Predicting Brewers' 2016 season record

Reason for optimism: Tanking sure did help the Cubs and Astros get back to the playoffs in short order.

Reason for pessimism: The first step toward effective tanking would have been to make sure Kyle Lohse got 30 starts again.

The most competitive race in the NL Central might not be for the crown but for last place, and with it a probable top-three pick in the 2017 amateur draft. That's because, like at least a half-dozen other teams across baseball -- including their division mates, the Cincinnati Reds -- the Milwaukee Brewers appear to be in tank mode.

To achieve their goal, which began by trading Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers at last year's trade deadline, Milwaukee's front office traded away Adam Lind, Jean Segura, and Khris Davis this offseason, mostly for players who won't contribute this year, while also replacing the retired Aramis Ramirez with some possible replacement-level combination of Aaron Hill and Will Middlebrooks. (Or is replacement level what they hope for when tanking?)