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  • Bevy of Optionless Wonders Signals Likely Fringe Addition to 40-Man Roster


    'Ro Mueller

    Are the Brewers going to DFA several players at the end of Spring Training or make a move now to add another optionable player to the 40-man MLB roster? RHPs Tyler Cyr and Manuel Rodriguez are possible additions to consider.

    Image courtesy of © Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

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    If you’re like me, you’re perplexed at the number of Optionless Wonders the Brewers have, leaving the bottom of their roster more unsettled than usual. Each of the following six players must make the 26-man Opening Day active roster, be placed on the injured list, or be designated for assignment:

    • RHP Bryse Wilson – no options remaining
    • RHP Gus Varland – Brewers can’t option him because he’s a Rule 5 pick
    • 1B Jon Singleton – no options remaining; can also reject assignment if he passes DFA waivers
    • 1B Keston Hiura – burned final option in 2022 roster management malpractice; can also reject assignment if he passes DFA waivers
    • RHP Javy Guerra – no options remaining; can also reject assignment if he passes DFA waivers
    • RHP Joel Payamps – no options remaining; highly likely to be claimed if we DFA

    Even if the team wanted to get creative and send players like OF Tyrone Taylor or RHP Adrian Houser down to the minors for a spell or two, they can’t. Those players also have no options remaining.

    Does this matter? What does it suggest?

    It may mean that Matt Arnold is comfortable knowing there will be some roster shuffling at the end of Spring Training, with the Brewers letting guys go and replacing them with releases from other teams. However, any semi-decent players released from other teams are likely also to be Optionless Wonders, so this is unlikely to be the case.

    More likely, this means the Brewers intend to add at least one more Optionable AAAA player to the 40-man roster, with the corresponding move being:

    • a trade of Jon Singleton, Keston Hiura, Javy Guerra, and Joel Payamps; OR
    • a DFA of Bryse Wilson, hoping he’ll scale through waivers so that he can be outrighted to AAA (the Tigers recently outrighted a whopping four players in this manner, including former Brewer catcher Mario Feliciano).

    The usual place to find worthy Optionable AAAA players this time of year is via the DFA market, which has seen an impressive 51 players made available for claim or trade from December 18th to January 17th. However, we’re really at the tail end of this vibrant market, as free agent signings slow to a trickle, and teams will, at some point, be able to move injured players to the 60-day injured list.

    Barring any additional DFAs around the league this week, only three Optionable players remain in DFA limbo. Given the logic outlined above, the Brewers are a good bet to pick up at least one of these players:

    • RHP Tyler Cyr (Athletics) – 29 years old; reliever; only pitched 13 1/3 MLB innings (2.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 10.8 K/9, .290 BABIP against in 2022); solid MILB results (2.85 ERA in AAA in 2022 with 9.9 K/9, 4.91 ERA in AAA in 2021 with 12.0 K/9, 2.05 ERA in AA in 2019 with 10.6 K/9); MLB fastball averaged 94.4mph in 2022
    • OF Alberto Rodriguez (Mariners) – 22 years old; LHH right fielder; dipped to a .732 OPS in High-A in 2022 after a .867 OPS in Low-A in 2021, averaging ten homers and 10.5 stolen bases over the two seasons
    • RHP Manuel Rodriguez (Cubs) – 26 years old; reliever; pitched 13 2/3 MLB innings in 2022 (3.29 ERA) and 17 2/3 MLB innings in 2021 (6.11 ERA), but walked 21 against 24 Ks over the two seasons; terrific 12.9 K/9 rate across five minor league campaigns; MLB fastball/slider average dipped to 95-95.9mph in 2022 after 97-97.2mph in 2021 as he’s dealt with injuries in three straight seasons

    Of the three aforementioned Optionable players, I’d venture that Tyler Cyr is the most likely pick-up if Milwaukee aims to add a high-floor guy who can contribute immediately if called upon. He has been a consistent performer who can also bring respectable heat, with the main blemish being his limited time in the majors (and perhaps his age). Of course, Manuel Rodriguez appears to have more upside, and that 97mph pace may be tempting to take a flier on.

    I should also mention that Cyr has three option years remaining, while Alberto Rodriguez has two, and Manuel Rodriguez has one. Yes, Cyr could seamlessly yo-yo between MLB and AAA from 2023-2025 with no special roster juggling required.

    Could the Brewers claim Cyr and not give up any cash or player in return? This is possible, given his age, but two other Optionable pitchers were both nabbed today: RHP Connor Seabold was traded to the Rockies, and the Mariners claimed JB Bukauskas. I’d argue that neither is as attractive a 2023 MLB option as Cyr, so the team may have to give up a relatively minor prospect to the Athletics in return.

    On a somewhat related note, while some had urged the Brewers to add OF Kyle Garlick (who went unclaimed and was outrighted by the Twins on Tuesday) to play some right field and pinch hit against southpaws, his 14 BB/80 K ratio over the past two seasons was likely a deterrent.

    Of course, I’m more likely wrong, and the Brewers do absolutely nothing. Let’s see how this week pans out.

    Which of the remaining players in DFA limbo do you think the Brewers will grab, if any: RHP Manuel Rodriguez, OF Alberto Rodriguez, RHP Tyler Cyr, UTIL Matt Reynolds, or RHP Mark Leiter Jr.?

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    If Hiura isn't a fit on this team and there are no takers it might make sense to DFA Hiura, if he doesn't accept the assignment he doesn't get paid his $2 million.

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    2 minutes ago, Outlander said:

    If Hiura isn't a fit on this team and there are no takers it might make sense to DFA Hiura, if he doesn't accept the assignment he doesn't get paid his $2 million.

    It was hard to see where Hiura fit into this roster and then the Brewers went out and signed Brian Anderson.

    Now I simply don't see a path for Hiura to make the Opening Day roster.

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    Mentioned him in another thread, but Hunter Harvey had a sneaky good year out of the Nationals pen last year.

    Only 39 IP but he posted a 62 ERA- and 52 FIP-, though his 0.23 HR9 is likely unsustainable leading to an 85 xFIP-.

    Checking his pitch mix it looks like he more or less ditched his breaking balls to emphasize his 98.3 MPH four seamer (77%) and 89.4 MPH splitter (15%) as the out pitch.

    Was a waiver claim by the Nats last year, so maybe they’d want to cash him in to gamble on Hiura’s upside? Could send back one of the out of options relievers and maybe a prospect like Zavier Warren to get it over the line.

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    Keston Hiura is an enigma for sure. His innate ability to barrel the baseball has been evident all throughout his amateur career, and his short flight through the Brewers minor league system and right through his rookie season with the Brewers in 2019. His trajectory was a straight line to hitting glory. What happened to Kestdaddy?

    The old saying that still holds true is "The bat plays". That is how the Brewers handled Kestin for the most part. We will find a place in the starting lineup for a guy with this kind of hit tool. Then came 2020. He lost his way at the plate and has never consistently found his confidence or his stroke. It will take a tremendous spring from Kestin to hope to regain the confidence lost in him by his manager but Kestin is young, healthy, an above average runner and a very talented hitter. I feel strongly that if he is released or traded Hiura will find a rebirth and become the hitter every scout that watched him play thought he would become.

    Hope springs eternal. Lets hope this spring Kestin recaptures his confidence and his stroke and forces his way into the lineup on a regular basis. Especially against right handed pitching.

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    21 minutes ago, BrewDog56 said:

    Keston Hiura is an enigma for sure. His innate ability to barrel the baseball has been evident all throughout his amateur career, and his short flight through the Brewers minor league system and right through his rookie season with the Brewers in 2019. His trajectory was a straight line to hitting glory. What happened to Kestdaddy?

    The old saying that still holds true is "The bat plays". That is how the Brewers handled Kestin for the most part. We will find a place in the starting lineup for a guy with this kind of hit tool. Then came 2020. He lost his way at the plate and has never consistently found his confidence or his stroke. It will take a tremendous spring from Kestin to hope to regain the confidence lost in him by his manager but Kestin is young, healthy, an above average runner and a very talented hitter. I feel strongly that if he is released or traded Hiura will find a rebirth and become the hitter every scout that watched him play thought he would become.

    Hope springs eternal. Lets hope this spring Kestin recaptures his confidence and his stroke and forces his way into the lineup on a regular basis. Especially against right handed pitching.

    Welcome to Brewer Fanatic!

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    2 hours ago, Outlander said:

    If Hiura isn't a fit on this team and there are no takers it might make sense to DFA Hiura, if he doesn't accept the assignment he doesn't get paid his $2 million.

    Arbitration agreement contracts are now fully guaranteed.  So he gets his $2m if he is DFA’d.

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    The Brewers need RH platoon players for both 1B and DH. That is Hiura and Brosseau right now.  The Brewers likely do not believe in reverse splits.

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    17 minutes ago, nate82 said:

    Arbitration agreement contracts are now fully guaranteed.  So he gets his $2m if he is DFA’d.

    If I understand correctly, the claiming team (even after passing through waivers) would still be responsible for the league minimum, so his $2.2M salary is more like a $1.5M gamble.

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    2 minutes ago, endaround said:

    The Brewers need RH platoon players for both 1B and DH. That is Hiura and Brosseau right now.  The Brewers likely do not believe in reverse splits.

    Can DH Contreras vs LHP to get him more PAs.

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    2 minutes ago, sveumrules said:

    Can DH Contreras vs LHP to get him more PAs.

    Unless Contreras completely reverts into a pumpkin offensively, this is an obvious move. Good-hitting catchers almost need to DH regularly just to extract as much value as possible from the player.

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    damuelle
  • Brewer Fanatic Contributor
  • Posted

    I'm glad this article has generated some active commentary. Thank you.

    Is it true that the Full Season Minimum MLB Salary is guaranteed to all players that make the Opening Day active MLB roster, but players who DON'T make the Opening Day active MLB roster earn a pittance during the portions of the season that they toil in AAA?

    If so, then the present situation is probably the most worrisome for guys like Jake Cousins, Abraham Toro, Janson Junk and Brice Turang, whose odds of starting the season in AAA (costing them in gross salary and financial security to boot) are heightened by the ease of being able to option them.

    In my mind, I figure we've got four things going on:

    • Barely knew ya Trevor Richards-style trade of Joel Payamps for a minor leaguer
    • Keston Hiura vs. Jon Singleton roster decision
    • Gus Varland vs. Bryse Wilson roster decision
    • Comfort starting the season with a 38-man MLB roster, leaving room for future selections of Sal Frelick and Joey Wiemer
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    18 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

    It was hard to see where Hiura fit into this roster and then the Brewers went out and signed Brian Anderson.

    Now I simply don't see a path for Hiura to make the Opening Day roster.

    well, if Rowdy or Winker are injured to start the year. 

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