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.

Rotation
1. Zack Greinke
2. Yovani Gallardo
3. Shaun Marcum
4. Randy Wolf
5. Chris Narveson
6. Manny Parra
7. Mark Rogers
8. Amaury Rivas
9. Josh Butler
10. Sam Narron
11. Cody Scarpetta

Depth is a major issue, but the Brewers have a very strong top three and a solid fourth starter. I’m skeptical that Narveson will last: he has the strikeout rate, but he struggles pitching from the stretch. Ideally, Rogers would stay healthy in Triple-A and secure the fifth spot in the rotation sometime around the All-Star break.

Bullpen
1. John Axford
2. Takashi Saito
3. Zach Braddock
4. Kameron Loe
5. LaTroy Hawkins
6. Manny Parra
7. Sean Green
8. Mike McClendon
9. Brandon Kintzler
10. Justin James
11. Mark DiFelice
12. Mitch Stetter
13. Roque Mercedes
14. Tim Dillard
15. Dan Merkinger
16. Zack Segovia
17. Pat Egan
18. Robert Hinton

The Brewers will be just fine in the pen. Parra was very good in his relief stints last season, and I like Kintzler as a sleeper to step into a setup role as the year goes on. I doubt Axford will be quite so good again in the closer’s role, but he should be able to hold on to his job.

Catcher
1. Jonathan Lucroy
2. Wil Nieves
3. George Kottaras
4. Mike Rivera
5. Shawn Riggans

First base
1. Prince Fielder
2. Casey McGehee
3. Mat Gamel

Second base
1. Rickie Weeks
2. Craig Counsell
3. Edwin Maysonet
4. Eric Farris
5. Erick Almonte

Third base
1. Casey McGehee
2. Mat Gamel
3. Craig Counsell
4. Erick Almonte
5. Taylor Green

Shortstop
1. Yuniesky Betancourt
2. Craig Counsell
3. Luis Cruz
4. Edwin Maysonet

Even though Weeks has improved to the point at which he’s just about average at second base, the Brewers are going to sport one of the game’s weakest infield defenses after swapping out Alcides Escobar and bringing in Betancourt. At least the group should be good for 90 homers or so.

Left field
1. Ryan Braun
2. Chris Dickerson
3. Brandon Boggs
4. Jeremy Reed
5. Brendan Katin

Center field
1. Carlos Gomez
2. Chris Dickerson
3. Jeremy Reed
4. Logan Schafer
5. Caleb Gindl

Right field
1. Corey Hart
2. Chris Dickerson
3. Brandon Boggs
4. Brendan Katin
5. Caleb Gindl

The Brewers need Gomez’s glove in center, so he figures to be given every opportunity to win the everyday job. I like Dickerson, but he’s inconsistent and injury-prone and he’s probably best utilized getting three starts a week as a fourth outfielder.

Report: Brewers sign Yovani Gallardo to a major league deal

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Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.

Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.

Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.

Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.