Teams have until December 2nd to decide whether to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players. The Brewers have a slew of players up for raises this winter, but the uncertain financial situation for teams across the league could lead to some surprising non-tenders. Who will the Brewers keep among their arbitration-eligibles, and who will they let go? We take a look at each player’s case.
2020 Salary: $1.75 million ($656,250 when prorated)
2021 Projection: Between $2 million and $2.3 million
It might be easy to forget that Claudio was actually in this situation last offseason and did end up getting non-tendered before agreeing to come back on a cheaper deal.
Claudio was coming off a year in which he made $1.275 million and was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $2.2 million in arbitration. The Brewers decided to cut him loose rather than pay close to a million more for him, only to sign him for a $500,000 raise instead.
Back for another y ear, Claudio ended up having another season you’d expect from him, even if many expected the new three-batter minimum to basically doom his career. A 4.26 ERA/4.09 FIP overall isn’t something that will excite you, but it was in a small sample size of just 19 innings and he did manage to improve one of the things that made him such a maddening pitcher to watch in 2019 — the walks. He cut down his career-high 3.5 BB/9 rate in 2019 to a more manageable 2.8 BB/9 this year, although that was still well above his career average of 2.3 BB/9.
That helped him become a more effective lefty specialist, as he improved from a 2019 season which he allowed a .218/.301/.378 line against lefties — you definitely don’t want to see an OBP allowed above .300 from specialists — to .212/.257/.364 this year, allowing just one walk in the 35 lefties he faced.
While he did perform better in the role that was asked of him, it probably wouldn’t be a surprise to see Claudio non-tendered again. If baseball is preparing to non-tender a record number of players again this winter, it would appear that guys like Claudio — relief specialists projected to earn more than $2 million — would be among the first to go if teams are trying to cut costs.
Of course, as we saw last winter, that wouldn’t preclude another return down the line if the Brewers want another go-around with the rubber-armed lefty.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference
Should the Brewers tender or non-tender Alex Claudio?
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