Following offseason deals to acquire Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, Milwaukee is sure to be a trendy pick by many in the media to win the NL Central, if not the World Series. Of course, there will still be doubters — especially from those covering other teams in the division. Take, for example, Joe Strauss from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Q.: I know it’s early, but what does your NL Central projected standings look like at this point?
Joe Strauss: Many will lampoon this, but …
I like St. Louis and Chicago 1 and 2 (in either order), and Cincinnati and Milwaukee 3 and 4. The same folks who consumed the Brewer Kool-Aid last season have absolutely OD’d on the trade for Greinke. I’m not sold but am impressed by Marcum’s potential for a breakout. The Brewers have serious defense and depth issues (sound familiar?).
The Garza trade was huge for the Cubs. Zambrano was 8-0 in his last 11 starts last season. When Big Z rolls, the Cubs are a force. Cincinnati will see a regression to the mean by several of their big guns. Scott Rolen is every much a concern to the Reds as Berkman is to the Cardinals. Lot of high ceilings but also a lot of variables within their rotation. Houston and Pittsburgh occupy their obvious slots.
I realize that we as Brewers fans are probably looking at this through blue-and-gold glasses, but fourth place? Apparently the Brewers are going to get worse.
Too bad they couldn’t add as much grit and leadership as the Cardinals did this year. If you read further in the Strauss mailbag, you see that Ryan Theriot “appears the favorite to bat leadoff.” How could anyone possibly compete with that?