Injuries, Roster Utilization, and the Brewers | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

The Brewers pulled off, arguably, their most impressive win of the season Monday night in St. Louis. Trailing 3-0 in the 7th inning against a dominant Michael Wacha, the Brewers plated three runs to tie the game. The bullpen kept the Cardinals offense scoreless for six innings from there on out, with a Khris Davis RBI triple giving the Brewers the go-ahead run in the 12th.

Possibly the most impressive aspect of the win was that it was accomplished without Ryan Braun and Jean Segura. By the end of the game, four players were playing out of their normal position, yet they still managed to beat a stingy Cardinals team.

What the Brewers emerged with to go along with a win was a serious roster clutter. A team already facing problems with injuries and a fatigued bullpen was the recipient of….more injuries and a more fatigued bullpen on Monday in St. Louis.

With Aramis Ramirez now day-to-day with a bruised left elbow, the Brewers are effectively playing with 22 healthy players. The timetables for the return of Braun and Segura are still unclear, and it’s unlikely that we will see either of them in the St. Louis series. Unexpected to play in Tuesday’s game, the Brewers will be playing with two healthy bench players (and no reserve outfielders). Expect to see a lineup with Mark Reynolds at third, Jeff Bianchi at shortstop, Lyle Overbay at first, Martin Maldonado at catcher (to give Lucroy a day off), and Elian Herrera in right.

On top of that, one thing we’ve deduced from this first month of the season is that Wei-Chung Wang is to be used in literally only the lowest-leverage situations possible. In the event of a game that is within three or four runs (which the Brewers basically specialize in this year, right, K-Rod?), the Brewers are effectively playing with a 21-man roster.

Wang presents a perplexing situation for the Brewers. Right now, with the Brewers competing, it’s tough to see a roster spot used on someone who only pitches three times a month. But Wang is a special case. He just turned 22 last Friday, had never pitched higher than rookie ball, hit 96 mph on the radar gun in his last appearance, and, as a Rule 5 draft waiver pickup, would be lost if designated for assignment.

At this point, it’s difficult to see the Brewers letting him go after only a month of their case study. But going forth, it’s going to become important for the team to find out what they really have in Wang. That won’t come right away, but on a team that looks like a serious competitor (yes I said it), is Wang the best use of a roster spot, both in the present and the future?

Another roster spot the Brewers may want to look at to resolve the clutter is Rickie Weeks. The team is clearly going in the direction of Scooter Gennett now and Weeks has been relegated to occasional pinch hitter (even though you can still vote for him for the All Star Game). Since April 12, he’s started two games–less than Herrera and Maldonado, who was suspended five games. When Logan Schafer comes back, there sure could be both positives and negatives for keeping or demoting Weeks at this point.

The good news to emerge from all of this is that the Brewers showed their legitimacy on Monday night with a 21-man win over the Cardinals. The bullpen, though slightly overworked, has been dominant. Looking back at who was in last night’s game during extra innings almost makes you seriously wonder how the Brewers pulled that game off.

Here’s a reason how they won it: this team is for real.


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Tell us what do you think.

  1. D Rock says: April 29, 2014

    When can they send Wang down?

    • Vin B says: April 29, 2014

      They can’t without offering him back to the Pirates. They’re not using him enough to even have a slight injury they could DL him with.

      • dbug says: April 29, 2014

        Even if he were to get hurt, he still has a minimum time that he has to be on the active roster. I believe it is 90 days he has to be on the active roster. If he doesn’t spend 90 days active this year, he’ll have to make up the remaining time next year.

        • D Rock says: April 29, 2014

          ” I believe it is 90 days he has to be on the active roster.”

          I thought I read something like that, but now I can’t find it anywhere. Basically, he has to stay on the roster up until about the trade deadline. So, they can move Wang down and fill the roster spot before the deadline.

          • dbug says: April 29, 2014

            No, I think he still has to be on the ML roster the entire year, but the 90 days is just meant to prevent a team from stashing a Rule 5 pick on the DL for most of the season. If he spends 90 days on the active roster and then goes to the DL for the rest of the season, I think they team would be in the clear. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

      • D Rock says: April 29, 2014

        Huh. I thought they had an in-season deadline to keep keep him on the active roster. My bad.

    • D Rock says: April 29, 2014

      D’oh! Shoulda just looked at this first, I guess…

  2. dbug says: April 29, 2014

    I was really hoping Weeks would get more opportunities to improve his tradability, but if they plan on using him this way, it doesn’t make a lot of sense keeping him on the roster. If you are going to pay him anyway, you might as well buy out his contract and bring in a player that provides more flexibility to the roster.

    • Doug says: April 29, 2014

      If these nagging non-DL injuries persist I smell a DFA in the near future for one Mr. Weeks.

      • dbug says: April 29, 2014

        That, or he needs to start taking some RF lessons.

      • Doug says: April 29, 2014

        You figure that they already have paid him $2mil this year on his $11.5mil contract – so the Brewers would have to eat about $9.5mil.

        Which is kind of sick.

        I think teams would be reluctant to trade for him to be a starter since his option for next year vests at 600PA in 2014. He is currently at 33PA’s.

        • dbug says: April 29, 2014

          The option should just about be a moot point now. Unless he were to bat leadoff and never miss a game the rest of the season, I don’t think he could reach that PA threshold.

          • Doug says: April 29, 2014

            Well it would be about 110 to 115 PA’s per month from here until the end of the season.

            Yes – it would be a stretch to hit that mark – but not ‘unpossible.’

            Pray for the continued health of Scooter.

          • dbug says: April 30, 2014

            If my math is right, he would have to get just over 4 PA per game the rest of the year to reach that total. It would be near impossible to make it to 600, and any team trading for him would know about the option and just sit him a game every now and then anyway.

      • D Rock says: April 29, 2014

        Ditto. You know who will need a utility infielder who hits well against lefties in the middle of the season?

        Yeah, pretty much everyone not in the NL central…

  3. Panda says: April 30, 2014

    I don’t see Wang being on the roster as troublesome of you.

    April was a very special month by the Brewers. Many games were close and thankfully the Brewers won them. In a more normal month there would be a “bring on Wang” situation at least once or twice a week.
    The last outing by Wang was quite positive. Maybe he doesn’t even need to send down by the end of the year? If the Brewers can keep on the active roster until the rosters expand he is a Brewer for good.

    Weeks is a much bigger problem. Not sure what to do with him…

  4. jimmy kirchner says: April 30, 2014

    i think the brewers should trade weeks for a minor league player i cant see them getting much would like to see a veteran back up that could provide some more offense well see go brewers


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