The Milwaukee Brewers nearly have their opening day roster set. They currently have three spots available, with five players vying for those last few spots.
The players still trying to make the team are pitchers Oliver Drake, J.J. Hover and Taylor Williams, along with first basemen Jesus Aguilar and Ji-Man Choi. The Brewers and general manager David Stearns have until March 28th to finalize the roster.
Drake and Aguilar are out of options and would have to be placed on waivers before being reassigned to Triple-A Colorado Springs or cut. Both would likely be claimed off waivers by other teams.
Williams still has an option available and therefore there wouldn’t be any consequences for sending him to the minors to start the season.
Hoover and Choi are a different story, being non-roster invitees, who signed minor league deals with Milwaukee. Both players would need to be added to the Brewers 40-man roster, which only has one spot available after Milwaukee officially cut Yovani Gallardo on Monday.
Choi and Hoover could be assigned to Colorado Springs with no consequences. The Brewers would also have another spot available if pitcher Jimmy Nelson starts the season on the 60-day disabled list.
What I think happens
Drake, Hoover, and Aguilar make the opening day roster. Drake and Aguilar are currently already on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster. Hoover would then take Gallardo’s spot, which would allow the Brewers to be flexible with monitoring Nelson’s rehab.
Choi would fall victim to the depth at the first base position. In 41 at-bats this spring, Choi batted .390 with three home runs and 10 RBIs. He proved that he could make most major league teams as a backup first baseman, but finds himself behind Ryan Braun, Eric Thames, and Aguilar.
Drake struggled this spring, making 12 appearances, logging 11 1/3 innings, while accumulating an ERA of 5.56. Hoover turned heads this spring training appearing in 9 games, going 9 1/3 inning and not allowing a run. He also owned an excellent WHIP of 0.64. Aguilar also played well, batting .276 with two home runs and seven runs batted in in 58 at-bats.
What I would do
First off, I would cut Drake, as he has never really impressed me during his time in Milwaukee. I would then give his 40-man roster spot to Hoover, who was outstanding during spring training. Williams showed this past month that he’s all the way back from his Tommy John surgery in 2015, as he was clocked numerous times in the mid to upper 90s on the radar gun.
The Brewers would then still have one spot left on their 40-man roster, which they should give to Choi. I then would assign him to Triple-A Colorado Springs and continue to add to the depth at first base. These moves would also allow the Brewers the option not to place Nelson on the 60-day disabled list and continue to monitor his rehab schedule.