4 Roster Decisions the Brewers Could Make Surrounding DH Jesse Winker

Will the Brewers make the decision now or will they wait?
Jesse Winker, Milwaukee Brewers
Jesse Winker, Milwaukee Brewers / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

Though they have been performing better lately, the Milwaukee Brewers offense has been one of the weaker ones in the league in 2023. Multiple players not meeting expectations at the plate has been the main contributor to that negative trend.

One of the players who has fallen the shortest of expectations has been designated hitter Jesse Winker. Once considered a prime bounceback candidate, the 30-year-old has struggled to the tune of a 0.7 bWAR career low (by far) 60 OPS+.

Winker was placed on the injured list on July 26th with back spasms but has been on a rehab assignment since August 15th, meaning he's about halfway through the maximum amount of days a player can be on rehab. He has also been performing quite well while out on assignment, so the Brewers will have a decision to make with him relatively soon.

Here are four roster decisions the Brewers could make surrounding Jesse Winker.

Decision #1: Leave Jesse Winker at Triple-A Nashville until rosters expand

This is the easiest decision to make. MLB rosters expand on September 1st, which is a week from today. Winker can be on assignment for another ten days. So the Brewers could always just wait until next month and then reinstate him from the IL once they have the extra roster spot to use.

The only thing is, Winker has been doing rather well during his rehab assignment. Granted, four of his games were at High-A Wisconsin, but in his seven total games between there and Triple-A Nashville, he is hitting .500 with a 1.183 OPS. If the Brewers feel as though he has turned a bit of a corner, they may not want to wait to bring his hot bat back up to the majors.

Decision #2: Reinstate Jesse Winker, option Joey Wiemer to Triple-A Nashville

If the Brewers do decide to reinstate Winker soon, they may want to swap offense for offense. The problem is that there aren't currently many position players on the active roster who are both optionable and not performing on offense. The one player who might fit that mold is outfielder Joey Wiemer.

Since a nice little surge earlier this summer, Wiemer has cooled off at the plate hitting .213 with a .649 OPS in July and .237 with a .556 OPS so far in August. Though they wouldn't want to miss out on his elite defense, Milwaukee needs to keep their offense rolling and they have other capable defenders in the outfield and also have the benefit of Tyrone Taylor being on fire right now.

A quick reset at Triple-A has seemed to work for fellow rookie Brice Turang, so perhaps it could also work with Wiemer and get him hot for the final week of the season.

Decision #3: Reinstate Jesse Winker, option a reliever to Triple-A Nashville

The Brewers don't necessarily have to swap position players if they decide to reinstate Winker. Instead, they could send a pitcher down and run a little hitter heavy for the next six days and then balance the roster back out once rosters expand.

Of the players that can be optioned, Trevor Megill would be the most likely to go. He has been shuttled back and forth between the majors and minors a few times already this season. And though he has performed well recently, he isn't exactly being used in big spots as two-thirds of the batters he has faced have come in low leverage situations according to Baseball Reference.

Decision #4: Designate Jesse Winker for assignment

For a while, this is where it seemed like Winker's season might be trending based on his poor performance and the fact that the Brewers started using him strictly as a pinch hitter. And though it hurts moving on from that expensive of a player, the season is almost over and Milwaukee has paid most of his salary this year anyway. At this point, the sole focus should be making the playoffs and having your best possible players on the roster.

The question now is whether Winker is actually one of your best possible players. Yes, again, his recent success has come in the minors. But a hot bat is a hot bat and if the Brewers think that it can help them win games based on what they're seeing from him, then that hot bat should be on the roster.

Like every other roster move over the course of the season, the Winker decision is a tough one. All that matters, though, is that the decision they make is the one that gives them the best chance to win games, period.