Thanks for reading that story, and thanks for the timely question -- right after the Brewers signed Neftali Feliz, and right before they agreed with Joba Chamberlain on Minor League deal with an invitation to big league camp. Based on general manager David Stearns' answer when I posed this question last week, it sounds like Feliz may be Milwaukee's only big addition to the back end of its bullpen.
"We have to remain open-minded," Stearns said in announcing the Feliz deal. "There are still a number of available players out there, so we remain in this discussion.
"I would say it's probably unlikely that we sign another reliever to a Major League deal, but not impossible. We're certainly going to keep busy and keep talking to representatives to see if there's the right fit."
• Submit a question to the Brewers Inbox
The Brewers also had been exploring trades involving bullpen acquisitions, and they remain an attractive landing spot for players like Chamberlain, who are amenable to Minor League contracts with invitations to big league camp. Those avenues remain possibilities. It's also possible that another free-agent acquisition, left-hander Tommy Milone, winds up in Milwaukee's bullpen. He will first compete for the rotation.
But if you were hoping to see the Brewers sign the likes of Greg Holland or Sergio Romo, Stearns' comments indicate you might be disappointed. Holland seemed like a good fit for the Crew -- a player coming off an injury and looking for a place to re-establish his value, with the Brewers in need of a closer -- but reports say he wants an opt-out after the first year of a deal. It may be the case that Milwaukee contacted Holland's agent, Scott Boras, as a matter of due diligence.
If Feliz is the Brewers' only big league addition, the other players on Milwaukee's 40-man roster available as bullpen options are: Corey Knebel, Carlos Torres, Jacob Barnes, Michael Blazek, Jhan Marinez, Rob Scahill, Tyler Cravy, Damien Magnifico, plus some of the pitchers who don't make the rotation, like possibly Brent Suter, Taylor Jungmann and Milone.
I've gotten many questions this offseason about the possibility of the Brewers returning full-time to their iconic ball-and-glove logo, which received an update last year and appeared on a new alternate jersey. So I posed the question to Milwaukee spokesperson Tyler Barnes, who said there are no changes to game uniforms this year. The Brewers will employ the same combination as they donned in 2016.
Hopefully that lays this rumor to rest.
Spring Training is three weeks away, but Stearns said the Brewers don't know yet. Hernan Perez appears very likely to play for Venezuela, and Jonathan Villar is a possibility for the Dominican Republic. Considering the right elbow injury that cost him most of August last year, it would qualify as a surprise to see Junior Guerra pitch for Venezuela. I don't know whether Feliz intends to pitch after missing the 2013 event because he'd just undergone Tommy John surgery.
Stay tuned. I was told that these answers could come as early as next week.
• World Baseball Classic schedule, tickets
This question could carry us through Spring Training if the Brewers don't find a trade partner for Scooter Gennett, who was bumped off second base when the Crew acquired Travis Shaw to play third and said Villar was likely to man second. Gennett could be a left-handed bench bat, though the presence of Perez and Gennett's positional limitations make that appear less than ideal. It's also worth noting that Gennett has a Minor League option remaining.
"I think Scooter comes into camp in a role where he is going to have to fight for playing time," Stearns said in December. "He is going to have to fight for his [at-bats]."