By Bob Brainerd Special to Published May 30, 2012 at 6:11 PM

With the current state of the Milwaukee Brewers, who now resemble their Triple A Nashville Sounds team more than a collection of Major Leaguers, I thought it might be entertaining and amusing to dial up some Brew Crew players from yesteryear who could certainly help the team if they were still, indeed, in the organization.

This isn't an exercise to call out general manager Doug Melvin for moving a chess piece then wishing he didn't take his fingers off for a snap-back retreat. Let's just have some fun and conjure up thoughts of what a baseball team in Milwaukee might look like had they stood pat with certain players, and the digits they are compiling with their current clubs translated to similar numbers with the Brewers.

Nelson Cruz

How terrific would Cruz look in the Brewers outfield the last handful of seasons? Imagine Braun in left, Hart in center and Cruz in right. We have to imagine it because Cruz was dealt to Texas in the six-player Carlos Lee deal in 2006 when it became apparent Lee would not sign a long-term deal to stay in Milwaukee. The Brewers got Francisco Cordero, who didn't stick around as a closer for very long, plus Kevin Mench and Laynce Nix, while the Rangers got an eventual All Star in Cruz, who tore it up in the 2011 post-season.

Brett Lawrie

To borrow the popular "you have to give up something to get something" slogan, a desperate and pitching-thin Brewers team parted with their former top draft pick to get Shaun Marcum in return from Toronto. Without Marcum, perhaps the Brewers never have made it to the post-season in 2011. But how would Lawrie look at third base right now? A terrific and gifted young player with a fiery attitude, Lawrie has been compared to Ryan Braun for his upside ability. Two Brauns on the same team? Wishful thinking.

Alcides Escobar

Same formula here as the Marcum-Lawrie deal, because to acquire Zack Greinke from Kansas City, the Brewers had to part with four prospects, including Milwaukee's starting shortstop. Outfielder Lorenzo Cain and Pitcher Jeremy Jeffress would have been nice complement players had they stuck around, but Escobar was the big blow for a team that is coughing dry heaves when it comes to cultivating major league ready shortstops in their farm system. Escobar fields well, as Brewers fans remember, and is now hitting over .300 with the Royals. Escobar would certainly been a nice piece in the Brewers current infield, with an upside to continue blossoming at only 25 years of age.

Jake Odorizzi

While we're at it, the fourth player in that Greinke deal was a Double A pitcher at the time of the transaction, but currently pitches in Triple A Omaha for Kansas City. Odorizzi is a former first-round pick of Milwaukee in 2008 who has moved up the organizational food chain of Kansas City. When injuries occur in the big clubs rotation, it sure would be nice to bring up someone like this right-hander, or at the very least, have someone lurking in the minor leagues like Odorizzi who is ready to pounce on a starting job very soon.

Chris Capuano

His medical chart was all over the board, but Chris Capuano was a fighter who came back from Tommy John surgery twice. The left-hander couldn't convince the Brewers he was ready to remain a reliable starting pitcher following the 2010 season, so he latched on with the Mets in 2011 and then this season with the Dodgers, where Capuano is reborn on the bump. Capuano has made nine straight starts giving up three earned runs or fewer, with a sparkling ERA of 2.14 over 10 games started. His 7-1 record in Los Angeles has been one of the more underrated pickups of the season, and the 33-year-old was always a fan and media favorite at Miller Park.

J.J. Hardy

If the Escobar idea doesn't float, how about still having the services of Hardy? The cost was Carlos Gomez, which at the time was one of those one-for-one, change-of-scenery trades made with the Twins. Yes, Hardy struggled at the plate in 2009 and was even sent down to the minors in August of that season. Now with the Orioles, Hardy has decent pop with 10 home runs and 24 RBI during the first two months of this season, projecting out to similar numbers he mustered in 2011 (30 HR, 80 RBI).

One could nit-pick, dig deeper and pine for the days of Carlos Lee, Jerry Hairston and Tony Gwynn, who were either traded or sent off to find greener pastures with another club. But not every deal makes the fans put on their fantasy GM cap and wish they were in charge of player personnel moves that wouldn't backfire or cause head-slapping regret seasons later.

After all, who seriously wants Matt LaPorta back?

Bob Brainerd Special to
Born and raised in Milwaukee, what better outlet for Bob to unleash his rambling bits of trivial information than right here with

Bob currently does play-by-play at Time Warner Cable Sports 32, calling Wisconsin Timber Rattlers games in Appleton as well as the area high school football and basketball scene. During an earlier association with FS Wisconsin, his list of teams and duties have included the Packers, Bucks, Brewers and the WIAA State Championships.

During his life before cable, Bob spent seven seasons as a reporter and producer of "Preps Plus: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel High School Sports Show."

And the joke is, Bob has a golf shirt from all four Milwaukee television stations. Sad, but true: Bob has had sports and news anchor/reporter/producer stints at WTMJ, WISN, WDJT and WITI.

His first duty out of college (UW-Oshkosh) was radio and TV work in Eau Claire. Bob spent nearly a decade at WEAU-TV as a sports director and reporter.

You may have heard Bob's pipes around town as well. He has done play-by-play for the Milwaukee Mustangs, Milwaukee Iron, and UW-Milwaukee men's and women's basketball. Bob was the public address announcer for five seasons for both the Marquette men and women's basketball squads. This season, you can catch the starting lineups of the UW-Milwaukee Panther men's games with Bob behind the mic.

A Brookfield Central graduate, Bob's love and passion for sports began at an early age, when paper football leagues, and Wiffle Ball All Star Games were all the rage in the neighborhood.