When the Brewers traded Yovani Gallardo away to the Rangers a couple of months ago for Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel and Marcos Diplan, there was some thought that Sardinas could be ready to take a utility role on the team immediately in 2015.
Turns out, that's not the case. At least, not yet. The Brewers announced Thursday they were optioning both Sardinas and Shane Peterson to Triple-A Colorado Springs to start the season.
Sardinas being sent down isn't unexpected, though, especially not after his spring showing: Over 32 plate appearances in Arizona, he's hit just .226/.250/.226 with one stolen base and as many strikeouts (7) as hits. He's never hit especially well in the minors and has minimal power, but has held his own at getting on base and has flashed good base running skills.
Even more important: Sardinas is a strong defender at both shortstop and second base and the Brewers don't have a ton of backup middle infield options. Also important, in this case: He still has options. Hector Gomez, who is the likely candidate to make the roster as a bench middle infielder, does not. Sending Sardinas down means the Brewers can keep both players. Elian Herrera is also an option, but is no longer on the 40-man roster. If the team goes with him, it would mean a likely DFA for Gomez.
It's also probably the best baseball move right now. Gomez is no great shakes himself, but had a nice season last year and the Brewers seem comfortable with him. Sardinas also probably needs more developmental time. He's still just 21 years old and is a former top-100 prospect, but his bat needs a bit more work. Calling him up to the majors early on and having him struggle heavily won't do anyone any good. It would be unsurprising if he saw major league time at some point this season -- as a September call-up at the least -- but for now, he needs work against minor league pitching first.
As for Peterson, he had a heck of a spring (.296/.375/.444) but plays first base and corner outfield which isn't a need for the Brewers. If he were right-handed, maybe, but if the Brewers are keeping a southpaw first baseman on the roster in addition to Adam Lind, it's going to be Matt Clark. Peterson has a good amount of major league experience and could be a call-up at some point this year if there are injuries and he's hitting well, but for now he's destined for Colorado.
The Brewers spring roster is now at 36.