Diving into the depths: Milwaukee Brewers

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
Milwaukee Brewers
Rotation
1. Randy Wolf
2. Yovani Gallardo
3. Doug Davis
4. Manny Parra
5. Jeff Suppan
6. Dave Bush
7. Chris Capuano
8. John Halama
9. Kameron Loe
10. Carlos Villanueva
11. Chris Narveson
12. A.J. Murray
13. Josh Butler
Wednesday’s addition of Davis complicates things, but it was necessary. Now the Brewers will have Parra, Suppan and Bush compete for two spots. Manager Ken Macha said months ago that Parra was penciled into the rotation, while the other two weren’t necessarily. If salary plays a role, then Parra might be out of luck. However, my guess here is that either Suppan or Bush will be released in spring training. It’d mean eating $12 million in Suppan’s case, but Bush, who is due about $4.25 million in arbitration, won’t have a guaranteed contract.
Bullpen
1. Trevor Hoffman
2. LaTroy Hawkins
3. Todd Coffey
4. Mitch Stetter
5. Carlos Villanueva
6. Claudio Vargas
7. Kameron Loe
8. Chuck Lofgren
9. John Halama
10. Tim Dillard
11. John Axford
12. Chris Smith
13. Mike Burns
14. Chris Narverson
15. Josh Butler
The bullpen is six deep with quality arms. With Villanueva and Vargas able to go multiple innings, the Brewers may opt to keep Lofgren, a Rule 5 pick, as a second lefty specialist.


Catcher
1. Gregg Zaun
2. George Kottaras
3. Jonathan Lucroy
4. Matt Treanor
5. Angel Salome
First base
1. Prince Fielder
2. Casey McGehee
3. Adam Heether
Second base
1. Rickie Weeks
2. Craig Counsell
3. Hernan Iribarren
4. Luis Cruz
Third base
1. Casey McGehee
2. Mat Gamel
3. Craig Counsell
Shortstop
1. Alcides Escobar
2. Craig Counsell
3. Luis Cruz
The only question left with regards to the starting lineup is whether Lucroy can win some sort of job-sharing arrangement with Zaun. The Brewers won’t keep the 23-year-old as a true backup, so if Zaun is going to be the starter, then Lucroy would head to Triple-A and Kottaras would likely stick over Treanor.
Gamel seems set to return to Triple-A, even though his showing in 128 at-bats for the Brewers last season suggested that he was ready for the majors. He’ll be available if McGehee stumbles as a sophomore.
Left field
1. Ryan Braun
2. Jody Gerut
3. Trent Oeltjen
4. Adam Stern
Center field
1. Carlos Gomez
2. Jody Gerut
3. Lorenzo Cain
4. Adam Stern
Right field
1. Corey Hart
2. Jody Gerut
3. Lorenzo Cain
4. Trent Oeltjen
The Brewers will probably pick up a fifth outfielder from the bargain rack as we get closer to spring training. Ideally, it’d be a right-handed hitter capable of providing a little punch off the bench. Marcus Thames will probably be out of their price range, but Reed Johnson or Rocco Baldelli could work.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.