Brewers DFA Candidate #4: 1B Daniel Vogelbach
The designated hitter is not coming. It won’t be there in 2021 to get Vogelbach his regular at-bats. He’s a bench bat and if the Brewers DFA Vogelbach before Opening Day, they won’t owe him his full $1.4MM salary in 2021.
It would be an unfortunate turn for Vogelbach, who energized the club after joining the Crew midseason in 2020. But the Brewers have stated time and again that they view Vogelbach primarily as a DH and with the installment of Keston Hiura as the first baseman, the regular at-bats won’t be there for him since there isn’t a DH this season.
In spring training so far, Vogelbach is 2-for-9 with a double and three walks.
This may be a little early in camp to cut ties with Vogelbach, but he is on a non-guaranteed contract for 2021. According to MLB rules, if Vogelbach is cut from the roster on or before the 16th day of spring training, he’s owed 30 days termination pay, which is prorated from his $1.4MM salary. If he’s cut after the 16th day of spring training, he gets 45 days termination pay.
If they’re counting by when Cactus League games begin, the 16th day would be March 15th. If they count by when the mandatory report date is or the voluntary report date, the Brewers would still have a few days to DFA Vogelbach and only owe him the 30 days pay.
Vogelbach is out of minor league options and doesn’t have a clear job on the 26 man roster, which makes him a DFA candidate.
Brewers DFA Candidate #5: RHP Ray Black
This would be perhaps an odd choice, but an entirely possible one. Black is the only rostered bullpen candidate that is out of minor league options. He missed most of last season with a shoulder injury and then was pulled early from his most recent outing after his velocity dipped from 98 MPH to 90 MPH in a span of four batters.
Black has battled command issues his entire career, and they still plague him. He’s got the big velocity, which is tough to give up on, but he’s also soon to be 31 years old and if he hasn’t figured it out by now, he may not ever.
Still, it might be a little early in camp to give up on Black. But if he is facing a drop in velocity and a possible injury that will take some time to heal, then perhaps the Brewers will look to cut bait and move on rather than try to get Black back to health.
I would think taking the bullpen battle down to the wire in camp would be the more likely scenario for the Brewers, but he is a candidate to think about.
Of these five DFA candidates to make room for JBJ, McKinney might have the highest odds of getting the pink slip, but you can’t rule out Vogelbach or Black either. There’s also the chance the Brewers put Dylan File on the 60 day IL to clear the roster spot after his surgery.