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Opening Day Countdown: The 40-Man Roster

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Forty days from now we'll be watching baseball and arguing over which reliever should pitch in what inning. I can't wait! But in the meantime let's take a look at the current iteration of the 40-man roster.

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

I thought about writing an entire article about the best value buy in adult beverages: A forty of Colt 45. But ultimately I decided to go with the more baseball related topic: The Brewers current 40-man roster. I also decided to break it down into three sections. First we'll take a look at the players that return from last season. Then we'll take a look at all the new players that have been added since David Stearns took over. And lastly, we'll take a look at the players with no options left who might not make it out of spring training.

The Returning Players

Pitchers: Jacob Barnes, Yhonathan Barrios, Michael Blazek, Tyler Cravy, Zach Davies, Matt Garza, David Goforth, Adrian Houser, Jeremy Jeffress, Taylor Jungmann, Corey Knebel, Jorge Lopez, Damien Magnifico, Jimmy Nelson, Wily Peralta, Tyler Thornburg, Will Smith
Position Players: Jonathan Lucroy, Martin Maldonado, Orlando Arcia, Scooter Gennett, Yadiel Rivera, Ryan Braun, Michael Reed, Domingo Santana

By the time the season opens in April it's quite possible this list will one or two players shorter. Jonathan Lucroy and Will Smith are the two most likely to go. But I wouldn't be shocked to see a guy like Scooter Gennett get moved as well. Of course there's a pretty strong chance there aren't any more trades until the non-waiver deadline gets closer.

Jacob Barnes, Damien Magnifico, and Orlando Arcia are sort of new additions to the 40-Man roster. They were added last year to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft, but they've been with the organization for years. Everyone already knows Orlando Arcia. And while Magnifico and Barnes don't have the same star potential, I think they could be pretty solid additions to the bullpen in the near future. Barnes especially experienced a boost to his effectiveness when he moved to the bullpen full time last year. All three of these guys were part of that special AA Biloxi Shuckers team last year. They'll play at AAA this year and by mid-season I wouldn't be shocked to see each of them playing with the Brewers.

The New Players

P: Chase Anderson, Junior Guerra, Zack Jones, Sean Nolin
PP: Chris Carter, Garin Cecchini, Aaron Hill, Jonathan Villar, Andy Wilkins, Keon Broxton, Colin Walsh, Ramon Flores, Rymer Liriano, Kirk Nieuwenhuis

I'll talk more about some of these guys in the next section. Of the players added my favorites are Rymer Liriano and Garin Cecchini. I think they have the most potential to turn into useful major league regulars. Jonathan Villar might as well. He showed some improvement with his bat last year and his speed is still an asset. If Gennett gets moved or doesn't play well, I could envision a middle infield with Orlando Arcia at short and Villar at 2B by August.

I'd be in trouble if I didn't at least mention Junior Guerra. The first move David Stearns made was to claim him off waivers. He's had an interesting journey in his baseball career and at this point he's a reliever all the way. But he's an interesting one. He had nice numbers in AA and AAA last year. With options remaining it's probably most likely that he starts out his season with Colorado Springs. But he's lasted on the 40-man roster this long, so I'd be surprised if we didn't see him with Milwaukee at some point.

Also, will Chris Carter hit 30 or 40 home runs this year?  Hopefully this Brewers season will be better than the X-Files season was...

The Players on the Bubble

P: Zack Jones, Sean Nolin, Ariel Pena
PP: Colin Walsh, Ramon Flores, Rymer Liriano, Kirk Nieuwenhuis

I had considered putting Tyler Thornburg but I'm pretty certain he's safe. So that means with the exception of Ariel Pena, all of the players on the bubble are new additions. Jones and Walsh were taken in the Rule 5 Draft. They have to remain with the Brewers the entire season or offered back to their respective original teams. The rest of them are players without options remaining and will therefore have to make the team out of spring training or the Brewers will have to try and sneak them through waivers.

Now that I'm looking at this list, I think Ramon Flores and Rymer Liriano are the only ones I feel strongly about. I'm very confident they'll be sticking around. They're the two with the highest potential. Each could be a starting regular if they hit their ceiling and the only way we'll find out if that's possible is if the Brewers keep them can give them enough playing time. With the news that Flores' ankle is good to go--and therefore he won't open the season on the disabled list--that probably means Nieuwenhuis will be exposed to waivers.

Assuming Will Smith, Jeremy Jeffress, Corey Knebel, Michael Blazek, and Tyler Thornburg are guaranteed spots--and I'm sure they are--then one of those three pitchers will have to be exposed to waivers. My gut tells me Nolin will be given a long leash. If I'm right then it comes down to Pena vs Jones. They're both kind of similar pitchers: big stuff and bad control. I think Jones' fastball is the better of the two, so maybe he has the advantage. Though Pena is more experienced.

I'm not sure what to make of Colin Walsh's chances of sticking around. He's likely a bench guy long term. But he does have really intriguing minor league numbers. And second base isn't exactly a strength right now. There's definitely room on the bench for him.

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So what do you all think? Is this what the 40-man roster will look like on opening day? Will Lucroy or Smith get traded? Which of those players on the bubble do you think makes the cut? Which pitcher/outfielder gets cut?