Thursday night, the Brewers optioned three more players to AAA Nashville, leaving 29 players still at Major League camp vying for 25 roster spots. Infielder Taylor Green, catcher Martin Maldonado, and reliever Zach Braddock are the three latest players to join Nashville.
Additionally, Cesar Izturis has been told he will make the Major League roster, creating a situation for one or possibly two remaining fielder spots. If the injured Corey Hart is able to start the season on the active roster, he will eat up another roster spot, leaving one remaining spot. We should his status to open the season by Sunday.
The Maldonado and Braddock moves come as no surprise; both will remain on the 40-man roster, but lost out to established roster players in George Kottaras and Manny Parra. Green, meanwhile, was losing out for the utility infield spot to Izturis, Brooks Conrad, and Travis Ishikawa, but still maintained a glimmer of hope to make the roster.
The reason Izturis was added today instead of next week, according to Tom Haudricourt’s tweet, was that the Brewers would owe Izturis $100,000 if he wasn’t designated a spot on the Major League roster by Friday. His glove and (semi)versatility gave him a spot.
The final roster spot for fielders now comes down to Ishikawa and Conrad, holding that Hart opens the season on the disabled list. If Hart opens the season on the DL, it is likely that both Ishikawa and Conrad will make the roster after outfielders Logan Schafer and Caleb Gindl were optioned to Nashville on Wednesday. The Brewers currently have three vacant spots on their 40-man roster, which will probably be filled by three current non-roster players such as Conrad and Ishikawa. Pitcher Mark Rogers will come off the restricted list just into the beginning of the season and figures to be placed on the roster, bringing that number down to two. Don’t be surprised if Milwaukee cuts another player soon.
With Braddock’s designation, Parra seemingly locks up a spot on the roster as the only left-hander remaining in the bullpen. He joins John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez, Jose Veras, and Kameron Loe as the “locks” for the ‘pen. Mike McClendon, Marco Estrada, and Juan Perez are vying for the final two spots. I figure they will go to McClendon and Estrada.
Opening Day is 8 days away! Go Brewers!