If you’re otherwise unable to keep up on news as it happens throughout the day (via social media, or however), allow me to catch you up on the all the roster news coming out of One Brewers Way over the past several days.
(I’ve tweeted all of this as it happened, but this is a quick summary so it’s all in one place.)
- October 27th
- 3B Luis Jiménez claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- October 30th
- Five players filed for, and were granted, free agency
- Zach Duke
- Tom Gorzelanny
- Lyle Overbay
- Mark Reynolds
- Francisco Rodriguez
- A report came out that the 2015 contract option on Yovani Gallardo had been exercised
- Five players filed for, and were granted, free agency
- October 31st
- Brewers confirm picking up Gallardo’s option
- Rickie Weeks officially became a free agent when the team declined the 2015 option on his contract
- Brewers officially exercised their half of the mutual 2015 option on the contract of Aramis Ramirez
- Ramirez officially has three (3) days — read Monday — to decide whether he will opt in as well or decline the option to become a free agent
- C Juan Centeno claimed off waivers from the New York Mets
Quick thoughts (because you can get a list anywhere):
Jiménez sounds like a great glove with some power who carries a higher average than Reynolds. Truly feels like Doug Melvin found a player worth replacing the veteran with.
Speaking of the free agents, the Brewers could look to bring back either Duke or Gorzelanny (though likely not both) but there’s certainly a tenable position that with Duke’s performance and Gorzelanny’s recent health concerns that they choose to let both sign contracts elsewhere. I’d lean toward them re-signing Duke of the two, though Gorzelanny could be cheaper. Overbay has said publicly that he’s leaning toward retirement. As for Reynolds, when he was simply passed over down the stretch last season, it felt like he dropped out of favor. He was streakier at the plate than I think the Brewers anticipated.
Gallardo’s option getting picked up makes all the sense in the world. I covered that move specifically here before it was confirmed Friday morning.
Rickie Weeks leaving Milwaukee is truly a notable moment. He’s been in the franchise for a long time, and was really the first of the high draft picks which ultimately led to winning seasons and playoff runs. While he never did realize the level of a #2 overall draft pick due mainly to injuries, he was the consummate professional in his time in Milwaukee. I wish him consistent success wherever his career takes him next.
Wanting to bring Ramirez back makes sense to a degree as the Brewers haven’t yet developed an internal replacement at third base. Should he decline his option to seek a multi-year deal elsewhere, the Brewers could turn to Jiménez or another internal option like Jason Rogers who played there in 2014 for the first time since college, or even, assuming he stays as has been rumored, Taylor Green? (Yes, that’s how thin the hot corner has been for the Brewers.)
Finally, as for Centeno, I haven’t had much of a chance to read up on him but I did see that he was a tremendous defensive season in 2013 in the minors though he reportedly regressed this past season. He hit pretty well in the minors in 2014 though. Without another catcher on the 40-man roster outside of the MLB level duo of Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado, it’s nice to have someone readily available who also has minor league options remaining.
Anyway, there’s your end of October round up of the Brewers roster moves over the past few days. Also noteworthy in roster news is that the Washington Nationals declined their option on 1B Adam LaRoche, making him a free agent. He could be a top target in free agency for Doug Melvin
Here is a listing of the MLB salaries of the 26* men earning MLB-level pay from the Milwaukee Brewers as of Opening Day.
Quick math: The figures below total $101,219,338.00
Aramis Ramirez $15,137,803
Matt Garza $12,209,424
Rickie Weeks $12,000,000
Yovani Gallardo $11,500,000
Ryan Braun $11,111,111
Kyle Lohse $11,000,000
Carlos Gomez $7,000,000
Marco Estrada $3,325,000
Francisco Rodriguez $3,250,000
Tom Gorzelanny* $3,150,000
Jonathan Lucroy $2,100,000
Mark Reynolds $2,000,000
Lyle Overbay $1,500,000
Zach Duke $850,000
Jean Segura $534,000
Wily Peralta $515,000
Jim Henderson $512,000
Brandon Kintzler $507,000
Logan Schafer $505,000
Tyler Thornburg $505,000
Scooter Gennett $504,000
Khris Davis $503,000
Jeff Bianchi $ 502,000
Martin Maldonado $ 502,000
Will Smith $502,000
Wei-Chung Wang $500,000
*Tom Gorzelanny is on the 15-day Disabled List to begin the season
Source: USA Today
Here is the breakdown of the Opening Day 25-man roster.
