One can look at the 2012 season and say that the organization is still years away from an appearance in the post season...but can they? The foundation still remains on the field, let's take a look:
Between Lucroy and Maldonado, the Brewers future at this position is outstanding. No worries behind the dish for years to come. Luc signed for the next 4 years, and Martin is under team control for at least that long.
Corey Hart looks like he has a new position. His defense has been rock solid, and his offensive numbers speak for themself. It would be quite risky to turn the position over to Mat Gamel at this point.
Rickie Weeks is not going anywhere soon. His disappointing season in 2012 should be a thing of the past, looking forward. He has been a big part of the Brewers success the past few seasons.
Jean Segura has the inside line on this position. If he turns out to be 80% of what most project him to be, the Brewers are fine at shortstop.
Aramis Ramirez is exactly what everyone thought he would be. Slow starter, and then puts together powerful numbers the final 4 months of the season. Signed for 2 more years, the crew sits well at 3rd.
Ryan Braun's name speaks for itself. It's a pleasure following Braun’s career, enjoy it.
Will the real Carlos Gomez please stand up? Let's see how this position shakes out. Logan Schafer is ready to go if Gomez returns to what he has been. Cross your fingers with Gomez, and if he continues to produce, this could be a key factor moving forward.
Aoki has been one of the bright spots in 2012. Some questioned the move, but Nori is good, and will help in 2013.
This is one department that is going to be the most interesting. Let's say for the sake of this writing, that Marcum re-signs with the crew. A rotation of Yo, Marcum, Fiers, (insert veteran starter here), and Thornburg could be what the 2013 Brewers are going with. Is this the rotation that brings them to the Post Season? Quite honestly, my answer is why not? It can.
Most teams re-tool their pen on a semi regular basis, and the brewers certainly will have to do something about it. With K Rod flaming out, Axford struggling for the first time in a Brewers uniform, the team must settle the pen down. I look for the crew to add 2 bullpen pitchers to the 2013 pen. Ax does not have to be the closer, and may be fine in that 8th inning role. Bottom line, new names in the pen, including a new bullpen coach.
All of the above being said, on a given game in 2013, your starting line-up could be:
RF Nori Aoki
CF Carlos Gomez
LF Ryan Braun
3B Aramis Ramirez
1B Corey Hart
2B Rickie Weeks
C Jonathan Lucroy
SS Jean Segura
P Yovani Gallardo
Hey Tim. I agree with most of your 2013 assessment. Pitching is a big question mark. Hopefully Narveson, Estrada, Thornburg or Peralta will come through and be consistently effective. I'd like to see Rodgers moved to the bullpen in hopes to keep him healthy.
As far as the lineup goes...why do you like Gomez in the 2 hole? He's have a good year, and barely above .300 OBP. Braun and ARam need runners on. I think Weeks needs to be at the top with Aoki. They are the best table setters we have. Gomez hitting 7th would add life to the bottom of the order because when he gets on, it's often a run. He just has trouble getting on base.
For me, 2013 is the closing of the window for this team. If they struggle again, then it's time to do an Astro-like fire sale with only Braun and maybe LuCroy off the market.
Scott in Grafton
Are the Brewers that far away?
The starting rotation that you listed is very weak. The Brewers traded away the farm the past few years and will be paying for it the next 5 years.