We're going with gut feelings as I try to predict what the Brewers roster might look like in 2009. Basically, I think Macha and Melvin are going to go with their veterans for Opening Day and then bring up guys like Gamel and Escobar as the season progresses.
Here's a look:
Starting Pitchers: Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra, Dave Bush, Braden Looper, Jeff Suppan
Barring an injury, this is the starting five the Crew is going with on day one. Don't listen to what Macha is saying right now, Gallardo will start Opening Day. Suppan will probably anchor the rotation, unless he really has an impressive camp, or Macha decides to use him as the "ace" for some reason like he is in camp.
Relief Pitchers: Trevor Hoffman, Carlos Villanueva, David Riske, Seth McClung, Mitch Stetter, Todd Coffey, Jorge Julio
The first four are set in stone, and I think Stetter easily wins the role Shouse occupied last season. Todd Coffey meant too much to the Brewers last season for them not to give him a shot, while Julio fills out the 12-man pitching staff Macha has said he's going with.
Edward Morlan will not make the roster and will be sent back to Tampa Bay, big deal.
Tim Dillard gets some work in AAA, while Eric Gagne will go to Nashville as well.
Gagne will be the first one called up when the Brewers need to replace a bullpen arm, and will be a key contributor to the Brewers this season.
Catchers: Jason Kendall, Mike Rivera
Mikey is going to get a lot more playing time this season, which is fine with me. He's the better hitter of the two. Salome will be up eventually, but will get a little work in Nashville.
First Basemen: Prince Fielder, Brad Nelson
I see them keeping Brad Nelson on board to spell Prince and be the fifth outfielder. Nelson is probably my least confident selection on this roster I've made.
Second Basemen: Rickie Weeks, Hernan Iribarren
Iribarren gets the call if Hall needs to start on the 15-Day DL, which he does in my scenario. Otherwise it's back to Nashville, a town he's growing very familiar with.
Shortstop: J.J. Hardy
Third Basemen: Craig Counsell, Mike Lamb
This is what we got until Hall returns. After that, if Hall struggles, Gamel will be our starting third basemen by the break.
Outfielders: Ryan Braun, Mike Cameron, Corey Hart, Tony Gwynn Jr.
Last shot for Gwynn. Duffy and Trotter will see some time eventually, depending on how soon Gwynn gets dealt to San Diego, his destiny.
What do you think? This is a pretty conservative roster, in my opinion. Feel free to leave your roster predictions in the comments. Please!