Milwaukee Brewers ready for spring training: ‘All the boys are super fired up’

MILWAUKEE — If the recent moves by the Milwaukee Brewers are any indication — the rebuild is over. Winning is now the expectation and spring training is still six days away.

In a matter of minutes, late in January, a relatively sleepy off-season for the Brewers quickly became awakened by a couple of thunderbolts. A trade for Christian Yelich, and the signing of free agent, Lorenzo Cain.

“I was actually doing an interview in Cincinnati when we signed both of those guys. So during the break it was like, wait, you guys got Yelich. Wait, you got Cain. I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ My jaw was on the floor,” said Brent Suter, Brewers’ pitcher.

The news spread from player to player.

“With it happening within ten or 15 minutes, it was like whoa. That was kind of crazy,” said Jimmy Nelson, Brewers’ pitcher.

Travis Shaw

“I hadn’t looked that day and then all of a sudden that happens back to back,” said Brewers’ third baseman, Travis Shaw. “I was talking to somebody and then the Cain deal broke. I couldn’t, I had to double take. I was like hold on, we just got both of those?”

It even caused a problem for Zach Davies’ phone.

“Getting out of the car, getting ready for a workout, saw the news scrolled through and dropped it as soon as I got out,” said Davies. “Got it fixed. It wasn’t totally broken so I didn’t have to replace the whole thing.”

Zach Davies

Owner Mark Attanasio’s smile at the Brewers On Deck program, days after the moves, was only overshadowed by his pure excitement for what the upcoming season could mean.

“Craig reminded me we have to still win some games. And so, we still have to go out and have this all come together. But, and then we’ll see how fast the progress is going…I think we can say now, we’re ahead of schedule,” said Attanasio.

Clearly, Brewers On Deck weekend, helped welcome Yelich to his new surroundings and it served as a reminder to Cain, who was a Brewer many years ago.

Lorenzo Cain

“It’s completely different because now, I’m the older guy now. So, when I first got called up it was Prince. It was Braun. It was Rickie Weeks, Couns, Hoffman, you know, those were the guys. And I was a young guy…it’s a lot looser than it used to be. But it’s all going to be a great time,” said Cain.

“You can see how close of a group this is,” Yelich said. “Everybody really gets along. It seems like a great group of guys. I’m just excited to be a part of it, contribute to what they already had going on here.”

When the off season ends and spring training begins, the celebration will shift to a more serious, business-like demeanor.

“We have a lot of good players in there and we’ll see who makes it to opening day,” Shaw said.

And when the work in Phoenix is underway, the expectations from the outside will clearly be realized by the players, like Ryan Braun — trying to build on their 86 wins in 2017.

“You can sense the energy in the room. All the boys are super fired up. Everybody’s, I think, that much more excited about spring training and looking forward to the season and understanding that the expectation is now to win,” Braun said.

Mark Attanasio

As the off season nears its end and the uproar from late January quiets down, there could be moves that still might bring some more thunderbolts to liven things up once again.

“If the right situation comes along, we can take advantage of it,” said Attanasio. “We could sing a big pitcher.”

The Brewers pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training on Wednesday, February 14th, with the position players following six days later on February 20th.