After officially declining Ryan Braun’s $15 million option as expected earlier this morning, the Brewers are also giving us some of the first indications that they’ll be looking to cut costs wherever possible this offseason with another decision on a player with an option for 2021.
According to Jon Heyman, outfielder Ben Gamel, who avoided arbitration by signing a one-year deal with a team option for 2021 prior to this season, is getting that option declined.
Brewers turn down Ben Gamel’s $2.55M option. He remains arbitration eligible for them.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 30, 2020
Gamel’s option would have been for $2.55 million, and he remains arbitration eligible and under Brewers team control despite having the option declined.
It’s not necessarily a surprising move, considering projections pegged Gamel for somewhere between $1.7 million and $2.1 million if he were to go to arbitration. Declining the option and trying to work out another deal or taking him to arbitration gets the Brewers’ front office out of paying $500,000 or so they otherwise would have been paying.
That’s assuming Gamel is tendered a contract, though. If the Brewers are truly looking to cut salary, they could non-tender him on top of declining his option and go with someone like Tyrone Taylor (making the league minimum) as their 4th outfielder instead.
Aside from saving the ownership group money, there’s an argument that Taylor or just about anyone else would be an improvement on the Brewers’ roster.
After a lot of hype in summer camp about a different batting stance allowing him to tap into more power, those results didn’t last for long. He did get off to a hot start to the season, but was pretty quickly overexposed after Lorenzo Cain’s opt-out and finished the year below replacement level with a -0.2 fWAR while hitting .237/.315/.404.
Gamel is someone who doesn’t do anything terribly well, and if you’re expecting the market to soon be flooded with declined options and non-tenders, you’re almost assured of finding someone who can do those things better — and for less.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs