The Milwaukee Brewers entered today’s non-tender deadline with decisions to make on seven arbitration eligible players, having already designated Chris Carter for assignment earlier this week. We’ve reportedly gotten a resolution on one of those players, as according to Jon Heyman the Brewers have signed outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration. The club has confirmed the signing.
Nieuwenhuis, who’ll turn 30 next season, appeared in 125 games for the Brewers in 2016 and hit .209/.324/.385 with 13 home runs in 392 plate appearances. That was good enough for an 89 wRC+ despite the low batting average. Kirk struck out in 33.9% of his plate appearances last season, but a 14.3% walk rate helped mitigate some of that. He played solid defense at all three outfield positions and was valued between 0.6 and 1.0 WAR, depending on which site’s method one prefers.
Kirk’s contract will reportedly pay him $900K in the majors and $257K in the minors, though he is out of options and would be eligible to elect free agency if he clears waivers and is outrighted. He was projected to receive $1.6 mil by MLB Trade Rumors, so the Brewers netted themselves a $700K savings from that figure. For the time being, Nieuwenhuis figures to reprise his role as fourth outfielder on the 2017 Brewers and will give Craig Counsell a left-handed hitting option that can be plugged in off the bench.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs