Milwaukee Brewers: How MLB Rule Changes Will Impact The Crew

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LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 16: Gio Gonzalez #47 of the Milwaukee Brewers is looked at by the trainer after being injuried during the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Four of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 16: Gio Gonzalez #47 of the Milwaukee Brewers is looked at by the trainer after being injuried during the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Four of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Brewers
LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 15: Manager Craig Counsell #30 of the Milwaukee Brewers looks on from the dugout during the first inning of Game Three of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on October 15, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

A year-long 26-man roster will mean higher demand for players, and higher prices as a result.

The Crew can ill afford to have to fill another roster spot, but the Red Sox won’t bat an eyelash at having to shell out millions more for the 26th player.

The average MLB salary in 2018 was $4.1 million. The Brewers are setting record payroll marks, hitting $107 million last year and adding $20 million to that for 2019. Even still, ten players will make more than $4.1 million for Milwaukee in 2019.

The Yankees have that many making over $10 million, with the  Cubs close behind at nine. Big market teams won’t hesitate to add another premium player, but the Brewers will likely have to fill that place with a whatever Triple-A depth they’re allowed to maintain. It would allow for less shuttling of players between Milwaukee and Triple-A with that extra depth on the big league roster.

Which brings us to the move back from a 10-day injured list back to a 15-day list.

No team utilized their bullpen more effectively or creatively than the Brewers. A veritable conga line of pitchers paraded back and forth from Colorado Springs to Milwaukee, ensuring well-rested pitchers were always at Craig Counsell’s disposal. This move will not eliminate that, but it will certainly make David Stearns job harder he balances the need for fresh arms against the availability of players in the later days of an injured list stint.

The ability of the 2019 Crew to yo-yo players such as Adrian Houser, Freddy Peralta, Josh Tomlin, and Jake Petricka will fall considerably going into the new decade. This will result in more tired bullpen arms. With Josh Hader really needing a day or two off between appearances, that flexibility is crucial to teams like the Brewers who rely so heavily on their bullpen.

Stearns simply won’t, and really can’t, shell out for the dominant inning eating starter. Nor should he, with the success Counsell has had managing the bullpen. Wealthy teams can buy the talent, smaller market teams drive baseball’s innovation, and are being punished for it now.

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