59 Zach Duke* – LHP
41 Marco Estrada – RHP
49 Yovani Gallardo – RHP
22 Matt Garza – RHP
29 Jim Henderson – RHP
53 Brandon Kintzler – RHP
26 Kyle Lohse – RHP
38 Wily Peralta – RHP
57 Francisco Rodriguez – RHP
13 Will Smith – LHP
30 Tyler Thornburg – RHP
51 Wei-Chung Wang – LHP
20 Jonathan Lucroy
12 Martin Maldonado
14 Jeff Bianchi
2 Scooter Gennett
24 Lyle Overbay
16 Aramis Ramirez
7 Mark Reynolds
9 Jean Segura
23 Rickie Weeks
8 Ryan Braun
18 Khris Davis
27 Carlos Gomez
1 Logan Schafer
DISABLED LIST (1)
32 Tom Gorzelanny LHP (left shoulder)
10 Ron Roenicke – Manager
33 Mike Guerrero – Coach
35 Garth Iorg – 1B Coach
39 Rick Kranitz – Pitching Coach
36 Jerry Narron – Bench Coach
37 Johnny Narron – Hitting Coach
6 Ed Sedar – 3B Coach
31 John Shelby – Outfield Coach
43 Lee Tunnell – Bullpen Coach
56 Joe Crawford – Coaching Assistant
55 Marcus Hanel – Bullpen Catcher
On the heels of yesterday’s revelation that Juan Francisco’s locker at Maryvale Baseball Park was empty, the Brewers announced this morning that Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay have been informed that they have made the 25-man roster.
Both men were signed to minor-league deals (with invitations to Major League camp) in the off-season and given the opportunity to compete for what was basically an open position in first base.
Francisco put in a lot of time at first for Milwaukee in 2013, a season which saw a historically poor combined statistical performance. He was learning first base on the fly last year which showed in his lackluster defense. He also struck out at an alarming rate, which caused the Brewers to suggest a change to his batting mechanics, something that was showing improvement over winter ball and so far this spring.
For his part, Francisco hit well this spring — .346/.500/.731 with 8 BB, 9 K in 26 AB, displaying his known power and increased patience albeit while still striking out. There wasn’t much else that he could have done make the roster. It was his track record over parts of five seasons in the big leagues that truly worked against him in the end.
Overbay, 37, hit very poorly this spring — .114/.279/.114 with 8 BB, 15 K in 35 AB — but his bat wasn’t why he was signed in the first place. Long regarded as an above average defender at first base, Overbay gives the Brewers a level of certainty that they at no time had in 2013. Even more than Reynolds who is a natural third baseman but who has played his fair share of first over the last few seasons, Overbay is a true first baseman who can still pick it. His 6’2″ frame adds to his ability to stretch for balls and he’s maintained much of his defensive value.
For the record, Overbay did hit okay against just right-handed pitching in 2013. But he absolutely shouldn’t ever start against a left-handed pitcher. Manager Ron Roenicke should be monitoring the opposing probable starters when determining appropriate days to move Reynolds off of first either to spell Aramis Ramirez at third or just to give Reynolds himself a day off.
As for Francisco’s future? Nothing was announced officially by the team but he won’t be with the team. Whether the specific language is DFA so they have the chance to trade him or simple release waivers, there is the three day window in which other teams have a chance to claim the high-potential, low-results slugger.
Reynolds will be the primary starting first baseman, with Overbay providing relief. Reynolds doesn’t own much of a career platoon split at all. I’ll get more into that tomorrow though as it’ll be Reynolds’ turn in “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” then.
For now, congratulations to Reynolds and Overbay. Let’s hope it’s the right combination for success on the field.
Let’s also hope that losing Francisco doesn’t come back to haunt Milwaukee.
UPDATE: Click for the original JSOnline article for the following quotes from Ron Roenicke regarding the decision. The JSOnline blog post was written by Todd Rosiak.
“We’re going with two guys that their track record is what we’re looking at,” said manager Ron Roenicke. “We feel we have better defense that way. I’ve been frustrated a little bit with the way we’re playing our defense, as has Doug (Melvin).
“We really feel like we’re going to pitch well this season. And because of that, we feel like we need to play good defense. When they talk about your defense being strong up the middle, we think we should be.
“I know how important it is at first base, to make plays there and pick up your pitching staff. That’s kind of what we’ve done. Reynolds is the versatile guy that Francisco was with first and third, and they’re kind of the same guy as power numbers and strikeouts.”
“Spring training is to get in shape. Spring training is not to see who you think should be on the team. If you did that, there would be some weird stuff happening every year,” he said. “Any of these guys, the veterans, could walk in and hit .200. Does that mean you don’t keep them on the team?
“Spring training is not on numbers. It isn’t. That’s the misleading thing that people don’t understand. The people that I look up to in this game always say, ‘Do not be misled by spring training,’ and it’s the truth.
“There is that occasion when you have two guys coming in and you’re not familiar with them and then you may make a decision on spring training.”
“Juan, he has improved. We all saw it,” Roenicke said. “Is some of it because he was coming out of winter ball? I don’t want to downplay what Juan did here because Juan did everything he could to help himself make this team. But the skill set, we feel, of the other two really fits better with what we’re trying to accomplish.”
We’re on the precipice of Opening Day, but there are still some decisions awaiting the front office staff of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Most pressing, if not most important, is how they will construct the 25-man roster to begin the 2014 regular season. In this, they’ve got some options.
Let’s assume a couple of things off the top here. First, a standard 13 hitter, 12 pitcher roster split. Second, that we’re all aware that things will change throughout the season and plenty of the players who don’t make the Opening Day roster will don a Brewers uniform at some point in 2014.
I’ll lay out the different roster groupings and then explain what went into my decisions thereafter. Cool?
With that, to the list!
Starting Pitchers (5)
- Yovani Gallardo
- Kyle Lohse
- Marco Estrada
- Matt Garza
- Wily Peralta
I did my best educated guess at the order here too. It was announced that Gallardo has Opening Day honors and that Lohse will follow in Game 2. It was also hinted that Garza could pitch the opener in Boston, but that isn’t for sure yet…at least not publicly. Couple that with how well Estrada has pitched and he’s the superior choice against Atlanta in Game 3 than is Peralta.
The wrinkle here is that the Brewers have the opportunity to start the season with four starters because of the off-days scheduled. They don’t need a fifth starting pitcher until mid-April. If they do that, Peralta would start with Nashville to stay on rotation.
Relief Pitchers (7)
(with one more starting on DL)
- Jim Henderson
- Francisco Rodriguez
- Will Smith*
- Brandon Kintzler
- Wei-Chung Wang*
- Rob Wooten
- Alfredo Figaro (Alternative: Tyler Thornburg)
- Tom Gorzelanny* (DL)
Henderson is the incumbent closer. Rodriguez was brought in on a MLB deal and has the longest track record out of any of the options. Smith has been great this spring after being acquired in trade. Kintzler was very good last year and has a spot locked up. Wang makes it in part because of how well he’s thrown but also because of the Rule V circumstances. Wooten pitched well enough in his time last year that he gets one of my “open” jobs. He’s certainly in a fungible position, though, as he’s got minor league options remaining.
