Now that the Mid-Summer Classic (MLB’s All-Star Game) has completed, let’s take a look at the current status of each of our beloved teams: Packers; Brewers; Bucks.
Green Bay Packers – after a very active offseason, and an important one, the Packers find themselves in one of the oddest situations of any team, ever. They’ve completely rebuilt the roster, however held onto the oldest and most-expensive player whilst doing so…
Since the embarrassment of the 2016 NFC title game (January 2017), the Packers should’ve committed to a full rebuild, however they began a subtle one, replacing a lot of the bottom of their roster (i.e. the last 10 spots of their roster or more). In the 30 months since that game, the Packers have completely revamped their WR corps, Tight Ends, entire secondary, and linebackers. All of which (aside from WRs) were a hard weakness for this team.
In addition to completely revamping the roster by focusing on improving the weaknesses, they’ve kept the quality of the offensive line (overall) which is a strength when not decimated by injury. Lastly, the coaching staff has seen a complete overhaul—all of this removes excuses from Rodgers apologists for not winning more than 1 Super Bowl. For the remainder of his contract (or the next 5 years) the Packers (Rodgers) can “salvage” his career by winning 2 more rings. We’ll see, but regardless, the last two offseasons have been as important as ever and the 2019 campaign is the beginning of the new window to see how well Brian Gutekunst performed in those offseasons…Football is JUST AROUND THE CORNER!!!!!
Milwaukee Brewers – after blowing a prime opportunity to win the NL pennant, the Brewers kept their foot on the gas to improve their roster to get over the hump. In doing so, the Brewers added C Yasmani Grandal (the Dodgers primary Catcher, and good hitter) and he’s performed greatly for the Crew. He leads Catchers in almost every offensive category, and has not been a liability behind the plate—however it’s tough to see the entire pitching staff struggle and the only real changes are the pitching coach (Derrick Johnson to Cincinnati, who’s improved greatly) and supplanting Grandal for Kratz in the catching squad.
As of today (July 17, 2019) the Brewers sit at 50-47, 2.5 games from 1st in the NL Central and 0.5 games back of the 2nd wild card. While some teams have made the World Series from the Wild Card, it’s quite obvious the Brewers are quite a ways away from competing with the likes of the Dodgers or Braves. For anyone in the boat that the Brew Crew should be buyers before the trade deadline (July 31st), because the Cubs are not playing up to par should not be the reason the Brewers need to go for it this year. If anything, there’s a great break to set up the next 3 years and to continue to build around Yelich and the rest of the young talent this team currently holds. Keston Hiura seems to be the real deal, so there are 2 bats to build around while finding out if Hauser, Burnes, Woodruff, and Davies can all be long-term answers for the rotation. Much like the Packers in 2015, there’s a window to really set up the franchise for actual (winning world titles, not being relevant) success in the years to come if handled correctly.
Milwaukee Bucks – such an odd (great while extremely disappointing) season the Bucks produced. Entering the season, many thought a “successful season” would be winning a playoff series and pushing the 2nd round opponent deep for an Eastern Conference Finals appearance. About a 1/3 of the way through the season, it was clear this Bucks team was far superior to those expectations. Giannis had obviously taken another giant leap forward in his ability and production, while making a team full of a ton of role players and making them the “best” team min the NBA on to a 60-win season and a 1 seed in throughout the entire postseason. In countless personal discussions with many of you, this is where it gets odd…the Bucks surpassed initial expectations by Jan 1st, and by doing so found themselves with their best chance to win an NBA title, maybe ever. The question I keep asking myself, Will the Bucks ever have a better opportunity to win a title? I don’t think so. Kawhi Leonard deserves every bit of credit thrown his way, and maybe even more (top 3 postseason in NBA history), the Bucks took a 2-0 lead and had Toronto on the ropes in game 3 into double OT and had they won it, would’ve iced the series.
(Hypothetically) Looking to the Finals matchup vs. Golden State, the Bucks would’ve caught the dynasty without 3 of their 4 best players. So it would’ve been a Giannis v Curry matchup and Milwaukee was possibly the worst match-up (in every capacity) for the Warriors of any team. Instead, Kawhi did what he did, and the rest is history. Now the Bucks lost Brogdon, Mirotic (contributed nothing in the postseason, especially vs Toronto) and $178M to Middleton while gaining Wes Matthews (nice) and Robin Lopez (nice addition as well). Overall, I believe the Bucks got worse, while other teams improved (sans Toronto). This year will be interesting, but Middleton will be under scrutiny for the remainder of his days as a Milwaukee Buck. It very well could determine whether the Bucks ever win the Larry O’Brien Trophy…