This Week’s Topic: Today is the mandatory reporting day for spring training. Besides the starters, who do you believe will be on the 25-man roster when camp breaks?
I guess that depends on who’s considered the third base starter—but since Bill Hall isn’t in danger of missing the cut, I’ll safely assume it’s him. Beyond that...
- Braden Looper: He’s apparently the ace...yikes.
- Dave Bush: Awesome.
- Yovani Gallardo: Given.
- Manny Parra: New number, same young, more-than-serviceable southpaw to hold down the back of the rotation. And crack doubles like they're going out of style.
- Jeff Suppan: Untradeable and overpaid. He’s 25-man material, if only for those reasons.
Outfielders (after assumed starters Ryan Braun, Mike Cameron, and Corey Hart)
- Trot Nixon: I figure Doug Melvin will pretty much hand him the spot due to his left-handed bat, veteran presence, and moxie. Whatever, I guess.
- Jason Burgeois: Maybe a flier here, but his strong winter showing and emergency 2B capabilities make him worth more than Tony Gwynn Jr. or Hernan Iribarren. I predict he’ll break camp and send Gwynn/Hernie to the waiver wire. I’m envisioning another Joe Dillon...but good.
Infield (after assumed starters Bill Hall, J.J. Hardy, Rickie Weeks, and Prince Fielder)
- Craig Counsell: Can play all four IF spots, pinch hit (annoyingly) from the left side. There’s no chance of him not making the team.
- Brad Nelson: Out of options and (unlike Gwynn/Iribarren) has the potential to be a valuable cog on the big league bench. Can play first, third, and corner outfield while lending the Brewers some left-handed pinch hit power. (I hope) this is his year.
- Trevor Hoffman: Closer.
- Carlos Villanueva: Obvious.
- Seth McClung: More obvious.
- David Riske: See Suppan, Jeff, but add the realistic possibility to turn it around and earn his pay.
- Mitch Stetter: LOOGY, and he did pretty well in a similar, yet lesser role last season.
- Todd Coffey: Why not? He was lights out for Milwaukee last September. He’s looked like he’s earned it (barring a terrible spring).
- Jorge Julio: Signed over two months ago when a lot of other quality relievers were available, it’s obvious the front office saw something. I (and numerous others) sense shades of Guillermo Mota in him, a capable former closer who can hold down steady a seventh or eighth inning role in close games.
- Eduardo Morlan: Teams Morlan comes in contact with seem to covet him. A recent Rule 5 pickup, Morlan proves baseball politics can be a bitch sometimes. As more a means of protecting a player Milwaukee thinks will eventually have an impact on its club, their hand might be forced to cast off a currently impactful pitcher. If demoted, I’d assume the Rays would take him back without hesitation, so unfortunately someone else will probably go.
The Close Calls (with injuries, suspensions, and other unforeseen moves—expect these names to substitute)
IF—Alcides Escobar/Mat Gamel: Not ready yet, but maybe one will absolutely mash and Hall’s injury will be worse than expected and be plugged in. But I’d rather they both develop in Nashville first.
IF—Mike Lamb: Poses an affordable ($400K) lefty to man third and pinch hit. Veteran presence too.
OF—Chris Duffy: I could be flat-out wrong about Bourgeois, in which case, he’s in. I see Duffy more like a Jay Gibbons though.
RP—Eric Gagne: I’d love to see him back, and with a good spring (or bad/absent Jorge Julio spring), he could be. I think he was brought in as an impulse or insurance buy because of his sheer affordability. If he accepts assignment and rides it out for a month or two before opting out, he could be a quality piece to plug in.
RP—Rob “R.J.” Swindle: Could spell Stetter if needed, or maybe outshine Coffey and double the count of expected lefties in the bullpen come opening day
I usually don’t read the other members’ roundtable post before making my own, but I have to say Tyler did a great job breaking things down, so I’ll totally cop his style.
Outfielders besides the obvious
I agree that Trot Nixon will be on the team unless he doesn’t show up at spring training or something. It will be interesting to see who the Brewers try to send to the minors, Tony Gwynn or Brad Nelson. My money is that they keep Gwynn and try to send Nelson down.
Infielders besides the obvious
Counsell will be on the team, and so will Mike Rivera. If Bill Hall is not hurt, the Brewers have a big decision. Do they send down Mike Lamb, who can play both third and first base, or do they try to send down Brad Nelson, who is out of options? I believe they keep Lamb because of his versatility.
Hoffman, Riske, McClung, and Villa are all obvious. I think Gagne, Coffey, and Swindle or Stetter make it, whoever has the better Spring Training. I believe that Swindle might steal the first crack because he’s dominated AAA already, and this will be his chance. I also believe that Julio might be the reliever that gets chopped.
So that makes it Jason Kendall, Fielder, Weeks, Hardy, Hall, Braun, Cameron, Hart, Rivera, Lamb, Counsell, Nixon, Gwynn, Hoffman, Riske, McClung, Villa, Gagne, Coffey, Swindle, Gallardo, Parra, Suppan, Looper, and Bush.
The amount of talent in the minors too makes this year very exciting! There might not be the huge names, but there are a lot of solid choices around the board.