With Milwaukee 10.5 games up with under a month left now and the team still playing red-hot baseball, it's a good time to look at who will make the playoff roster. But before I begin, I'll review the eligibility rules for the playoff roster.
At first glance, the regulations seem very convoluted to fans. It turns out to make more sense as September passes and justifies many moves clubs make prior to the September pennant chase.
The key date, August 31, is approaching rapidly. To be eligible for a team’s playoff roster, a player must be on either (a) the 25-man active roster, (b) the disabled list, (c) the bereavement list or (d) the suspended list as of August 31st at midnight EST.
This does not allow teams to keep September call-ups that performed well at the big league level on the roster, nor does it permit post-August 31 waiver-wire trades. The Brewers ran into the latter situation in 2008 after acquiring Todd Coffey, who helped the team reach the playoffs, but could not pitch in the postseason.
As for injured players, if an eligible player is injured and unable to play, a club can call up any player in the organization regardless of their roster status, provided that the replacement player follows suit of position player for position player and pitcher for pitcher. The replacement player also has to have been in the organization as of the August 31st deadline and finish the season in the organization, in order to receive approval from the commissioner.
The Brewers currently have 25 men active on their roster (as do all teams). They will also have Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez back from the disabled list in time, with Gomez on schedule to be taken off the DL on September 1 or 2. This requires the Brewers to open up two roster spots for Gomez and Weeks.
It seems plausible and sensible to leave out third baseman Taylor Green, who was called up to the Brewers from AAA this past weekend and has yet to make his debut. With Jerry Hairston Jr.'s ability to play both infield and outfield, the move would make sense for the Brewers, who, with Hairston, have seven infielders on the roster.
Milwaukee almost has to lose one position player on its current 25-man roster and cannot leave off two pitchers for the playoffs. Green seems to be the clear choice, unless he surprises with a great September.
With two players coming back from the DL, another currently-active player for the Brewers will not make the playoff roster, barring any injuries. I think the clear choice is reliever Frankie De La Cruz.
Though he has pitched well in his stint with Milwaukee, De La Cruz is still a rookie and hasn't proven himself. The Brewers are carrying 12 pitchers, which is more than necessary with a four-man playoff rotation that would see Chris Narveson go to the bullpen.
Every bullpen role is locked for the team, and De La Cruz is the odd-man out. It would surprise more people to see him on the playoff roster than off it.
Until recently, when reliever Tim Dillard was sent to AAA to counteract the call-up of Green, it appeared that reserve infielder Josh Wilson may be the second man to miss out on the playoff roster; but with another infielder now on the active roster, Wilson appears to be in good position to play in October.
The timing of the move, however, is interesting.
The Brewers did not wait until rosters expand on September 1 to call up Green, who was hitting .336 with 22 homers and 88 RBI with AAA Nashville, so he is eligible for the playoff roster. Whether or not their intention was to put him on that roster or simply to give him some more experience at the big league level is yet to be determined.
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