2. RHP Ray Black
This seems like another inevitable one. Since coming over in the “significant” Drew Pomeranz / Mauricio Dubon trade in July 2019, Ray Black has only appeared in 18 games for the Brewers. He’s battled injuries and ineffectiveness, struggling with command and throwing strikes even when he is healthy.
Black can throw his fastball in the upper 90s, but his poor command is holding him back from reaching his huge potential.
The injuries have also been piling up, with Black missing most of 2020 with a shoulder injury and now he’s missed most of 2021 spring training with an elbow injury.
He’s the only reliever on the 40 man roster who doesn’t have any minor league options left. With the Brewers likely to shuffle a large amount of relievers between Milwaukee and Triple-A Nashville all season long, Black is the only one who isn’t able to go on that shuttle, which cuts into the Crew’s flexibility with their roster.
If Black had been performing well in spring training and proving he could be a consistent and effective member of the bullpen, that may not be an issue. But he hasn’t, which puts his roster spot in jeopardy.
Of course, with the elbow injury, Black could start the year on the IL. Although he’s getting ready to get back into games so a 60 day stint to get him off the roster appears unlikely. Even if the Brewers put him on the 10 day IL to keep him around a little longer, and option someone else down when he’s ready to come back, Black isn’t an established member of the bullpen. As soon as he doesn’t perform up to standards, the Brewers will be forced to cut bait.
Black may or may not lose his 40 man roster spot before Opening Day, but he’s likely to lose it at some point relatively soon.