The deadline to add players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft was Friday afternoon. Unlike years prior, the Brewers did not add any players. In fact, the only move made was Mark Mathis being outrighted to Triple-A. With the transaction, the 40-man roster was reduced to 35 players.
Mathias, a utility infielder, was considered a fringe opening day roster player prior to an injury in spring training. He eventually under went season ending shoulder surgery in May. It is not all that surprising that he was outrighted seeing how the Brewers recently traded for infielder Mike Brosseau.
Which Players Are Now Left Unprotected From the Rule 5 Draft?
Among the Brewers top 30 prospects, four were left unprotected. Those players were: No.15 OF Korry Howell, No. 22 Carlos Rodriguez, No. 29 OF Tristen Lutz, and No. 30 Victor Castaneda. Of these prospects, Castaneda has played at the highest level of minor league baseball. He just got a taste at the Triple-A level to end the 2021 season. After Castaneda, nobody has played higher than Double-A.
Players ranked outside of the top 30 that were not protected from the Rule 5 draft include: OF Jamie Westbrook, OF Je’Von Ward, OF Ernesto Martinez, 3B Weston Wilson, and RHP Luke Barker. Westbrook, Wilson, and Barker all played at the Triple-A level last season and would stand a higher chance of being drafted in the Rule 5 draft. There are many others who are Rule 5 eligible, but the list provided are players who all made some noise during the 2021 minor league season.
For the Brewers to not add any of these players is not surprising. Zero out of the four prospects in the top 30 are viewed as MLB ready and odds are that the players outside of the top 30 will not be selected by another team. In case you are wondering, top prospects like Garrett Mitchell, Brice Turang, Ethan Small, Joe Gray, Joey Wiemer, and others do not have to be protected yet.
The Brewers will now turn to free agency and/or trade to fill their remaining five roster spots. David Stearns has already been aggressive in signing non-roster invitees early in the off-season, so I would expect him to continue to be aggressive prior to the CBA expiration deadline on December 1st.
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