By Michael Terrill @MichaelTerrill on March 27, 2014
With opening day just days away, the Milwaukee Brewers are putting the finishing touches on the active roster. The Brewers know what the team will look like in 2014, but what they don’t know is if the squad they put together has what it takes to meet the organization’s expectations. To help guide fans along, here are 10 questions to ask about Milwaukee’s 2014 season.
If Rickie Weeks is able to break out of his slump and return to his All-Star form then fans better buckle up because it’s going to be an exciting ride. Weeks has the ability to change Milwaukee’s course this year. If he plays well then the Brewers have one additional weapon to get them to where they’re trying to go. If he keeps on the same path that he’s been on for the past couple of years then Milwaukee could be in trouble.
If Weeks is unable to pull it together in a contract year then his career is probably over. At that point, the Brewers will have to make the decision whether to make Scooter Gennett the starter at second base or keep with Weeks in hopes that he will hit his way out of his continuous slump. Gennett proved to be an asset last season so putting him a starting role wouldn’t be that bad.
Milwaukee has the potential to have the best starting rotation in baseball. However, that all depends on what kind of performances Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza want to give. All three are capable of putting forth top-notch efforts. In fact, all three just might put up ace numbers this season. Gallardo, Lohse and Garza have the stuff to be successful. It’s just a matter if all three can get on the same page at the same time.
Believe it or not, the biggest concern isn’t pitching. It’s whether or not the Brewers will have the firepower to score enough runs to win games. On paper, Milwaukee has enough talented hitters to get the job done. However, it will all come down to if they can stay healthy. Not to mention, actually hit at the level they are supposed to.
If Aramis Ramirez can stay healthy then another 50 doubles and 100 runs batted in could be in order. Unfortunately, if health becomes an issue, as it did last season, then the Brewers will miss out on a quality offensive talent that could be the reason they don’t make the playoffs. Ramirez’s health will directly result in the success of the team as well as the players around him in the lineup.
Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez showed the baseball world what they’re capable of accomplishing when everything falls into place. It’s a shame that both of their incredibly successful performances were wasted on a below-.500 season. Everyone wants to know if Segura and Gomez have a similar performance in store for 2014. If they do, the Brewers could push for the National League Central division title.
There’s no question Ron Roenicke is on the hot season this season. The reality is he hasn’t accomplished much since 2011, his first year as manager of the Brewers. If Milwaukee is unable to pull it together and give the fans want they want, there’s a good chance Roenicke will be out of a job in 2015. The main reason is because the Brewers will have the highest payroll in franchise history, which means Mark Attanasio expects results.
Jim Henderson was solid in the closer role last season, but he has struggled mightily in spring training. Milwaukee knows all about what happens when a closer is unable to shut the door on opponents. It can be the difference between a playoff year and dismal season. Henderson has the stuff and intelligence to be the closer the Brewers deserve. I fully expect him to pull it together in time for the regular season.
One of the top questions on the mind of every Brewers fan is whether Milwaukee has what it takes to make the playoffs a legitimate possibility. I might be in the minority, but I believe the Brewers have the pitching, the offense and the manager to clinch a postseason berth in 2014. Just like any other team, all of the right pieces have to fall into place. The good news is the Brewers have the right stuff to get there. It’s just a matter of pullin
The overall success of the Brewers in 2014 will come down to the success of Ryan Braun. If he can ignore the boo birds that will fly his way and remain positive, then Milwaukee will have a shot. Of course, the Brewers are in big trouble if he folds under the pressure. The hope is that Braun will use his frustration and anger to put together a MVP season that will put his name as well as the team back on the map.
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