Following Wednesday’s loss to the Pirates, the Brewers announced they were optioning Khris Davis down to Triple-A Nashville. Most people seemed to guess it meant Jeff Bianchi was ready to end his rehab assignment and come off the disabled list, and today we found out those people were right.
After a strong showing in spring training, it was easy to forget at times that Davis was still on the Brewers’ roster. After getting two starts on April 5 and 6 when Ryan Braun was dealing with a sore neck, Davis was stuck on pinch hit duty. Logan Schafer started to get the spot starts in the outfield over Davis, and Davis struggled to produce with the sporadic playing time, hitting .188/.278/.313 in 18 plate appearances over the first month. Going down to Nashville will give him a chance to find the groove he had in Arizona this spring while playing every day.
Bianchi’s return likely won’t be the shot in the arm Aramis Ramirez’s will, but he does give the infield more depth. Outside of Jean Segura and Yuni Betancourt’s power paradox, the infield has struggled to produce in the absence of Ramirez (and Corey Hart). While Bianchi feels like the 10th shortstop on the roster, he does provide something the Brewers didn’t have while he was out — an ability to play second base.
All of those cries to replace Rickie Weeks in the lineup or give him some extended time off weren’t based in much reality, because there simply wasn’t anyone available to take his place due to all of the injuries. If you move Betancourt to 2B, you have to put Alex Gonzalez and his .167/.211/.227 line (worse than Weeks’ .186/.295/.309) into the lineup at third base, and then either Blake Lalli (.125/.125/.125) or Martin Maldonado (.222/.300/.422) at first. It’d be a move that might make the Bench Weeks crowd feel better, but it’s still rearranging deck chairs with wobbly legs on the Titanic.
Now, Bianchi can conceivably get a start here and there at second base, allowing them to keep Yuni at third base until Ramirez gets back, and first base after that (no, I never thought I’d be thinking of ways the Brewers could keep Yuni in the lineup, either). Bianchi might not hit much better than the other infield options mentioned above, but he is a more natural defender at second than Yuni or Alex Gonzalez, who have spent most (if not all) of their careers on the left side of the infield.
Someone else will have to go when Ramirez is ready to return. Right now, the safe bet is probably Josh Prince, who has only appeared in five games since getting called up, and hasn’t had a plate appearance since April 13.