The votes are in, and you chose Jedd Gyorko as the #5 MVB for Milwaukee in 2020. It would be hard to believe that anyone would have thought Gyorko as one of the five most valuable Brewers coming into the 2020, but with a wRC+ of 118 and the solidifying influence on first base in the final half of the season, he is certainly deserving.
As was the case with many of David Stearns’ acquisitions prior to this season, Gyorko was coming off a poor 2019. Unlike the rest of those acquisitions, Gyorko rebounded. In 2019, Gyorko slashed a paltry .174/.248/.250 producing a 36 wRC+. Coming into his year 31 season, “was Gyorko falling off the proverbial cliff of his baseball career?” had to be one of the big questions surrounding him.
The Brewers’ front office obviously felt he was a good gamble and signed him to a 1-year, $2M contract with a club option for 2021. His adjusted salary actually came to $370,370 in the shortened season. While so many failed to come through offensively this season for the Brew Crew, Gyorko was really good. In 135 plate appearances, Gyorko slashed .248/.333/.504 while launching 9 home runs. Two of his homers came against the Pirates on August 28 as you can see in the video recap of the game below.
Stearns and Company were obviously intrigued by his versatility as the long time Brewers’ nemesis could play virtually any position on the field. Plus he was a very good hitter prior to 2019. In 2016, 2017, and 2018, he put up a wRC+ of 112, 113, and 111 respectively. Anyone with a good eye could see that Gyorko was injured in 2019 and likely impacted by those injuries to a point that explains the performance dip in 2019.
The Brewers do have a decision to make on Gyorko in 2020. He could be back in Milwaukee in 2021. The Brewers would have to pick up his club option, however. The price tag would be $4.5 mil. There are also incentives that could increase his salary (option escalates to $5.5M with 400 plate appearances and $7M with 700 plate appearances). Milwaukee can buy out the option for $1M.
Jedd Gyorko proved that 2019 was likely a hiccup in his career as he produced in 2020 similar to career norms. The price tag outlined in his contract for someone that plays at his level for one year is quite reasonable. Whether the Brewers decide to bring Gyorko back is anyone’s guess. He certainly earned his salary and more in 2020.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs