Just days before the start of the regular season, the Brewers have learned that they will be without their backup catcher for a significant chunk of the year.
Major League Baseball suspended Pedro Severino for 80 games after he tested positive for a banned substance.
Severino tested positive for Clomiphene, a drug meant to treat infertility in women. He explained that a doctor prescribed the substance after Severino and his wife unsuccessfully tried to start a family. Severino accepted the suspension and is not appealing.
The Major League Baseball Players Association issued the following statement from Pedro Severino (updated): pic.twitter.com/lNjJdVXRJF— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) April 5, 2022
The former National and Oriole, who posted a 120 wRC+ against left-handed pitching last season, was supposed to platoon with Omar Narvaez behind the plate. Behind those two, the Brewers are thin on options at catcher. Mario Feliciano needs more seasoning at Triple-A. Brett Sullivan has no big-league experience and managed just a .724 OPS with the Tampa Bay Rays Triple-A affiliate last year.
Sullivan is probably ahead of Feliciano on the depth chart, but like Narvaez, he is a left-handed hitter. The absence of a right-handed backstop would create an imbalance on the roster.
The free-agent market is nearly bare as well. Jeff Mathis and Jose Lobaton are among the available right-handed-hitting catchers with MLB experience, but neither is a remotely productive hitter at this stage of their careers. A trade seems most likely in response to Severino’s absence.
When asked how the Brewers plan to fill the newfound hole on their roster, President of Baseball Operations David Stearns responded with a typical front-office comment: the organization is engaging with the market but is also confident in its internal options.
Pedro Severino informed the Brewers on Monday that he faced a suspension, according to David Stearns, who said the team was already in talks with teams and free agents. pic.twitter.com/206NdlmaxP— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) April 5, 2022
Whether it’s a free agent signing or a trade for a tolerable stopgap, a transaction before Opening Day is likely.