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Milwaukee Brewers 2017 Payroll Projection: Update 2

It’s still going down.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Last season according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the Milwaukee Brewers opened the year with the league’s lowest payroll at just a shade under $64 mil. That figure was the lowest that the Brewers have seen since 2007 and was the first time the Opening Day payroll was below $80 mil since 2008.

We’ve learned a few things since our last post on this topic that will have an affect on next year’s payroll projection. First, the MLB minimum salary will be rising from $507,500 to $535,000 next season per the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Second, Scooter Gennett and Kirk Nieuwenhuis both agreed to contract for 2017 to avoid arbitration, so their salaries are now set in stone. Finally, Tyler Thornburg was dealt to Boston in return for 3B Travis Shaw and a couple of prospects. With those transactions officially complete, here is where things currently stand heading into 2017:

Ryan Braun $19,000,000 Eric Thames $4,000,000 Matt Garza $12,500,000 Carlos Torres $2,000,000
Kirk Nieuwenhuis $900,000 Scooter Gennett $2,525,000 Wily Peralta $4,400,000 Blake Parker $535,000
Keon Broxton $535,000 Martin Maldonado $1,600,000 Chase Anderson $3,100,000 Jimmy Nelson $535,000
Domingo Santana $535,000 Orlando Arcia $535,000 Junior Guerra $535,000 Jhan Marinez $535,000
Michael Reed $535,000 Jonathan Villar $535,000 Zach Davies $535,000 Tyler Cravy $535,000
Hernan Perez $535,000 Corey Knebel $535,000
Travis Shaw $535,000 Jacob Barnes $535,000
Andrew Susac $535,000
$21,505,000 $10,800,000 $21,070,000 $5,210,000

Total: $58,585,000

There are a few caveats to this chart, of course:

  • Ryan Braun ($4 mil) and Matt Garza ($2 mil) both have deferred money in their contract which will be paid out at a later date.
  • Arbitration-eligible players Maldonado, Anderson, Peralta, and Torres do not yet have their 2017 salaries officially set so the figures provided are projections from MLB Trade Rumors. Each player will continue to negotiate with the Brewers until February, at which point if no contract is agreed upon an arbitration hearing will take place.
  • The MLB league minimum has been raised to $535,000 and has been assigned to all pre-arbitration eligible players, though ultimately many of those players will make a small amount over the league minimum (for example, last season Jonathan Villar made $512,900 with the league minimum at $507,500).
  • Pre-arb roster spots aren't set in stone, but they don't really affect the main topic of this post. So if you don't like Michael Reed or Tyler Cravy or whoever being on this list, swap them out for another pre-arb player in your head. It won't affect the payroll projection.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis (signed for $900K, projected $1.6 mil) and Scooter Gennett (signed for $2.525 mil, projected $3 mil) both agreed to contracts well below their projected arbitration salaries, saving the club roughly $1.1 mil in salary from our last projection. Tyler Thornburg’s $2 mil salary projection is now off the books as well, and new addition Travis Shaw will be making the league minimum. Accounting for the increase in the minimum salary, the Brewers still project to only come in at about $58.6 mil in total salary for 2017, a decrease of about $2 mil from our last update and about $6 mil below last year’s Opening Day total. The Brewers are reportedly shopping for help in the bullpen following the Thornburg trade so we could still see the payroll increase from here, though top earners Ryan Braun and Matt Garza do remain on the trading block as well.

Contract information courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts

Arbitration projections courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors