The Brewers’ 25-man roster is going to look a lot different by this time next week. Already, the changes are coming. The Brewers announced Thursday afternoon that George Kottaras is being designated for assignment to make room for the returning Jonathan Lucroy, and infielder Jeff Bianchi is being optioned to Nashville for reliever Jim Henderson. Kottaras’ DFA makes room for Henderson on the 40-man roster.
It seems extremely unlikely that Kottaras will make it to Nashville as a result of his DFA. Milwaukee has 10 days to waive, trade or release him. If this is indeed the end of George Kottaras in Milwaukee (and his tweet made it seem like it was), he’ll close his 2.5 seasons with the Brewers hitting .218/.331/.406. That’s a .737 OPS with 17 home runs in just 409 at-bats. Given the fact that there are contenders out there looking for catching help and Kottaras provides nice pop from the left side, the Brewers shouldn’t have trouble finding someone who’s interested. The return on an offense-first backup catcher won’t be great, but it’ll be something.
Henderson is being called up to be a fresh arm in an overworked and underconfident bullpen. Henderson put up a 1.69 ERA in 35 relief appearances with the Sounds, with 56 strikeouts in 48 innings. Those are impressive numbers, but it’s important to note that Henderson was doing this at Triple-A at age 29. In 10 minor league seasons, he has a 3.96 ERA, 1.317 WHIP, 7.1 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9. He’s not some kind of bullpen savior.
Bianchi returns to Nashville to get regular playing time. The Brewers are using his last remaining minor league option with this move, meaning if he’s going to be with the club next season, it’ll have to be out of spring training. Given the lack of better big league options at shortstop, though, you have to figure he’ll be back in the majors at some point this year, unless a Zack Greinke trade brings back a big league shortstop.