While Opening Day is less than three weeks away, it’s already clear that the Milwaukee Brewers have several tough decisions to make on their pitching staff. Could remaining options play a role in who stays with the Brewers and who goes to Colorado Springs?
It was revealed last week that Junior Guerra still has an option left. If he fails to win a job in the Milwaukee Brewers rotation, he can still go to the Minors without being exposed to waivers.
The Brewers have two pitchers who are out of options. Will both make the 25-man roster or should one or both worry about making the team?
Jeremy Jeffress is out of options
It’s been 12 years since Jeremy Jeffress was drafted in the first round with the Milwaukee Brewers. Jeffress is entering his age 30 season and he’s finally out of options. Jeffress was a DFA candidate this past off season, but he signed a one-year deal worth $1.75 million with options for 2019 and 2020.
It’s clear that the Milwaukee Brewers believe in Jeffress, and he has a role in the bullpen for 2018. Jeffress has a perfect 0.00 ERA in his first three appearances this spring. He has four strikeouts and two walks. It would have taken a disaster for Jeffress to NOT make the 25-man roster, and he’s been just fine. There’s no danger of Jeffress getting DFA’ed.
Oliver Drake is also out of options
Oliver Drake was acquired last April and managed to stay on the 25-man roster for all of 2017.
Drake needed a good spring to lock down the final spot in the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen. He has not had a good spring. Drake has made seven appearances so far this spring, and owns a 7.11 ERA. Drake has walked six and struck out only two.
The six walks are the concern here. Drake needs to generate whiff swings with his splitter to be effective. The fact that he’s giving up walks in bunches is a signal that he doesn’t have the feel for the split-finger fastball that he needs. If Drake can’t get his splitter together in the next week or two, he may end up looking for a job.
The Milwaukee Brewers have several pitchers in camp vying for the final slot in their bullpen. While Jeffress is a virtual lock to make the roster, Drake is in trouble. Taylor Williams looks fantastic, and the loser of the fifth starter competition could end up in the bullpen. Drake has some work to do if he’s going to stay with the Brewers past March 29th.