COMMENTARY | For the casual sports fan, it can be difficult to keep up with every single roster move that takes place during the offseason. With the growing dominance of the football in America, the changes that took place for the Milwaukee Brewers and baseball teams in general can tend to go under the radar.
Heck, even if you're more than a casual baseball fan, that doesn't mean you have to be aware of the player that holds down the final bench spot or the long reliever who rarely sees the field. And that's what we're here for - to introduce you to these fresh new faces and give an indication of what these players will bring to the table in Milwaukee.
Injuries, a crapshoot of a bullpen and veteran arms moving elsewhere led to several transactions this winter, so there's plenty to cover. Here are the newest Milwaukee Brewers and the roles they will take over during the 2013 season.
RHP - Burke Badenhop
Affectionately known as "The Hopper," The 30-year-old Badenhop is coming off a stellar season with the Tampa Bay Rays and was acquired via trade on Dec. 1. The middle-reliever had a 3.03 ERA in 62 1/3 innings last year and will likely see time anywhere between the fifth and seventh inning for the Brewers.
INF - Yuniesky Betancourt
Guess who's back? That's right - it's the Yuni-bomber.
After a one-year stint in 2011 with Milwaukee in which Betancourt hit .252 with 13 HRs and 68 RBIs, the Brewers let the now 31-year-old shortstop walk. But the team didn't feel good about its infield depth, especially because of injuries, so Betancourt was signed after the Philadelphia Phillies released him this spring. He will back up at every infield position as the only infielder on the Brewers' bench.
OF - Khris Davis
Having never received an at-bat at the big league level prior to 2013, Davis made the team after a power surge this spring, which was a surprise to some. The 25-year-old doesn't bring much in terms of defense, but he might just be the Brewers' best option off the bench to pinch-hit because of his ability to go yard at any moment.
RHP - Alfredo Figaro
Figaro is 28 and hasn't played at the Major League level since 2010 with the Detroit Tigers, but a marvelous spring - and the Brewers' decision to go with 13 pitchers - resulted in Figaro making the opening day roster. He can throw hard and go multiple innings for Milwaukee, but could potentially find himself in Triple-A once the Brewers inevitably drop back down to 12 pitchers.
LHP - Michael Gonzalez
A lefty specialist is something Milwaukee has lacked in recent years, and that's exactly what Gonzalez brings to the table. He experienced a nice resurgence with the Washington Nationals last season, earning a 3.03 ERA in 35 2/3 innings, and was signed via free agency in late December.
LHP - Tom Gorzelanny
Also a lefty - and also a former National - Gorzelanny gives Milwaukee a long-relief option and a potential spot starter if needed down the road. Best known for his years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the 30-year-old was signed by the Brewers on Dec. 21 and sported a 2.88 ERA in 72 IP last season.
RHP - Brandon Kintzler
He's not exactly a new face, but Kintzler has never pitched more than 17 innings in a season with the Brewers in three years. The 28-year-old is part of the bullpen overhaul and pitched fairly well down the stretch last season, but may be battling with Figaro to stay with the parent club beyond the first few weeks of the season.
RHP - Kyle Lohse
Signed on March 25 for three years and $33 million, Lohse brings a veteran presence to an inexperienced starting rotation. He went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA last season for the St. Louis Cardinals and is part of the reason, along with limiting Chris Narveson's innings, why the Brewers are carrying 13 pitchers. Even though he only pitched in one game this spring, Lohse will make his debut on April 4 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
OF - Logan Schafer
Like Kintzler, Schafer is a familiar face of sorts, but this will be the first season he starts the season with Milwaukee. While he's a nice option off the bench as a left-handed hitter, he also provides excellent defense and can be brought in late to help preserve a lead. That defense, and his success as a pinch-hitter last September, made him a virtual lock to make the roster this season.
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who contains an unhealthy amount of knowledge about Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline and as a featured columnist among other sites and publications.
You can follow Dave on Twitter @DaveRadcliffe_ .
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