Barring unforeseen circumstances, on Opening Day 2015, Ryan Braun will be playing right field for the Brewers with Carlos Gomez in center and Khris Davis in left. Jonathan Lucroy will play catcher while Scooter Gennett and Jean Segura man the middle infield.
Seven months from now, on Opening Day, the Brewers will have a third baseman and a first baseman. At this point, though, we have no idea who will be playing those two positions.
Aramis Ramirez, who has manned the hot corner for Milwaukee since 2012, has a mutual option that may or may not be picked up. If it is, he'll likely only be in town for another year, anyway. Meanwhile, the Brewers haven't had a long-term plan at first base since Prince Fielder blew town. Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay are not options to play multiple years, or, at least, they aren't good options.
The Brewers have two players on their active roster called up in roster expansion who have both been relatively unheralded as prospects despite great numbers. Matt Clark has seen some time at first base and has made an impression with his power. Jason Rogers has not received as much playing time, but looks to be the organization's top choice to take over third base in the future.
With six games remaining, and with the Brewers on the verge of being eliminated from playoff contention officially, the team should give both Rogers and Clark as much playing time as possible.
Both Clark and Rogers could be key factors in the Brewers' future. Rogers, maybe, has a little more pull from within the organization given his time in the system and status as the team's 2013 Minor League Player of the Year. He's been without a position for much of his minor league career, but the Brewers have found him a home at third base, indicating the intention of having him replace Ramirez. He has dominated minor league pitching, but has yet to get a major league start and has just six plate appearances since being called up.
Clark is 27, and we've already written about him as a possible candidate to play first base in 2015. He has nothing left to prove in the minors, at all. Yet, he has everything to prove in the majors. In his first ever call-up, he's impressed with his power already, hitting three home runs in 23 at-bats.
With no long-term future at first and third base -- hell, with no short-term future, either -- the Brewers should be giving these two playing time in the final week of the season. I understand not having played them much the last three weeks. Until the last few days, the Brewers still had a chance at the playoffs. Now, that doesn't seem to be the case.
Jason Rogers and Matt Clark may or may not be the future of the Brewers corner infield spots. Who knows? But with the season lost, shouldn't the Brewers try to find out anything they can? Why not start both players, who do have some chance of being a part of the Brewers future, in the final six games. There's nothing to lose; the Brewers can only gain from this. Find out what they have, even if there isn't much time left.
Six games won't matter much. It's not a very good sample size to judge either player, nor is it enough to really acclimate them to major league pitching. Still, playing Rogers and Clark has no downside -- even any minor benefits are great. Ramirez is 36 and a known quantity, even if he is back. There's nothing to learn there. First base needs a solution. Maybe that solution is already on the roster.
Play Clark and Rogers, see what you have. It makes sense.