The Milwaukee Brewers made a flurry of roster moves on Sunday as active rosters expanded to 40. Some moves were expected, others came as a surprise.
We knew that the Milwaukee Brewers were going to be making changes to their roster on Sunday, and we knew that they needed a lot of help going forward if they’re going to make the playoffs. What we didn’t know was the extent of the changes.
Here is the first wave of moves for September call ups.
The Expected Moves
To no one’s surprise, pitching help is on the way.
It’s September, and most teams call up some bullpen arms from Triple-A to help out in the big leagues. Jake Faria and Freddy Peralta have been up and down all season, and it’s no surprise that they’re among the call ups in the first wave. We had their chances at basically 100% of getting a call up.
It was also announced the other day that, when rosters expand, Jimmy Nelson and Brent Suter would be activated from the 60 day IL. It’s good to see those two back and healthy, and hopefully they can help out this struggling starting rotation.
With those two needing 40 man roster spots, two players had to come off the roster and be DFAed.
The Other Call Ups
This is a bit more interesting. David Freitas, who has been leading the PCL in batting average most of the season gets the call over former hotshot prospect Jacob Nottingham. Nottingham is having a terrible offensive season down in Triple-A, and he may be reaching bust status.
I like giving Freitas the chance over Nottingham as the Crew’s third catcher. Freitas has earned this opportunity and I want to see what he can do, and if he can be a viable option with Yasmani Grandal a free agent after the season.
Tyler Austin was a recent pickup that has played well for San Antonio. He’s hitting .333 with a 1.024 OPS in 15 games for the Missions since getting released from the Giants earlier this year with an abysmal .187/.283/.403 slash line.
Austin was not on the 40 man roster, so it’s a little surprising to see him called up, considering he mostly plays first base and a little outfield, but he could be a nice right handed complement to Eric Thames at first base now with Jesus Aguilar on the Rays.
But with Austin coming up, and Nelson and Suter coming back, that means three players have to be designated for assignment to clear room.
This is the shocking news. Jeremy Jeffress went from stud closer in 2018 to now a shell of his old self and getting designated for assignment. He still had another year on his contract, but it was a club option. Either way this was not the news we were expecting from the Milwaukee Brewers.
Although, it’s rather known throughout baseball by now that Jeffress has a certain comfort level in Milwaukee and he only seems to pitch well for the Brewers. It’s a calculated risk that another team won’t pick him up, and then he’ll reach free agency this winter. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Brewers brought him back this offseason. But it’s still a sad turn in this long story of Jeffress and the Brewers.
Jeffress lost his effectiveness this year and struggled with his splitter, a pitch that he rode to dominance last year. However, across baseball, pitchers are struggling with their splitters and it’s likely because of the different baseball this year. The “juiced” ball hasn’t given pitchers enough grip to get their splitters to work effectively, and Jeffress is a victim of that.
Also, Troy Stokes was DFA’ed, which was tough to see. He’s had a down year in Triple-A in 2019, and has fallen way down on the organizational depth chart in a crowded outfield picture. Trent Grisham has jumped ahead of him. Tyrone Taylor, Ben Gamel, and Corey Ray were all ahead of him. Now he’ll get a chance to latch on elsewhere.
Aaron Wilkerson is probably the least surprising of the three DFAs. He’s a 30 year old starter that hasn’t really impressed in his big league time and could need an opportunity somewhere else. With Nelson and Suter back, Wilkerson’s path to the rotation was even murkier.
This is the first wave of roster moves, Milwaukee Brewers GM David Stearns has said there will be two waves, with the second coming after the minor league season ends in a few days. These first few moves are a doozy, and we’ll see what they have in store for the second round.
It’s clear the Brewers are not playing around. Being willing to cut bait with Jeremy Jeffress is not something they would take lightly. It’s tough to see, but it’s the business of baseball.