 26-27-28