Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bench Players/Relief Pitching: A Big Question Heading into the Season

Some players are out of options, some players have options but are performing better in Spring Training than the players out of options. So, what are the Brewers going to do?

Here's what the Brewers' official website has as the 25-man roster:

Starting pitchers: Jeff Suppan, Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra, Braden Looper, and Dave Bush

Relief pitching: (Trevor Hoffman will start the season on the DL), Todd Coffey, Mark DeFelice, Jorge Julio, Seth McClung, David Riske, Carlos Villanueva, and Mitch Stetter. Once Hoffman comes back, either Julio or DeFelice will head to Triple-A Nashville. Hoffman should not be on the DL for long.

Infield: Craig Counsell, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Bill Hall, Mike Lamb, and J.J. Hardy.

Catchers: Jason Kendall and Mike Rivera.

Outfield: Ryan Braun, Mike Cameron, Corey Hart, Tony Gwynn Jr., and Brad Nelson.

The debate on who to keep and who to send down: Casey McGehee, Gwynn Jr., Nelson, Lamb, and Chris Duffy.

McGehee has been dominate in Spring Training but Lamb is out of options. McGehee is still young and would benefit starting in Nashville. He has hit .373 in 47 at-bats, five homeruns, and 13-RBI. Lamb is a solid veteran player and the Brewers are getting him for cheap: 400,000 of his three million dollar contract. The Twins released him and have to pay the rest of that contract. The thing is, McGehee is a great fielder and is versatile in the field. His natural position is third base, but he can also play first, second, outfield, and catcher. The Brewers already have Counsell who also excels in different positions so they can get by without McGehee. If Lamb cannot produce than the Brewers can release him and bring up McGehee.

Gwynn Jr. and Nelson will most likely make the team because they are out of options. They both have a lot of talent. Nelson has hit the ball really well in Spring Training. Gwynn hasn't but has been limited by an injury for most of the preseason. Duffy has been one of the best hitters but can go to the minors because he still has options. I don't think the Brewers want to give up on Gwynn or Nelson, nor do I.

Side note: Villanueva will fill in to be the closer for Hoffman. The Crew cut ties with Trot Nixon as well.

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