After the trade for Adam Lind gave the Brewers their primary first baseman, Milwaukee's most glaring need is in the bullpen. Jonathan Broxton, Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith are almost certain to find themselves on the Opening Day roster, likely leaving four open relief spots. Francisco Rodriguez, Zach Duke and Tom Gorzelanny are free agents. Duke could return, as could Rodriguez depending on the price and role he wants to play. Brandon Kintzler is arbitration eligible. The Brewers may not want or be able to pay for the likes of David Robertson, Andrew Miller and Sergio Romo. Arms like Luke Gregerson (above) or Casey Janssen might be more realistic if a free agent is signed. It is nearly impossible to predict how a general manager will fill a bullpen. Doug Melvin has numerous options.
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Adam Lind will play the majority of the time at first base, but the Brewers may consider a right-handed-hitting platoon partner due to Lind's career .212 batting average against lefties. The National League Central doesn't feature many left-handed starting pitchers, but the Brewers could also protect themselves with insurance in case of an injury to Lind. One option would be to re-sign Mark Reynolds (above) in a backup role. He'd also provide coverage at third base for 36-year-old Aramis Ramirez. The Brewers could also solve this issue in-house with Jason Rogers or Luis Jimenez, or just play Jonathan Lucroy at first base against certain lefties. Finding a free agent to serve as a backup rules out most of the market.
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Another decision the Brewers must make this offseason is whether or not to turn fulltime second-base duties over to Scooter Gennett. It is clear Gennett will start against right-handed pitchers as he did in 2014, but his inability to hit left-handers may lead to another platoon. Gennett is a .128 hitter (10 for 78) against lefties in the big leagues, which means his .289 batting average in 2014 will certainly drop if he plays fulltime. The Brewers could opt to give Gennett at-bats against lefties in hopes of him improving, but there will be a temporary dip in overall production. If they opt to look for a platoon partner, Emilio Bonifacio (above) might be the most appealing option -- that is if he's willing to serve in a super-utility role. In-house options include Hector Gomez and Elian Herrera.
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Barring a surprise move -- Doug Melvin has been known to make a few -- the rest of Milwaukee’s offseason moves will be minor. The Brewers do have three arbitration-eligible players: Brandon Kintzler (above), Gerardo Parra and Martin Maldonado. MLB Trade Rumors projects Parra’s 2015 salary to be $6.4 million, Kintzler at $900,000 and Maldonado at $1 million. Teams must decide whether to tender contracts to players by Dec. 2 and have until Jan. 16 to exchange salary figures with players. If the two sides can’t agree, arbitration hearings will be held in February. Maldonado is an easy decision, as he’s valuable to the Brewers at that price. Milwaukee will also opt to bring Parra back to share time with Khris Davis and serve as a fourth outfielder. Kintzler is a non-tender candidate.