MILWAUKEE -- He built a contender last season, and now, Milwaukee Brewers General Manager David Stearns hopes he has the right pieces in place to get to the playoffs. FOX6 spoke with Stearns one-on-one, beginning first with the off-season acquisitions of Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain.
"Oh, they are two really talented players, so whenever you are able to bring in players of that level, both on the field and off the field, what we think they can mean for our team both in terms of their contributions in a winning perspective and in the clubhouse, it's impactful. We have confidence in this group coming out of last year. We have confidence in the players that are here and still here, but to bring in that caliber of player, bringing in both of those guys will certainly push us forward," said Stearns.
FOX6's Brandon Cruz: "I know you have said that you are happy where things are, but there is always an opportunity that you'll look at how does that factor in now that spring training is underway and games are already going to start? It almost seems like things are moving quickly here."
"Things are moving quickly. We have a condensed spring training this year, and the time from which position players report to when we have our first games has been cut down by a couple of days, so it does feel like things are accelerating and they are accelerating pretty fast. Having said that, we have also had a really slow off-season, so we have a spring training that's accelerating coming off the heels of a slow off-season and we still have a lot of players who are still available, and so we have to be cognizant of that. We are paying attention to what the market is out there. I've said this before and it's the truth -- I anticipate that this is going to be the group that we go into the season with, but that's not 100 percent and we are still involved in discussions with other players and we will see if something shakes out," said Stearns.
FOX6's Brandon Cruz: "You've already put your mark on the way this organization has moved forward since you got here and it's been relatively a short time. How have the results been maybe different than what your expectations were from the beginning?"
"We came into really last year and we knew we had a group, especially on the position player side, that we thought could be here for a long time -- that we thought could form the core of a very competitive team, so what we did from the position player grouping that allowed us to compete, frankly, was within our expectations to the extent that there were surprises last year, to the extent that we were able to compete in a different way than perhaps we have predicted. I think it stems from our starting rotation. We had a number of pitchers take steps forward last year that really helped us at the Major League level. Probably that's where the advancement as an organization came a little bit faster than I anticipated and now it's our job to build on that," said Stearns.
FOX6's Brandon Cruz: "What are you thinking as you look at this team right now? This camp has just opened up fully. What are you looking at right now?"
"We are looking to build off of the progress that we made last year and we made a lot of progress last year. We think we made a lot of progress over the last two years, and we came a game short of the playoffs last year. We are looking to take that next step forward. That's the end goal. That's where we want to be at the end of the season, but we have a lot of work to do before we get there, so we are focused on day-to-day -- doing our daily work, helping our players get better, making the best possible acquisitions we can to put us in a position where we can consistently compete for a playoff spot," said Stearns.