For the final active spot, I’m going with Alfredo Figaro. I know that Tyler Thornburg is under consideration for that job, but I think that they’ll realize that he’s more valuable staying stretched out at Nashville in order to cover the inevitable first injury to the starting rotation than he is in pitching at best every other day in Milwaukee as the long man. Figaro filled the long relief role admirably last year as his stuff played up out of the bullpen.
Wooten, Figaro, and Thornburg all have at least one minor league option remaining so there’s no real consideration of roster depth when making any decisions concering the three. And I think we’ll be seeing all of them pitch at Miller Park in 2014 at one point or another.
As for non-roster invitee Zach Duke, I think that the Brewers have liked what they’ve seen but with Wang making good (so far), there really isn’t room for Duke to begin the season. The veteran lefty is on a minor-league deal, so most likely he’ll simply be assigned to Nashville to start.
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Martin Maldonado
They’re the only two on the 40-man and that’s because they’re the two best in the organization. Nothing more needs to be said here.
- Mark Reynolds
- Rickie Weeks
- Jean Segura
- Aramis Ramirez
- Juan Francisco** (Alternative: Lyle Overbay)
- Scooter Gennett**
- Jeff Bianchi (Alternative: Elian Herrera)
Reynolds was signed to a minor-league deal for roster considerations at the time. He’s got a job. Weeks is the longest-tenured player in the organization right now and isn’t moveable (yet). Segura and Ramirez are obvious inclusions. Gennett comes along if they go with two second basemen, which has been the hottest talk of late.
Despite all the talk to the contrary lately, I still think that if they must choose between them, Francisco’s potential, relative youth, power, and increased patience this spring outweight Overbay’s veteran savvy, locker room presence, and far superior defense. That said, I can absolutely see a scenario in which they trade Francisco for an asset and keep Overbay. Maybe I’m projecting Francisco simply out of hope.
The other hotly contested job has been the utility infielder role. Jeff Bianchi filled the role last year with middling success. The biggest challenger to Bianchi’s incumbency has been the 40-man rostered Elian Herrera, who was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers over the winter. They’ve both hit, they both have defensive versatility. The differences that matter: Bianchi is a better defender at shortstop. Herrera is a much more natural outfielder (which is big when you’ve only got four rostered). Herrera is a switch hitter. Bianchi is out of options; Herrera has one remaining. It is that last point that I think will be the deciding factor. Herrera will start at Nashville and would absolutley be the first man called upon should an injury befall any infielder on the big league roster.
For the record: Should they decide that they can forego two second basemen to start the year to even the roster out a bit a more, I think Herrera would make the club over a fifth true outfielder.
- Khris Davis
- Carlos Gomez
- Ryan Braun
- Logan Schafer**
Another easy prediction. Schafer could see some time starting in left field, but as the only man on the projected roster that can backup centerfield, he’ll likely be providing coverage from the bench more often than not.
* - Throws left-handed ** - Bats left-handed ---
So there you have it.
I welcome feedback and want to hear your opinions. Do you agree? Disagree? Think I’m overlooking an important detail or better player? Look down there…a “Comments” section.
Welcome back to the countdown!
We’re 24 days away from Opening Day (and it’s late in the day) so let’s get to it as we revisit an old friend…
Not that I did “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” back when the blog first started, but Lyle Stefan Overbay’s last year in Milwaukee was was 2005. We launched the Brewer Nation blog on MLBlogs.com in January of 2006. Our paths haven’t really truly crossed except for a brief span of time before the 2013 season when Overbay’s services were available and it was suggested that Milwaukee might be a fit. That never materialized, but that’s about all the coverage I’ve done of Overbay. As you can see from my first draft though, it’s not like I don’t know who he is.
Or maybe I should say, who he was.
Back in 2004, when he was setting the Brewers’ single-season doubles record, and in 2005 when a solid season was posted again, Overbay was a fan favorite who brought solid glove work and a good stick to the field every day. The problem is, that was 10 years ago and Overbay isn’t that guy anymore. And as fun as it would be to chant “OOOO!” at full throat in Miller Park, reliving a solid contributor, it’d be for the sake of pure nostalgia at this point. Overbay can no longer produce at a high enough level to warrant the kind of playing time he’d get even in a hard platoon which Mark Reynolds at first base.
