With Salomon Torres (retirement), Eric Gagne (free agency), Brian Shouse (free agency), and Guillermo Mota (free agency) all off the 40-man roster, Brewers' GM Doug Melvin has been quietly adding arms in prep for next month's Rule 5 draft.
Todd Coffey was added in September, and remains on the expanded roster; then, last Wednesday, Melvin added four more righties--former first-round pick Mark Rogers, plus Omar Aguilar, Alex Periard, and Cody Scarpetta. Then, on Monday, Melvin inked lefty R.J. Swindle to a contract, bringing the 40-man total up to 35, with 18 of those being pitchers.
Melvin also already has Joe Bateman, Lindsay Gulin, and Chris Narveson booked for Maryvale as non-roster invitees.
While all 8 are longshots to making the opening day 25-man, Melvin is making sure that AAA Nashville will be stocked in case of injuries or poor performance.
Infielder Jason Bourgeois was also inked to a Minor League contract with a non-roster invite, joining Casey McGehee and Hernan Iribarren as infield bench options in '09.
So while most of the starting position players will look the same in '09, look for lots of new faces on the bench and in the bullpen.