As we inch closer and closer to Spring Training, and ultimately the start of the season, it is time to take a refresher as to who has minor league options, who doesn’t, and how that will impact the construction of the Brewers roster.
All players who have less than five years of Major League Service Time have three option years that teams can use to send a player down from the active roster to the minor leagues. Any player with more than five years of Service Time no longer has options, and has the right to refuse to be demoted.
The one place of frequent action for Milwaukee this offseason has been catcher. The Brewers made a somewhat surprising decision to bring back both Manny Pina and Omar Narvaez. That leaves Jacob Nottingham in a limbo, as he has no options remaining.
Nottingham is currently recovering from thumb surgery, and his recovery timeline is still not known yet, though he is getting his cast off next week.
What is known is that Nottingham faces a crowded catching corps, and he appears to be on the outside looking in. Manny Pina is a lock, while Omar Narvaez is not so clear. After a tough 2020, Narvaez does have all 3 options remaining, and signs indicate he can return to a solid offensive producer.
Nottingham has unfortunately not been able to kick his offensive production into gear, and that has appeared to stymie his growth. With a crowded catcher position, no clear answer on a DH, if Nottingham is going to make the roster, he will have to win a roster spot in spring training, and Omar Narvaez will have to lose his spot.
The Brewers have 7 players on the 40-man Roster with no options remaining. Meaning, they must make the roster, or be designated for assignment.
Daniel Vogelbach was a waiver pick up from the Toronto Blue Jays, and found his stroke in Milwaukee. He slashed .328/.418/.569 in his 19 games in Milwaukee. Vogelbach signed a $1.4 million deal, to avoid arbitration.
There still is no clear answer on the DH in the NL. There is still no clear first baseman on the roster outside of Vogelbach, which may indicate that the Brewers have Vogelbach as their answer at first base, at least for now.
For Vogelbach, he hits the ball hard, draws walks, and has solid expected statistics. David Stearns loves left handed hitters with power, and Vogelbach is just that. With limited defensive ability, any chance of Vogelbach remaining on the roster relies on the DH remaining in the NL, and his offense being strong enough to justify taking a roster spot.