Six days from the season opener against St. Louis, the Brewers have optioned two utility options down to minor league camp as their 25-man roster begins to take shape.
Tyler Saladino and Cory Spangenberg are today’s cuts, meaning the Brewers’ bench to start 2019 is now basically settled:
INF Tyler Saladino and INF/OF Cory Spangenberg have been optioned to minor-league camp.— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) March 22, 2019
With today's moves, #Brewers bench is set: Eric Thames, Manny Pina, Hernan Perez and Ben Gamel.— Tom (@Haudricourt) March 22, 2019
While Spangenberg did show some good pop in his bat this spring, hitting .244/.277/.489 with 3 home runs and 2 doubles in 45 at-bats, his chance of making the Opening Day roster was effectively ended when the Brewers brought back Mike Moustakas. If Thames was going to make the roster as the backup first baseman/pinch-hitting power bat, only one of Spangenberg and Hernan Perez was likely to make the roster.
Spangenberg did try to play some outfield this spring to further improve his versatility, but with Christian Yelich able to play all three outfield positions, David Stearns was never likely to keep more than four outfielders on the roster, and that fourth spot was all but guaranteed to be Gamel.
Saladino was in the same boat as Spangenberg, hitting .238/.298/.524 with 3 home runs and 3 doubles in 42 at-bats, but seeing his chance at a roster spot disappear before the spring really got started. He was also one of the names of likely San Antonio Missions leaked to the team’s beat writer the other day before he was officially optioned.
With the bench pretty much settled, the remaining cuts will come from the bullpen (and whatever happens with Erik Kratz). Injuries to Jeremy Jeffress and Corey Knebel have opened up a couple of unexpected spots, and more moves to address that area of the team are likely in the coming days.