eddiemathews’ Offseason Plan
Arbitration-eligible (with projected salaries from MLBTR):
Write "tender" or "non-tender" after each of the following names. You can also trade a player before or after tendering a contract.
- Jared Hughes - $2.2 mil tendered
- Jeremy Jeffress - $2.6 mil tendered
- Stephen Vogt - $3.9 mil non-tendered
- Jonathan Villar - $3.0 mil tendered
- Jimmy Nelson - $4.7 mil tendered
- Hernan Perez - $2.2 mil tendered
- Corey Knebel - $4.1 mil tendered
Explain the toughest calls if necessary:
With the signing of Jonathan Lucroy, Vogt wasn’t needed. The rest are good value at their salary.
Contract options (pick up or buy out)
Impending free agents (re-sign, let go or qualifying offer)
- Neil Walker: made $17.2 mil in 2017 (ineligible for QO) - couldn’t fit in the budget
- Anthony Swarzak: made $900K in 2017 (ineligible for QO) - re-sign two years, $13 mil
- Matt Garza: made $12.5 mil in 2017 - well, no
Elaborate if needed:
$13 mil guaranteed for Swarzak is on the high side ($6 mil in ‘18), but it’s a very important spot in the pen.
Peruse the list of potential free agents and name one, two, or more that you would pursue, the maximum offer that you would extend to them, and a brief explanation. An example:
- I paid Jake Arrieta a lot of money - 4 years, $100m, with a $20m hit the first year. There’s probably an option year in there, maybe like the mysterious Matt Garza option year. The Brewers darn well better make the playoffs or I’m out of a pseudo-job.
- As noted above, Anthony Swarzak is back in the pen.
- I was surprised Jonathan Lucroy was willing to come back to Milwaukee, but the 3 year, $21m offer ($6m this year) was the best he got, and he was convinced that this team was his best shot at the post season. This makes for a very deep catching position. Craig Counsell will work out playing time between Pineapple and Luc.
(The Lucroy deal is probably the iffiest thing I’ve put in here, but I like Luc and think he’d really make the team better. Better than The Machete and Luc, even!)
#1: Trade Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, Corbin Burnes, and Mauricio Dubon to Tampa Bay for Chris Archer. I hated to do this, and I would have preferred to send Brandon Woodruff instead of either Ortiz or Burnes, but the Rays were adamant on those two. Can’t blame them. I gave the Rays their choice on Brinson and Domingo Santana, and they took Sweet Lew. I figure we are better off this year with Santana in the lineup, anyways.
25 Man Roster:
Starting Pitchers: Jake Arrieta, Chris Archer, Chase Anderson, Zach Davies, and Brandon Woodruff.
Junior Guerra, Brent Suter, and Aaron Wilkerson provide depth, and Adrian Houser is a dark horse candidate.
Bullpen: Brent Suter, Jeremy Jeffress, Jared Hughes, Jacob Barnes, Josh Hader, Anthony Swarzak, Corey Knebel.
Look familiar? Guerra could see time here.
Catchers: Manny Pina, Jonathan Lucroy. (Jett Bandy and Andrew Susac are at AAA.)
First Base: Eric Thames, Jesus Aguilar. They could be even better in ‘18!
Middle Infield: Orlando Arcia, Jonathan Villar, Eric Sogard. Soda Boy will get some time, but Villar is a key to the success of this team.
Third Base: Travis Shaw, Hernan Perez LBR also reprises his role as the Super Utility guy.
Outfield: Ryan Braun, Keon Broxton, Maverick Phillips, Domingo Santana. I’m giving the bulk of the starts in center to Phillips.
The lineup on the field will look a lot like last year. We will hope for continued growth from the youngsters and hope for a kinda bounce-back season from Braun. The rotation could get really good if Jimmy Nelson is able to make a quicker-than-expected and full recovery, but I’m not counting on that, at least for 2018. If things fall apart, Arrieta and Archer could be deadline trade possibilities. But what could go wrong?
My calculations bring this team in at about $94.5 mil this year. There’s still some wiggle room for mid-season deals if necessary, as we all know that some things just won’t work out - like my plan to give Jonathan Villar every opportunity to be the everyday second baseman. Come to think of it, maybe I could slip Villar into the trade to the Rays instead of Dubon...and then signing Neil Walker for $13m would only raise payroll to $104.5 mil. Hmm.
Remember, folks, I’m soon to be 66. My window of opportunity to watch a World Series Champion Milwaukee Brewers team is closing. So let’s get aggressive!