Friday, April 01, 2005

Your 2005 Opening Day Roster

As it stands, here is the 25-man roster that Doug Melvin, Gord Ash, and Ned Yost decided upon:

Damian Miller
Chad Moeller

Russell Branyan
Jeff Cirillo
Trent Durrington
Billy Hall
J.J. Hardy
Wes Helms
Lyle Overbay
Junior Spivey

Brady Clark
Geoff Jenkins
Carlos Lee
Chris Magruder

Chris Capuano
Doug Davis
Gary Glover
Victor Santos
Ben Sheets

Mike Adams
Ricky Bottalico
Jorge de la Rosa
Wes Obermueller
Derrick Turnbow
Matt Wise

From the start of Training camp last month, I don't think anyone in their right mind could have predicted an opening day roster with such a make-up. There are a few things that stick out as being rather puzzling.

The first thing was the fact that they will carry EIGHT infielders, including what amounts to be basically four third basemen -- Branyan, Helms, Cirillo, and Durrington -- in that order. A case can be made for Cirillo to have made the club, based on his ability to play first, second, and third base. He would fit the role of the 25th man on the roster -- someone who can adequately fill in anywhere on the diamond, pinch hit off the bench, provide veteran leadership, etc. Fine, I have no problem with the sentimental pick of bringing Cirillo back.

But Durrington on the other hand, he just seems like a waste of a roster spot. He will more than likely be fourth on the depth chart at third base and second base, as well as serving as the emergency catcher. Big deal. Oh, I can't forget that he'll provide "speed" off the bench in pinch-running situations. Watch out now!! The sad part is, he isn't even really that fast. It's not like he has blazing Kenny Lofton-in-his-prime speed, but is simply mediocre. So tell me, how much playing time will he actually see while he's with the club?

Keep in mind that the toolshed Brooks Kieschnick was released earlier this week. Brooksy could have definitely have been of more value that Durrington could ever dream of being. Brooks would have provided a bat from the left side of the plate off the bench besides Magruder (who is stronger from the right side). In all honesty, I think pitcher Wes Obermueller has more potential at the plate than Durrington does, which leads into another point.

"We're going with eleven pitchers now because with two off days early, we're going to need that extra player, to pinch run or whatever (Durrington)," Yost said of the decision. "We'll need a twelfth pitcher in a couple of weeks. ... We think those guys can be a big part of our bullpen. We just need them to sharpen up their command and have clean innings. ... Whoever goes down there and gets the job done is going to come back. We told those guys the competition is going to be fierce."

"Those guys" that Yost was referring to were Tommy Phelps, Julio Santana, and Justin Lehr. These were the last three players vying for a spot in the bullpen. Another factor in going with an 11-man pitching staff to temporarily begin the year was the fact that none of the candidates trying to earn a spot in the bullpen were able to separate themselves from the rest of the pack, thereby making the the Brewers' braintrust's decision all the more tougher. Doug Melvin flat out said that nobody earned the twelfth pitching spot.

If you followed the spring training games at all, you would know that the bullpen was very, very shaky...and that's being kind. If I were in the braintrust's position, I would think it would be beneficial to carry an extra reliever, but that's just my opinion. This is why I am still very skeptical that this will be the actual team that makes the trip to Pittsburgh on Monday. I would be willing to bet that Melvin has something up his sleeve to help address the bullpen woes. I think he is looking to acquire someone off of the waiver wire to help shore up the bullpen. One name that has been released was that of Stephen Randolph. He is a younger relief pitcher who started off with the D'Backs organization and was just released by the Cubs yesterday.


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