The Milwaukee Brewers send several players up and down from the minor leagues during the course of a regular season. But that can only be done if the player has a minor league option. Which players have them and which are out of them?
The way Major League Baseball sets up their pay scale for young players, there are three years of team control where the player makes league minimum and has a minor league “option”. If that player spends more than 20 days in the minor leagues during the season, their option for that year will be used up. The Milwaukee Brewers have managed this carefully.
Most players have their minor league options used up by their arbitration years. Those who don’t get sent down to the minors at all during those first three years retain those options until free agency. Travis Shaw, for example, is in his first year of arbitration but has two minor league options remaining because he didn’t spend 20 days or more in the minor leagues the past two years.
Players like Domingo Santana and Keon Broxton were going to be out of minor league options this year, and since they likely would’ve spent time in the minors once again this year, it made perfect sense to trade them both away, and that’s exactly what David Stearns did.
Let’s take a look at the list of players with options, and without. Each player’s option status is courtesy of Roster Resource.
Out Of Minor League Options (5)
Jesus Aguilar had his option years used up over in Cleveland. That’s why they had to put him on waivers in February 2017, and that’s when David Stearns snatched him up. Many fans were worried about Aguilar’s status during last year’s spring training, but the Milwaukee Brewers kept him and he’s rewarded them handsomely. Aguilar is now entrenched as the starting first baseman and won’t need to be optioned to the minors anyway.
Manny Pina was the starting catcher heading into last season. Now with Yasmani Grandal in the picture, Pina has been relegated to backup duty. He signed a one year deal to avoid arbitration this year and that contract included a club option for 2020. Pina is slated to be the backup but that also leaves Erik Kratz in a tough spot. The Brewers won’t carry three catchers, especially since Pina and Kratz are both light hitters.
Kratz is the odd man out of this year’s catching picture and since he’s out of options, he’s likely going to end up on waivers by the end of spring training.
Hernan Perez has made himself a valuable piece of this Milwaukee Brewers ballclub. As the super-utilityman. Perez can play all over the diamond and has hit left handed pitching fairly well. He was in line for a starting platoon position before Mike Moustakas returned. Perez will stick around all season.
Deolis Guerra is a non-roster invite and also lacks options. If the Brewers like him for their bullpen, they’ll have to carry him on their 40 and 25 man rosters and if they want to put him in the minors, he’ll have to be designated for assignment and clear waivers.
One Minor League Option Remaining (15)
Orlando Arcia, Eric Thames, Ben Gamel, Chase Anderson, Zach Davies, Brandon Woodruff, Corey Knebel, Jacob Barnes, Alex Claudio, Taylor Williams, Junior Guerra, Tuffy Gosewisch, Cory Spangenberg, Tyler Saladino, Adrian Houser
The Milwaukee Brewers unexpectedly had to use a minor league option on Orlando Arcia last season. If he struggles again, they have the ability to send him to Triple-A to figure out his bat once more. Then they could call up one of Cory Spangenberg or Tyler Saladino, both of whom are now longshots to make the 25 man roster out of camp after the Moustakas signing.
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Eric Thames and Ben Gamel are slated to be backups on the big league roster and likely won’t get sent down to the minors, but with how the Brewers manipulate their roster, anyone with an option is a possibility.
Chase Anderson and Zach Davies both struggled last year and have an option remaining. With some of the young pitchers like Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta ready to take a spot in the rotation, optioning one or both of the veterans is not out of the realm of possibility. Woodruff also has an option and his will likely get used this year.
Knebel is likely to spend the entire season in the big leagues since he’s such an important part of the bullpen, but if he suffers similar struggles to what he suffered last summer, he could also see another option. Alex Claudio also figures to be an important part of the bullpen since he’s the only lefty not named Josh Hader. But, if he struggles, an option is possible.
Jacob Barnes, Taylor Williams, and Adrian Houser are likely to see their final options used this year. The Brewers shuffle their bullpen a lot and those three figure to be a part of that ongoing shuffle. Junior Guerra may join them as well depending on the situation, but he’ll be up in Milwaukee more often than not.
Tuffy Gosewisch is on a minor league deal and will spend likely all of his time in the minors.
The Milwaukee Brewers have numerous players who only have one minor league option remaining. This team values flexibility with their roster and they rely on it to succeed. The players that are most likely to leave the team because of their lack of options are Erik Kratz and Deolis Guerra.