Brewers face key games before All-Star break

Brewers face key games before All-Star break

CINCINNATI -- The next two or three weeks could determine the Brewers' trajectory for the next two to three years, manager Ron Roenicke said Wednesday before the Brewers salvaged an 8-4 win in their series against the National League Central-leading Reds.

Roenicke is in regular communication with Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin, who must decide before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline whether to add to or subtract from a team that is 7 1/2 games off the Reds' pace.

"Last year, we were in a position where we were looking to, 'What can we do to improve this team?'" Roenicke said. "Doug is still looking at it that way, but there comes a time when you also have to worry about what's going to happen next year and the year after. We'll see where we are in two, three weeks."

The remaining games before the All-Star break are particularly crucial. After a day off at home on Thursday, the Brewers play 10 games in as many days against the D-backs, Marlins and Astros before a four-day respite.

Melvin has said he will use that pause in the schedule to mull decisions about the team's direction.

"It's important to where we're going to be in the next couple of years, and what direction we're taking with some of the younger guys or re-signing the pitching, [which] is our main free agents this year," Roenicke said. "What are we going to do in that direction?"

Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Francisco Rodriguez will be free agents at the end of the season. Randy Wolf would be a free agent if the Brewers decline his $10 million option.

"I'm glad I don't have to make any of those decisions," said left fielder Ryan Braun, who is signed through at least 2020. "It's challenging, obviously. And different people have different expectations."

"[Time] is getting shorter, but there's still time," Roenicke said. "With where we're at in the division, there's still plenty of time. It's a long ways to the end of the season, but we also need to see that we have the club that we can turn this thing around. Do we have that personnel that's able to do it? I still know that we do, but somewhere in there, we have to start playing that way."