The deadline for teams to tender contracts came tonight, and the Brewers made their decisions official. While most of the arbitration eligible players received contracts, the Brewers officially decided to part ways with three players and not tender them contracts: Jonathan Schoop, Xavier Cedeño, and Dan Jennings.
Schoop is easily the biggest name of these three. Acquired at the trade deadline, he had been hitting .244/.273/.447 with the Orioles before the trade along with 17 HR, and was expected to help solidify the Brewers infield (at least offensively). They sent Jonathan Villar, Luis Ortiz, and Jean Carmona to the Orioles for Schoop, and with a year of arbitration left, hoped to hold onto him into 2019. However, Schoop completely slumped with the Brewers, hitting just .202/.246/.331 in two months with the team. He eventually lost most of his playing time, and in the postseason, only appeared in 4 of the team’s 10 games and made just 1 start.
With Schoop ptojected to earn $10.1 million in arbitration this offseason, the Brewers decided to non-tender him. They did try to find a trade partner for him before the deadline, but with the prospect of being able to pay Schoop less on the open market, there weren’t any takers. After the deadline, GM David Stearns spoke to Adam McCalvy, and was honest about how this deal went:
David Stearns looking at the Schoop trade in hindsight: "Look, it was a bad deal, and that's on me. We made a trade for a player we thought was going to be here for a year and a half, and I was wrong."— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) November 30, 2018
Meanwhile, reports of Dan Jennings’ non-tender came out earlier today, and the Brewers also made that official with their tender announcement tonight. Jennings was a workhorse for the Brewers in 2018, making the second-most relief appearances on the team and recording a respectable 3.22 ERA and 4.09 FIP. However, he wasn’t as reliable as the season went on, and with better options available for the Brewers going into next season, he didn’t have a spot on the team and did not get a contract, though his projected $1.6 million contract would have been reasonable.
The last of the non-tenders is Xavier Cedeño. Cedeño was a waiver trade pickup before the August roster deadline, as the Brewers sent the White Sox Bryan Connell and Johan Dominguez for a month of Cedeño. He mainly pitched as a lefty specialist, only pitching 8 innings across 15 appearances, allowing just one run, seven hits, and three walks. He was off the roster for the NLDS, but did make four appearances in the NLCS, though he allowed two runs and three hits over those four appearances. Cedeño was projected for $1.5 million in arbitration, but similar to Jennings, there just wasn’t a spot for him going into next season.
Meanwhile, the Brewers signed Hernan Perez and Tyler Saladino to contracts today, avoiding arbitration. and also did tender contracts to all of their other arbitration eligible players:
The Brewers have tendered contracts to C Manny Piña, OF Domingo Santana, INF Travis Shaw, RHP Zach Davies, RHP Junior Guerra, RHP Corey Knebel and RHP Jimmy Nelson. pic.twitter.com/TowvrXIFhC— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) November 30, 2018
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.