Paring Down to 25 Men

The Milwaukee Brewers made a number of roster moves today as they move ever closer to a final 25-man roster with which to take to Miller Park and open the regular season on Friday, April 6.

  • Three players were optioned to Triple-A Nashville today. They are catcher Martin Maldonado, left-handed relief pitcher Zach Braddock, and infielder Taylor Green.
  • Right-handed relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler was placed on the 15-day DL as he increases his arm strength following his temporary shutdown.
  • Zelous Wheeler was also lost on waivers today to the Baltimore Orioles.
    • This was clearly a move made to open a spot on the 40-man roster. The organization no doubt wanted to keep Wheeler had they been able to sneak him through waivers.

This leaves the 40-man roster at (in essence) 38 players while leaving 29 players in big league camp with a shot at making the 25-man roster.

The “locks” to make the team are:

  • Starting Pitchers (5 spots)
    • RHP – Yovani Gallardo
    • RHP – Zack Greinke
    • LHP – Chris Narveson
    • LHP – Randy Wolf
  • Relief Pitchers (7)
    • RHP – John Axford – Closer
    • RHP – Marco Estrada
    • RHP – Kameron Loe
    • RHP – Francisco Rodriguez
    • RHP – Jose Veras
  • Catchers (2)
    • Jonathan Lucroy
    • George Kottaras
  • Infielders (6)
    • Mat Gamel
    • Alex Gonzalez
    • Cesar Izturis (NRI – informed today that he would be added to the big league roster)
    • Aramis Ramirez
    • Rickie Weeks
  • Outfielders (5)
    • Norichika Aoki
    • Ryan Braun
    • Carlos Gomez
    • Nyjer Morgan

That’s 20 “locks” (as much as anybody can be a lock). That leaves fives spots to be decided. It’s one starting spot, two bullpen spots, an IF spot and an OF spot.

The borderline candidates list includes two normal locks who could still open the season on the disabled list, a handful of relief pitchers fighting for two open spots, and a list of NRIs hoping to earn their way onto the roster.

  • Players recovering from injury who would otherwise be locks
    • RF – Corey Hart
    • SP – Shaun Marcum
  • Relief pitchers competing for open spots
    • RHP – Tim Dillard
    • RHP – Mike McClendon
    • LHP – Manny Parra
    • LHP – Juan Perez – NRI
  • Infielder/Outfielders
    • 1B/LF/RF – Travis Ishikawa – NRI
    • 1B/2B/3B – Brooks Conrad – NRI
    • SS/2B/LF – Edwin Maysonet – NRI

Obviously if Hart and Marcum are healthy enough to go, they’ll have their spots on the roster.

Let’s work under the assumption of health for those two. That leaves us with the two bullpen spots and one infield spot.

The situation for the bullpen arms is that Dillard and Parra are out of options while McClendon has options remaining and Perez has missed significant time after suffering a partially-collapsed lung and will likely start the season either on the minor league DL or in extended Spring Training to build up his arm strength.

I really only see this breaking down in such a way that Parra and Dillard make the club.

The infielders are a bit trickier on the surface but after the optioning of Green, it appears that Conrad is the likely choice to the make the team. He is a switch-hitter who can provide a bit of power off the bench and is used to that role during his time in the Major Leagues.

Following today’s announcement that Izturis was told he would make the roster, Maysonet’s chances were significantly decreased. The team simply doesn’t need a second light-hitting backup infielder to start the year when they can simply keep him at Triple-A and have him available for a call up if need be.

As for Ishikawa, if Corey Hart isn’t healthy enough to make the club there is a chance Ishikawa could head north with the Brewers, but I have a feeling that he’ll simply be placed at Triple-A to begin the year and provide recallable depth should the need for it arise.

In other words, though there is always a bit of doubt until the final announcements are made, the 25 men with the best chances to compose the 25-man roster have discerned themselves.

Now it’s just a matter of time (and health) until it’s all made official.

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