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It's Time to Trust the Process in Milwaukee

If you’re a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers, you’re likely in a conflicted spot right now. Is the Brewers’ future looking bright? Yes, it is. Are they watchable right now? Hell no.

The Brew Crew are coming off a 2015 campaign that saw them finish with a 68-94 record, just above the Cincinnati Reds in the cellar of the National League Central Division. The truth is, there simply aren’t many recognizable faces on this ball club. Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy and Matt Garza are the only three players who are household names.

As expected, oddsmakers are prognosticating the upcoming campaign to be a long one in Wisconsin. At Bovada, Milwaukee is a +12500 extreme long shot to win the World Series, +6600 to garner the National League pennant and +3300 to win the Central – tied with the Reds for the longest odds to do so.

While the Brewers weren’t active in free agency, their biggest offseason addition came in the front office. The franchise handed the reigns of the general manager position to David Stearns, a Harvard-educated executive who became the youngest GM in MLB at 30 years of age. Stearns was a key cog in Houston’s transition from cellar dweller to contender, and the Brewers are hoping he can pull off a similar feat once again.

If it wasn’t obvious already, last season’s trade of fan favorite outfielder Carlos Gomez to the Astros was a clear sign the Brewers were heading towards a full rebuild. But it’s especially staggering when you examine the dramatic makeover of this roster in recent years.

Since August of 2014 when the Brewers were sitting atop of the Central at 73-63, the team has traded Jonathan Broxton, Khris Davis, Gomez, Mike Fiers, Adam Lind, Gerardo Parra, Aramis Ramirez, Francisco Rodriguez and Jean Seguar. Talk about a facelift.

While Milwaukee isn’t expected to sniff contention in 2016, it's the sheer talent in their division will make this season even tougher than years past. The Brewers – who have been tabbed with a 69.5 season win total at the shop – will be forced to face off against National League powerhouses St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates on a ridiculous number of occasions. Some sports bettors (looking at you Dan Katz of Barstool Sports) believe life’s too short to take the UNDER, but it may not be a bad idea in this instance.

There is one reason to be excited, however: Domingo Santana. Santana, who was acquired in the Gomez trade last season, flashed some impressive skills and incredible power at the plate in the latter portion of the campaign. He’s an intriguing option for a franchise that has very limited short-term upside.

This team is years away from competing, but at least they finally have the right man calling the shots. Despite his extremely solid reputation, Stearns isn’t a miracle worker, and 2016 will be the foundation year of his long-term plan.

Considering their penchant for shipping away players, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Braun, Garza and/or Lucroy sent packing by September. Each player will surely get a great haul in return, however it’s going to draw out the rebuild even longer – something that will inspire a collective groan for a fan base that’s seen their squad reach the postseason just twice since 1983.

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2016 Milwaukee Brewers Futures Odds
World Series+12500
National League Pennant+6600
National League Central+3300
Win Totals69.5

Odds as of April 1 at Bovada