Here's why one Brewers reliever now has a better chance at sticking around in 2024

Previously, the righty's grip on his roster spot was somewhat tenuous.

Sep 20, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher J.B. Bukauskas (50) throws
Sep 20, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher J.B. Bukauskas (50) throws / Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports
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When it comes to holding on to a 40-man roster spot, there's one type of player that has a harder time than others. That would be a relief pitcher with no minor league options remaining.

That's particularly true for a team like the Milwaukee Brewers. For several years now, the team has navigated their way through an arduous 162 games (or 163 in the case of 2018) by cycling through a bunch of different relievers.

To do that, the Brewers generally end up optioning multiple relievers back and forth between the majors and Triple-A Nashville. Of course that only ends up being possible if said players have at least one remaining minor league option to their name.

Last season, right-hander J.B. Bukauskas ended up being one of those players. Claimed off waivers shortly after the beginning of the 2023 season, the former 15th overall pick would spend most of the season at Nashville before pitching six scoreless innings later in the season.

Bukauskas' time spent at Triple-A in 2023 ended up extinguishing his final minor league option, meaning his only path to keeping his roster spot in 2024 was making the Opening Day roster. Well, at least it was.

Here's why Brewers reliever J.B. Bukauskas now has a better chance at sticking around in 2024.

As it turns out, Bukauskas actually can be optioned to Triple-A once the season begins if the Brewers so choose. That is because, according to Brewers postgame host Dom Cotroneo, the pitcher was granted a fourth minor league option this offseason.

Players who have been added to a 40-man roster generally get three minor league options over the course of their career, some of whome end up getting all of them used while some of whom never do. In some special situations, though, players can be granted a fourth option, which ended up being the case for the Milwaukee pitcher.

Bukauskas has never really gotten a chance to show what he can do in the majors, having pitched in only 27 career games and putting up a 5.92 ERA. He has been solid in the minors, though, and was stood out for the Crew's Triple-A squad in 2023, compiling a 2.92 ERA with 42 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 37 innings.

Still 27, Bukauskas is just hitting his prime and could have some of his best work ahead of him. Having another season to see what they have in him is great news for the Brewers, not to mention Bukauskas who has another full season to audition and show he has what it takes to stick around on the roster longer than just 2024.

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