The Brewers may not be in the playoffs this year, but there are several former Brewers that we can root for.
The Rangers have won the AL West and are fighting with the Red Sox for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Three former Brewers are on their roster and are helping the Rangers in their push to the World Series.
Jonathan Lucroy was traded to the Rangers at the trade deadline after he nixed a deal with the Indians. The Rangers could not be happier. Lucroy is hitting .281 with 10 home runs and 28 RBI in 43 games since the trade.
Behind the plate, Lucroy made an immediate impact. The Ranger starters had a 6.05 ERA in July, and improved to 3.89 in August. Lucroy’s presence has solidified the Ranger staff and they will need that in order to make a deep playoff run.
Jeremy Jeffress went to the Rangers in the same deal that sent Lucroy over. In his first 9 games, he gave up 4 earned runs in 9 innings, striking out 6 and walking 5. Then, on August 26, he was arrested for DUI.
Jeffress rejoined the Rangers and pitched against his former team on September 26. He faced 4 batters, retiring the last batter in the 7th and pitching a 1-2-3 8th inning. The Rangers lost the game 8-3, but Ranger fans should like the fact that they have a solid reliever back in the pen.
Carlos Gomez has been having a rough time since he was traded to the Astros last season at the deadline. He hit just .221 since the trade with 9 home runs and 42 RBI in 126 games. That prompted the Astros to release him on August 18.
The Rangers picked him up 2 days later, and they have been happy with the results. He is hitting .275 with 6 home runs and 18 RBI in just 29 games with the Rangers. He has been inserted as the starting left fielder and leadoff hitter.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox have won the AL East and are in the hunt for home field advantage in the playoffs.
Aaron Hill was traded to the Red Sox before the All-Star break and took over at third base. He has since lost playing time to Travis Shaw and Yoan Moncada. Hill is still a valuable bat off the bench and can play multiple positions, which could come in handy in the World Series in a National League park.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are currently holding the first Wild Card slot, two games ahead of the Orioles.
Marco Estrada is in the starting rotation for the Blue Jays. He is having a decent season, going 9-9 with a 3.53 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 28 starts. Estrada leads the team with 8.5 strikeouts per 9 innings.
Estrada was traded to the Blue Jays after the 2014 season for first baseman Adam Lind. The Jays have been happy with the results, as he has gone 22-17 with a 3.32 ERA in his 2 seasons with the club.
The Orioles are currently in the second Wild Card slot. They are a game ahead of the Tigers and two ahead of the Mariners.
J.J. Hardy is in his 6th season with the Orioles. He came up in the Brewer organization and was traded to the Twins for Carlos Gomez. He was then traded to the Orioles the following season and has flourished there, winning 3 Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger, and earning his second All-Star selection.
Hardy and third baseman Manny Machado give the Orioles a solid left side of the infield. If the Orioles make a deep playoff run, you can bet that this pair will make their mark.
Yovani Gallardo was traded to the Rangers after 8 seasons with the Brewers, many of which as the ace of the staff. He signed with the Orioles this off season, but he has not lived up to expectations, though the entire Oriole rotation has been underwhelming.
The Tigers are just a game behind the Orioles for the final Wild Card spot.
Casey McGehee was with the Brewers from 2009-2011 and was part of their NL Central winning team. He was traded to the Pirates after that season and bounced around for a few years, including spending a year in Japan.
McGehee signed with the Tigers in the offseason. He has only played in 30 games, mostly at third and a few games at first. He is a role player on this team, a veteran that has experienced the highs and lows of Major League life.
Francisco Rodriguez came to the Brewers in 2011 and assumed the setup role without complaint. He was traded to the Orioles in 2013, but signed with the Brewers again in 2014. He proceeded to earn 44 saves that season and 38 the next. K-Rod was traded to the Tigers in the offseason.
Rodriguez has converted 44 of 49 save opportunities this season. He has become the closer that the Tigers needed, and one that should prove to be valuable if the Tigers can squeak into the playoffs.
The Mariners are still hanging around, ending the day Tuesday just 2 games behind the Orioles for the final Wild Card spot, but they also have to get by the Tigers.
Adam Lind spent most of his career with the Blue Jays before coming to the Brewers last season. He was traded to the Mariners in the offseason and has split time between first base and designated hitter.
Lind has had a down year, but he has still hit 20 home runs and driven in 58. His average is down to a career low .237, though, which may cause some issues in the playoffs.
Nori Aoki started with the Brewers and spent 2 seasons patrolling right field in Milwaukee. He has been a consistent hitter, hitting between .285 and .288 in his first 4 seasons. He helped the Royals get to the World Series in 2014.
Aoki is playing in left field for the Mariners, and he has seen some time in center. He is having a down year, but he is still getting on base and he has scored more runs than he did last year for the Giants.
Nelson Cruz made his Major League debut with the Brewers in 2005, but only had 5 at bats. He was traded to the Rangers as a minor leaguer the next year. He proceeded to hit 157 home runs in 8 seasons before signing as a free agent with the Orioles and leading the league with 40 home runs.
Cruz signed as a free agent with the Mariners last season and led the team with a .302 average, 44 home runs, and 93 RBI. This season, he is leading the team with 41 home runs and 102 RBI. Cruz is an integral part of the Mariner lineup.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants have been in a free fall in the second half, and they are barely hanging on to the second Wild Card spot.
Will Smith came up with the Royals in 2012 and was traded to the Brewers following the 2014 season. He became one of the Brewers’ strongest relievers, leading the league in appearances with 78 appearances in 2014 and having another 76 the next season.
This season was marred by a torn LCL that he suffered in Spring Training. Smith was going to split the closer duties with Jeffress, but he was not able to make his first appearance until June 2.
Smith was traded to the Giants at the deadline, but he has not been as dominant ans the team would have liked. He is 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA and 1 blown save. His FIP is just 1.93, which suggests that maybe the Giants’ defense may have something to do with his results.
New York Mets
The Mets are currently in the first Wild Card spot, but they are only a half game ahead of the Giants and a game and a half ahead of the Cardinals.
Jim Henderson made his Major League debut with the Brewers in 2012. He was the closer in Milwaukee in 2013, racking up 28 saves. He was released by the Brewers and picked up by the Mets in the offseason.
Henderson has made 43 appearances for the Mets, striking out 40 in 34 innings. He has been a late inning specialist, rarely pitching more than one inning. He could become valuable in the playoffs, as a deep bullpen can help a team through a short series.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are on the outside looking in, but that can change in a hurry. They are just a game behind the Giants for the second Wild Card spot and a game and a half behind the Mets for the first spot.
Jonathan Broxton spent parts of 2 seasons with the Brewers, coming over in a deadline deal from the Reds and then being sent to the Cardinals at the deadline the following season. He never did get on track with the Brewers and Brewer fans were happy to see him go.
Broxton finished strong for the Cardinals last season, though he has not done as well this season. He is 3-2 with a 4.21 ERA. He has only pitched 57.2 innings in 63 appearances, so he is being used mainly for situational pitching.
Zach Duke signed with the Brewers in 2014 and did a good job. He made 74 appearances and had a 5-1 record with a 2.45 ERA. Duke was traded to the Cardinals from the White Sox at the deadline this season and has a 1.59 ERA in 26 appearances. He is a good addition to the Cardinal bullpen as they try to get into the playoffs.