Last year, against right-handed pitching, Overbay slashed .258/.317/.432. That’s not great, though it’s better than most of what the Brewers got at first base in 2013. As for facing left-handed pitching, Overbay slashed .190/.232/.284 which is flat out awful.
The main reason that Overbay is involved in the first base position battle is his defense. He’s still a solid glove man at first and his 6’2″ frame doesn’t regress.
Look, let’s cut to the case. Overbay isn’t likely to head north with the team. Between Juan Francisco’s age and potential and Overbay’s offensive outage, there doesn’t look to be any room to carry three first baseman types.
Time will tell, and he hasn’t been reassigned to the minor league side yet (after all, he signed a MiLB contract), but it’s pretty damning to his chances given the situation and state of affaris.
I almost didn’t bother to write this quick profile, but he is in camp so I may as well.
Do I think he’ll still be in camp two weeks from now? That’s a different story altogether.
But Overbay has a chance. That’s all you can ask for.
Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:
- #25 Hunter Morris
- #26 Kyle Lohse
- #27 Carlos Gomez
- #29 Jim Henderson
- #30 Tyler Thornburg
- #32 Tom Gorzelanny
- #38 Wily Peralta
- #40 Johnny Hellweg
- #41 Marco Estrada
- #45 Alfredo Figaro
- #46 Hiram Burgos
- #47 Rob Wooten
- #49 Yovani Gallardo
- #50 José De La Torre
- #51 Wei-Chung Wang
- #52 Jimmy Nelson
- #53 Brandon Kintzler
- #54 Michael Blazek
- #58 Ariel Peña
- #59 Zach Duke
- #60 Kevin Shackelford
- #61 Jason Rogers
- #63 Brooks Hall
- #64 Mike Fiers
- #65 Irving Falu
- #66 Robinzon Diaz
- BONUS COLUMN: #77 David Goforth, #76 Kevin Mattison, #75 Mitch Haniger, #74 Michael Olmstead, #73 Kentrail Davis, #72 Cameron Garfield, #71 Adam Weisenburger, #70 Dustin Molleken, #67 Eugenio Velez
Earlier today, the Brewers finally announced the jersey numbers that the players coming to big league camp will be wearing whilst at Maryvale.
The majority of the players who saw time at the MLB level in 2013 have not changed numbers, though two did. One coach gave up his number for a player. And of course the newest acquisitions and non-roster invitees all need number assignments as well.
Here are all the changes. (Keep in mind that my uniform number repository only counts players wearing a specific number while on the big league roster. I’ll update those pages after camp breaks.)
New Players on 40-Man Roster:
- #50 – Jose De La Torre
- #63 – Brooks Hall
- #60 – Kevin Shackelford
- #13 – Will Smith
- #51 – Wei-Chung Wang
- #25 – Hunter Morris
- #61 – Jason Rogers
- #3 – Elian Herrera
Players on 40-Man Roster Last Year With New Numbers:
- #30 – Tyler Thornburg (switched from #63)
- #38 – Wily Peralta (switched from #60)
- #58 – Ariel Pena (switched from #73)
Both New Non-Roster Invitees (Players on MiLB contracts invited to big league camp) and Repeat Invitees w/New Numbers:
- #59 – Zach Duke
- #77 – David Goforth
- #70 – Dustin Molleken
- #66 – Robinzon Diaz
- #72 – Cameron Garfield
- #68 – Matt Pagnozzi
- #71 – Adam Weisenburger (switched from #91)
- #65 – Irving Falu
- #24 – Lyle Overbay
- #7 – Mark Reynolds
- #67 – Eugenio Velez
- #73 – Kentrail Davis (switched from #93)
- #75 – Mitch Haniger
- #76 – Kevin Mattison