As we bid a fond farewell to SS Jean Segua, we welcome in 2B/3B Aaron Hill and RHP Chase Anderson. Both players will be making the opening day roster. Owner Mark Attanasio has said as much. With their additions the roster projection experiences its most significant shake-up of the offseason.
It's not just that we're subtracting Segura and adding Hill/Anderson. We also have to considered the ramifications for those previously projected to make the opening day roster. Unless David Stearns trades a starting pitcher--which is certainly possibility--it appears as though Anderson pushes Zack Davies to AAA. That might not be the worst thing since he actually hasn't spent a ton of time in the minors and he's never pitched much more than 160 innings in a season, meaning he probably will be under an innings limit. Starting him in the minors makes it easier to monitor that.
The bigger story is what this does for Garin Cecchini--my personal favorite offseason acquisition. I think the Brewers will go into the season--whether they admit it or not--with Aaron Hill as their starting regular at third base. They're going to want to trade him at the deadline, and for that to happen he'll have to make regular starts. He has significant experience at second base, but I think the Brewers will want to start Scooter Gennett there for all the same reasons. Essentially the best case scenario for both--from the Brewers perspective--is a mid-season trade.
As such that pushes Cecchini to AAA. I was really looking forward to seeing him in Milwaukee for a full season. But perhaps half a season in AAA is what's best for him too. He struggled a lot last year. By sending him to AAA for half a season it would allow the Brewers a lot of leeway in trying to rework his swing to what it was before the Red Sox started tinkering with it last year. It could also help to extend team control over him to the 2022 season.
This updated projection also includes Rymer Liriano. The Brewers acquired him in a minor trade last week. To clear room for him on the 40-man roster they designated Shane Peterson for assignment. Here we have another player I think the Brewers will want getting as much playing time as possible. Although in this instance it's not because they're going to want to trade him. It's because they'll want to see if he can be a starting regular. That's why I moved Nieuwenhuis to the bench in favor of Liriano.
Since I think Garin Cecchini is more likely to start in AAA than on the Brewers bench, I had to figure out who would take Jonathan Villar's vacated bench spot. I think the most obvious choice is Yadiel Rivera. With Villar now in a starting role, the only other player capable of handling shortstop--besides Orlando Arcia--was Rivera.
|C: Jonathan Lucroy- $4.35M||C/1B: Martin Maldonado - $1.125M||SP: Matt Garza- $12.5M||RP: Will Smith- $1.475M|
|1B: Chris Carter- $2.5M||INF/OF: Colin Walsh- $507,500||SP: Wily Peralta- $2.8M||RP: Jeremy Jeffress- $507,500|
|2B: Scooter Gennett- $507,500||INF: Yadiel Rivera- $507,500||SP: Jimmy Nelson- $507,500||RP: Michael Blazek- $507,500|
|3B: Aaron Hill- $5.5M||OF: Domingo Santana- $507,500||SP: T. Jungmann- $507,500||RP: Corey Knebel- $507,500|
|SS: Jonathan Villar $507,500||OF: Kirk Nieuwenhuis- $507,500||SP: Chase Anderson- $507,500||RP: Tyler Thornburg- $507,500|
|OF: Ryan Braun- $20M||RP: Ariel Pena- $507,500|
|OF: Khris Davis- $507,500||RP: Zack Jones- $507,500|
|OF: Rymer Liriano- $507,500|
|Total: $34,380,000||Total: $3,155,000||Total: $16,822,500||Total: $4,520,000|
|Team Total: $58,877,500
One thing to keep in mind is that Ramon Flores is out of options and so he needs to be on the 25-man roster, but he'll likely start the season on the disabled list. Once he's ready to return, the Brewers will have a decision to make. I've been noting for a while now that a lot of uncertainty would be solved with the trade of Khris Davis. I still think there is a strong likelihood that happens. I wouldn't call it a guarantee though. It just makes a lot of sense. AND NO THAT DOESN'T MEAN I'VE GIVEN UP ON HIM OR I DON'T LIKE HIM.
The payroll projection doesn't change that much. Jean Segura was set to make $2.6 million. Aaron Hill's full salary for 2016 is $12 million, but the Brewers will only be covering $5.5 million of it. So they only increase their opening day payroll projection by $2.9 million.
There are a few things to go over with respect to the payroll. Both Chris Carter and Matt Garza could make half a million each in incentives. Braun's salary has $4 million deferred to a later date. The Brewers owe Kyle Lohse $2.333 million from a deferment. But it's a fair question whether the Brewers count the deferred money in the year it's deferred or the year it's paid. I'm not certain. To further compound things, they owe Jonathan Broxton $2 million for the buyout on his 2016 team option--it was part of the trade to the Cardinals. Again, I'm not certain if the Brewers counted that last year or this year.
So we can just think of their upward payroll range in 2016 to be approximately $61,877,000 and the lower range to be approximately $57,210,833.
Contract details courtesy of Cot's Contracts