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Looking at the May 1 roster reduction for the Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers will have to reduce their active roster to 26 players by the end of April. Let’s look at who could end up off the roster when that happens.

St. Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Due to the lockout in the offseason, as well as the shortened spring training, MLB and the MLBPA approved a rule for just this season to allow expanded rosters for the month of April. With just over a week to go in April, teams will have to cut their rosters down to 26 players at the end of the month. Two players will need to be removed from the roster for the Brewers, so let’s take a look at who might be fighting to keep their job.

To start, there is one caveat to this roster reduction coming up. Since rosters will return to traditional limits, that means there will be a limit on pitchers on the roster again. All teams will be permitted to carry a maximum of 13 pitchers. Currently, the Brewers active roster has 15 pitchers and 13 position players. As a result, they will have to remove two pitchers from the roster. So, we will focus on the pitching options that could be off the roster.

(Option statuses are as noted from Roster Resource on FanGraphs.)

Aaron Ashby
2 Options Remaining

Ashby might be the easiest choice here to send back to the minors. He’s been a good innings eater to start the season, as well as a starter, but there’s not as much of a need for him right now. If the Brewers want to keep Ashby as a starter, it may make more sense for him to get regular starts in the minors instead of the periodic starts he will get from the Brewers. Looking at the current projected pitchers, Ashby will not be pitching as a starter in the next several games. In fact, the Brewers have used their off days so far to skip Ashby in the rotation. This may be dependent on how committed the Brewers are to five days off for their starters between starts. However, with it early in the season, and Ashby having options available so he won’t be exposed to waivers, Ashby at Nashville makes a lot of sense right now. If the Brewers choose to stick with a six man rotation when there’s not an off day, Ashby could make one more start before the roster reduction on May 1.

Jake Cousins
2 Options Remaining

While Cousins was one of the more reliable relievers for the Brewers last season, he has struggled a bit through the early season this year. He’s given up runs in two of his five appearances, and two of his three inherited runners have scored. While he’s only walked one batter and struck out seven in five innings, he also has four wild pitches so far. Since he has options available, he’s going to be an option for the minor league bus.

Hoby Milner
1 Option Remaining

Milner has actually had a good start to the season, allowing no runs over 5 appearances (4.2 IP). He’s also a LHP, which gives him some additional support to stay in the bullpen. However, he has an option available, and he’s generally not being used in high-leverage situations. The option alone is enough that he could be on the minor league bus this season.

Jandel Gustave
1 Option Remaining

Gustave is another player that might end up in the minors just because he has an option available. He’s allowed runs in two of his five appearances and only has 4 strikeouts compared to 3 walks. He does have a bit of potential use as a longer reliever, but the option means he’s a potential candidate for the minors.

Freddy Peralta
2 Options Remaining

This one feels more like a long shot, but after Peralta’s first two starts of the season and rough spring training, it needs to at least be mentioned. Peralta also has options available, so he could safely be sent down as well. However, it’s an unlikely move. Peralta has only had two starts so far, and each of the other starters has struggled in at least one. He’s also coming off of an all-Star season with a 12.2 K/9, and so far the strikeouts are still there (12.9 K/9). The ERA is high (11.57), but the FIP is more encouraging (5.05). I don’t think the Brewers would do anything drastic with Peralta this early, but let’s see how his next two games go. Peralta’s performance could also play into whether Ashby stays or not, whether it’s to provide another arm for long relief or to step into the rotation.

Devin Williams
2 Options Remaining

This is another option that feels like a long shot, but Williams has also struggled to start this season. He has an 8.31 ERA through six appearances, though his FIP is kinder at 4.00. He has 10 strikeouts compared to 7 walks. His spring wasn’t much better with four runs allowed in four innings, and 9 strikeouts compared to 5 walks. Last night, he didn’t get charged with a run, but both of the runners he inherited scored. Similar to Peralta, it would be a bit extreme to make a change this early in the season, but it is an option.

Brent Suter
2 Options Remaining*

The last long-shot option to mention is Brent Suter. He’s only made 4 appearances (3.1 IP) but has allowed a run in 3 of those 4 (1 was an unearned run) and has a 3:3 K/BB. It’s hard to draw any conclusions there, and he at least had a good spring (2 runs allowed in 4.2 IP, 4:1 K/BB). It’s hard to see the Brewers deciding to make a move with him at this point. One note for Suter as well: While he technically has options available, he should have enough major league service time at this point to refuse a minor-league assignment. He entered the season at 4.161 years of service time, but since playing 90 days of a season on a major league roster counts as a year for this purpose, that should be enough to refuse.

Trevor Gott and Jose Ureña
No Options Available

These two likely will be safe, though Ureña is a bit more at risk. Not only do they not have options remaining, but they’ve been pitching well so far. Gott has been very strong and has three years of control, so there’s no chance he’s going anywhere. Ureña is only on a one-year deal, and at $1.25 million it’s not a major blow to the payroll. If Ureña continues to pitch well, he could also be safe if the Brewers don’t want to risk losing a pitcher at this point. (EDIT: I was off on Ureña, his stats aren’t the greatest at 3.38 ERA/6.64 FIP with a 3:4 K/BB ratio in 5.1 IP. However, his contract/option status might keep him around for the time being.)

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs.