The Brewers front office has been busy, starting back into the 2016 season. Gone are the former cornerstones of the 2009-2011 era, as Corey Hart and Prince Fielder have both been shipped off to greener pastures. Coming in is a new focus on team defense, pitching, and a nice combo of hitting for average and power. Last year, the Brewers finished 84-78, and showed great improvement in the second half of the season. The starting rotation has settled into their own, with Jed Bradley and John Stilson leading the way. Yovanni Gallardo is still around, and Brandon Morrow was acquired via trade last season as well. The 5th spot in the rotation will be determined in Spring Training, as it will be a 3 man race between newly signed Anibal Sanchez, rookie David Hurlbut, and maybe Manny Banuelos or even James McDonald. The bullpen looks to be stronger than ever, as Jorge Rivera will have full time responsibility of closing up shop for the Crew. Acquired as a part of the Prince Fielder trade, this young man has loads of potential and figures to be a dominant closer from day 1. With Rivera taking over the reigns, Houston Street will be moved to the main set up role along side LHP Cole Nelson. Nelson was the surprise of the year out of the bullpen. Acquired as a part of the Corey Hart trade to Minnesota w/Hurlbut, Nelson was lights out setting up for Street. Coming in to bolster the middle relievers, veterans Adam Wainright and Marc Rzepczynski were brought in as replacements for Joel Zumaya, Ricky Nolasco, and Tom Gorzelanny. Wainright and Rzepczynski will be leaned on heavily to continue to mold the young future bullpen stars of Dan Thomas, Miles Mikolas, and rookie Cuban FA, Jose Lopez. From an offensive standpoint, the absolute biggest move was the acquisition of Justin Upton from the Chicago White Sox. Upton will enjoy the Miller Park confines, and will figure to bat in front of Gold Glove winning 3B Will Middlebrooks, and 1B Phil Wunderlich. SS Paulo Peito and 2B Tilly Boomers figure to start regularly to form a very strong middle infield as well. The remaining outfield positions figure to have 2016 All Star Juan Sanchez to play in LF and 2016 1st Round Pick Clark Francis to hold the edge in center field. Peter Bourjos, Peter Hissey, and maybe Robbie Grossman will all fight for big league roster spots as defensive support to the outfield. The remaining concern for the Brewers will be at catcher. Wilin Rosario deserves a shot to continue to manage the staff from behind the plate, after a 2016 campaign where he hit .285 with 12 HR's through 253 AB's. Acknowledging the lack of depth and rapid decline of former prospect Daniel Butler, the front office aggressively recruited and signed Tanner Murphy and Steve Baron to push for a Major League spot. Waiting in the wings is prospect James McCann though too. McCann was brought over w/Tilly Boomers in the Logan Schafer trade with Detroit and has the most skill/potential of all of the catchers on the Tigers roster. As the season moves to Spring and Opening Day, look for the Brewers to aggressively pursue help here. The young guys to watch this upcoming season will definitely be the mysterious SP Manuel Ruiz from AAA Nashville. The reigning Pitcher of the Year down there, he may see a chance up in the bigs sooner than later if his dominance continues. Elsewhere, names to watch include SS James Croom, RF William Scott, LF Jose Garcia, SP Luis Parra, and SP Milard Petrait. It should be a fun season in Milwaukee, as we look forward to pushing for the NL Central Championship and beyond.