The latest round of Brewers roster news has us getting closer to figuring out what the Opening Day roster is going to look like.
There have been a lot of recent developments, as there always is towards the end of spring training. The other day, the Brewers released both Jordan Zimmermann and Brad Boxberger from their contracts. Shortly after, Zimmermann was re-signed, and the Brewers have now brought back Boxberger as well.
Brewers re-sign Brad Boxberger to a new minor league deal
Boxberger was already on a minor league deal to start camp, but with an opt out date and 100k retention bonus, the Brewers had to cut ties. This gave Boxberger an opportunity to look around the league for a major league bullpen spot.
It appears no one wanted to give him one.
With this new deal, the Brewers can send Boxberger to the alternate training site and keep him in Triple-A when that season starts, but also will be able to call him up whenever they see fit. Boxberger had a rough start to spring but was rounding into form as camp got towards the end.
He didn’t initially earn an Opening Day roster spot, but perhaps that might have changed with another update from the bullpen.
Justin Topa will start the season on the IL with elbow discomfort.
One of the most surprising and out of left field contributors for the Brewers in 2020 was Justin Topa. Signed out of Indy ball in 2019, Topa was a mid-season addition to the alternate training site after sending the Brewers video of his workouts during the 2020 season and then he was a late call up to the bullpen.
With an upper 90s fastball and a sweeping slider, Topa has some nasty stuff out of the bullpen and the Brewers were counting on him to be a big weapon this year. That’s going to have to wait.
Topa has already undergone two Tommy John surgeries in his career, and his comeback story was already improbable enough. Any injury involving the elbow for a pitcher is concerning, but it especially is for him considering his past injury history.
Topa will miss the start of the season, which could open up a bullpen spot for the aforementioned Brad Boxberger. It could also mean a spot opens up for someone else, but Topa was someone the Brewers were counting on to be in their Opening Day bullpen, so a new temporary job is available for someone.
Daniel Vogelbach has made the Brewers Opening Day roster
In a mildly surprising, but welcome bit of news the Brewers will keep Daniel Vogelbach on their Opening Day roster. David Stearns commented previously that he thought there was a fit for Vogelbach on the roster, and there is.
Vogey is going to be the big bat off the bench, getting every big pinch hit opportunity he can get. This will likely be a similar role to Jesus Aguilar‘s during the 2017 season when he forced his way onto the roster despite there not being an opening at first base.
The Brewers kept Vogelbach around through the offseason hoping that the league and the players could work out a deal to keep the designated hitter in the National League. That didn’t end up happening, but the Brewers still will keep Vogelbach around and will try to keep him throughout the season.
The DH is likely to come back to the NL in 2022 after a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached, so if they keep him through this year, Vogelbach could stick around for a number of years.
The Opening Day picture is getting clearer for the Brewers. It’s decision time on a number of players and the decisions have been made for these three players.