Willy Adames and Hunter Renfroe are both expected to come back to the major league club on June 7th after a much needed off-day on June 6th following the 4 game set against the Padres where the Brewers dropped 3 and were largely unable to score. Their return will need some altering to the roster.
Adames has been working back through a series of rehab assignments, albeit with complications. On the 28th of May, he had some right quadriceps discomfort while with the Single-A Carolina Mudcats which was deemed to be unrelated to the left ankle injury which originally landed him on the 15 day injured list. Meanwhile, Renfroe has been coming back from his first stint on the injured list since 2018 while he was with the Padres. This time, his injury is a “low-grade hamstring strain” according to Craig Counsell, which was sustained on May 23rd.
Getting Adames and Renfroe back into the lineup will definitely help out with the recent offensive woes, as they each have compiled 1.1 wins above replacement (WAR) thus far into the season, ranking 4th and 6th respectively of all Brewers on the year. They each have 9 home runs, second on the team behind Rowdy Tellez’s 10 long balls, so they look to provide an instant pop back into the lineup.
With them coming back, two will have to be sent down. Throughout most of the year, the Brewers have been running with 12 position players on the 26 man active roster. I don’t expect this to change. Two catchers will remain, so Victor Caratini and Alex Jackson are safe until the return of Omar Narvaez from the COVID-19 list. The most likely player to take a trip down to Nashville is Pablo Reyes despite his great play in the field and a 2-4 showing at the plate on Sunday. Another option is placing Luis Urias on the injured list after an aggravation to a swollen thumb on his right hand. This is highly dependent on the severity of his injury however.
Both of these players are not likely to leave the club at the same time, as there would be a distinct lack of positional flexibility and no real backup at shortstop to Adames, who is likely to be eased back into play with some designated hitting. Renfroe, on the other hand, is expected to be thrust back into right field, where he has started in 38 games this year. This secures the corners back to where fans expected, with Christian Yelich in left, and Renfroe in right.
Center remains slightly concerning with Lorenzo Cain’s issues at the plate, batting only 0.169 and providing negative WAR on the year. Meanwhile, Tyrone Taylor has earned more playing time in center, batting just under 0.270 in May along with all 6 of his home runs. This suggests Taylor should be playing center for the most part, but what to do with Cain? He has been the Brewers’ worst hitter on the year, but is not someone who can be just cut, and the Brewers need a roster spot. A creative option is some time off. Maybe there is a lingering back/neck issue, so he can take a step back. Cain deserves the support of the team and the fans, but his mental is taking a beating according to a recent interview. Spending some time with his family and taking a little break may be exactly what is needed to come back hot and take back center, while also allowing Renfroe and Adames to come back.
What do you think? I think Pablo Reyes will be the first down, then after that, it is a little unknown. There is obviously Hiura who could go back, but I don’t think that is a good option. Cain taking a break seems to be the best thing here.