With just a week to go until the 2022 MLB season is officially underway, the Milwaukee Brewers roster is rounding into shape. As of yesterday, nearly every spot on the 40-man roster has been claimed.
The most recent spot to be taken was by former Marlins and Tigers pitcher Jose Urena. Though he was originally signed to a minor league deal just Tuesday, the Brewers quickly selected his contract and gave him one of the two remaining 40-man spots the very next day.
That means Milwaukee has 39 of 40 roster spots assigned, giving them room to add one more player if they desire. Depending on who they still wish to add, however, they may need more than just that remaining roster spot. That means designated someone already on the roster for assignment.
That is never an easy decision for a team to make, especially when there is no regular season game performance to take into account yet. Still, when a team wants to make moves, it often means that someone else has to go.
Here are three Brewers players who could lose their 40-man roster spot before Opening Day.
1. OF Corey Ray
Drafted fifth overall by the Brewers in the 2016 draft, outfielder Corey Ray looked like he might have a decent future ahead of him at one point. Playing for Double-A Biloxi in 2018, he would slash .239/.323/.477 with 32 doubles, 7 triples, 27 homers and 37 steals.
Things have just gone downhill from there. Ray was limited to just 69 total games in 2019 after suffering a finger injury early in the season, ending the year slashing just .218/.291/.363. He would play only 39 games last year, though his slash line at least improved to .274/.325/.500.
With so many talented outfielders in the Brewers pipeline, it’s possible that Milwaukee decides Ray no longer fits into the equation that is the team’s outfield future. Dropping him from the 40-man would leave the roster a little thin at the position, but that could be addressed by adding someone like David Dahl or Dustin Peterson down the road.
2. RHP Alec Bettinger
A pitcher who is just 26 years old and is ranked at No. 23 on MLB Pipeline’s newest top 30 Brewers prospect list like Alec Bettinger is wouldn’t normally be the type of player you’d think of to lose a 40-man roster spot. It’s possible, though, he could fall victim of being low man on the totem pole.
Milwaukee ran into a similar situation a couple years ago with pitching prospect Trey Supak. Coming out of 2019, he appeared close to breaking through to the big leagues. But in 2020, the team found themselves needing a 40-man roster spot, and through no fault of his own, Supak was DFA’d that September. He stayed in the organization before becoming a free agent that fall.
Bettinger made his MLB debut last season for the Brewers and gave up runs in each of his four appearances, including a whopping eleven earned in a spot start against the Dodgers in May. He could still have a future as a major league contributor, but there’s a chance of him being a casualty to roster math when it comes to his 40-man spot with Milwaukee.
3. RHP Dylan File
Sitting just below Bettinger at No. 25 on the top 30 Brewers prospects list, which also happens to be his current age as well, right-hander Dylan File could find himself in essentially the same boat as his fellow righty. He’s had a bit different of a personal journey the last couple years, though.
File started working his way up the prospect lists after a strong 2019 season in which he combined for a 3.49 ERA, a 1.136 WHIP, and an impressive 136-22 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He would be part of a trio to be protected from the rule five draft by being added to the 40-man after the 2020 season.
But then news would come out just before the 2021 season that File had suffered an injury that required offseason surgery. He wouldn’t return until July, after which he pitched in 13 games and put up a 5.36 ERA and a 1.609 WHIP with 45 strikeouts and 16 walks in 50 1/3 innings.
One would hope that File will get a chance in 2022 to show that he is fully recovered from the injury of two offseasons ago and prove again that he has a future as a big leaguer. We just have no way of knowing what that Brewers 40-man totem pole looks like and what File’s position on it might be.
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Just one week remains before Opening Day 2022. We’ll see if any these three Brewers players are still on the 40-man roster once that day rolls around.