It's been quite a while since we've done one of these. There have actually been quite a lot of changes to from the last projection I had. Unfortunately the majority of that was related to injuries. The Brewers will open the season with six players on the disabled list: Rymer Liriano, Will Smith, Corey Knebel, Yhonathan Barrios, Sean Nolin. and Zach Jones. I had all of them making the roster except for Barrios who had options and probably needed the development time anyway.
Rymer Liriano was going to make the roster, but an errant pitch ended that. As unfortunate as it was, the game must continue and his spot opened the way for each of Keon Broxton and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, one of which would not have made the roster otherwise.
The myriad of bullpen injuries made way for a couple of new players to the Milwaukee squad and one veteran making his return after five seasons away. The veteran is of course Chris Capuano. I'm personally very happy to see him in a Brewers uniform one last time. He'll likely factor into long relief and spot starting duties. But he's also the only lefty in the pen at the moment and could see time as a lefty specialist.
A non-roster invitee, RHP Blaine Boyer was something of a surprise addition to the team. He'll pitch towards the front of the bullpen in low leverage situations. He's also something of a ground ball specialist and you might see him come into the middle of innings looking for a double play ball.
Ariel Pena was another reliever on the roster bubble that made the roster at the very end of camp. He's the last man standing from the Greinke/Angels trade. His stuff is quite good (plus fastball and slider) but he's struggled with command. We should find out this year if he's yet another bullpen success story for the Brewers (Jeremy Jeffress and Michael Blazek being recent examples).
Corey Knebel figured to be in the mix for high leverage innings before he hit the DL with an intercostal strain. In response the Brewers made a last minute free agent acquisition signing RHP Carlos Torres. He scuffled last year in terms of ERA, but his FIP had him in the high 3's. He's capable of multi-inning relief work (97 IP in 73 appearances in 2014). He looks like a nice middle reliever to have.
|C: Jonathan Lucroy- $4.35M
|C/1B: Martin Maldonado - $1.125M
|SP: Matt Garza- $12.5M
|RP: Jeremy Jeffress- $507,500
|1B: Chris Carter- $2.5M
|INF: Colin Walsh- $507,500
|SP: Wily Peralta- $2.8M
|RP: Michael Blazek- $507,500
|2B: Scooter Gennett- $507,500
|INF: Yadiel Rivera- $507,500
|SP: Jimmy Nelson- $507,500
|RP: Tyler Thornburg- $507,500
|3B: Aaron Hill- $5.5M
|1B/OF: Ramon Flores- $507,500
|SP: T. Jungmann- $507,500
|RP: Carlos Torres-$950,000
|SS: Jonathan Villar $507,500
|OF: Kirk Nieuwenhuis- $507,500
|SP: Chase Anderson- $507,500
|RP: Blaine Boyer- $950,000
|OF: Ryan Braun- $20M
|RP: Ariel Pena- $507,500
|OF: Domingo Santana- $507,500
|RP: Chris Capuano- $1.5M
|OF: Keon Broxton- $507,500
|Team Total: $63,800,000
If you're adding up the numbers you'll notice a discrepency. That's from the players on the disabled list. The Brewers will have to pay them their full salaries while they're on the disabled list. Will Smith makes the most at $1.475M while all the rest make the major league minimum ($507,500).
There are a few other 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 and Garza has $2 million deferred. 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 you can think of the payroll in an approximate range from $60,133,333 to $66,800,000. It's approximate for a couple of reasons. Some of the players in their pre-arbitration years will make slightly more than the exact league minimum. Often those numbers aren't made public right away if at all. But we're talking about a comparatively negligible amount (think thousands, and probably not even tens of thousands).
Also, the Brewers will be calling players up mid-season and trading players as well. So the final payroll expenditure will not be known until after the season ends. But since the Brewers are rebuilding and do figure to trade players making more than the league minimum, that final payroll number figures to be lower than the opening day payroll. And that's a good thing. Because it means the Brewers will have that much more to spend on the international market that starts on July 2nd. And the word is the Brewers have been one of the most active teams prepping for the upcoming int'l signing period.
So there it is. The finalized opening day roster and payroll. Brewers play at 1:10 pm. We're opening the game thread at noon. So if you're watching the game and want to chat stop on by. And whatever you're doing today, have fun! Baseball is back!!!
Contract details courtesy of Cot's Contracts