MILWAUKEE -- This is the second installment of a series previewing the 46th season in Brewers history, which formally begins next week when pitchers and catchers report to Maryvale Baseball Park. The series began on Wednesday with a look at the team's bounce-back candidates and continues with The New Guys.
For much of this offseason, there were few newcomers of which to speak. The Brewers' only major move from the end of the 2014 season until New Year's Day was a trade for first baseman Adam Lind, though things heated up in January with the Yovani Gallardo trade and some free-agent relief acquisitions. General manager Doug Melvin often points to the March 2011 trade for Nyjer Morgan as proof that impact adds can happen right up to Opening Day, but for now, here are the Brewers' notable new faces:
1B Adam Lind: In 2014, for the second time in as many seasons, the Brewers were last in the National League in offensive production at first base (.642 on-base plus slugging percentage), with Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay making most of the starts. In 2013, a wide array of Brewers first basemen combined for a .629 OPS that ranked last in the Major Leagues. Lind's OPS over those two seasons was .856, so when the Blue Jays made him available in late October, Melvin jumped, believing Lind's power potential offsets his injury concerns.
"It's a small group of guys that are available [in terms of free-agent first basemen], so we thought we would be aggressive," Melvin said then.
LHP Neal Cotts: The Brewers would have loved to bring back Zach Duke, a non-roster invitee last year who not only made the club but played a critical bullpen role, but they were blown out of the water by a three-year, $15 million offer from the White Sox. So Milwaukee went with Cotts, who isn't a matchup lefty but instead figures to work full innings in the middle of games. He'll pair with the other left-hander targeted for a bullpen role, Will Smith.
RHP Jonathan Broxton: Not a true newcomer to the roster (the Brewers traded for Broxton last Aug. 31), the big right-hander is nonetheless new in that he will fill a different role. Instead of a setup man to closer Francisco Rodriguez, Broxton is the presumptive closer himself, reprising a role he previously filled for the Dodgers and Royals. Two full seasons have passed since he closed games on a regular basis.
RHP Corey Knebel and INF Luis Sardinas: Two of the three players acquired in the Gallardo trade, Knebel and Sardinas might each need a bit more seasoning before they fit into the Brewers' big league plans. Knebel was shut down at the end of last season with a sore right elbow, but he avoided Tommy John surgery and could be a player to watch closely at Triple-A Colorado Springs. Sardinas is one of the Brewers' many promising young shortstops.
C Juan Centeno, INF Luis Jimenez and OF Shane Peterson: All three were claimed off the waiver wire over the winter, Centeno from the Mets, Jimenez from the Angels and Peterson from the Cubs. All could contribute in 2015, particularly Jimenez, who is one of Milwaukee's options to back up veteran third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Jimenez hit 21 home runs last season at the Triple-A level, and the Brewers are short of third-base prospects.
Ps Taylor Jungmann, David Goforth and Mike Strong, and SS Yadiel Rivera: The Brewers added this quartet to the 40-man roster in November to protect the players from the Rule 5 Draft. Jungmann is the headliner as a former first-round Draft pick who looks like the Brewers' "sixth starter." He's someone who could step in should one of the starting five suffer an injury. Goforth and Strong are sleepers for bullpen spots.
RHP Chris Perez and LHP Dontrelle Willis: Both veterans signed Minor League contracts with Milwaukee that include invitations to big league camp. Willis, who hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2011, is a long shot, but Perez is more than that. An All-Star closer for the Indians in 2011 and '12, he's coming off two less productive seasons but still averages 94 mph with his fastball and has the closing experience the Brewers coveted. He'll get a very good opportunity to make the team.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.