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.
UTIL Jace Peterson
2020 Salary: $100,000
2021 Projection: Between $700,000 and $900,000
Peterson joined the big league team after spending the first part of the shortened season at Camp Appleton. He ended up playing 26 games, and like most other Brewers in 2020, didn’t very well at all, but did at least show enough patience at the plate to get consistent playing time in September.
The 30-year-old utilityman ended up drawing 15 walks in 61 plate appearances, helping him put up a .393 OBP despite hitting just .200. If you’re looking for another mild positive, 3 of his 9 hits on the season went for extra bases — 2 home runs and a double.
Peterson found himself as part of the mix after impressing in Summer Camp and Appleton before stepping into that semi-regular role in the big league lineup when the team was essentially trying anything it could to get a little bit of luck on offense. With Lorenzo Cain’s opt-out, Ryan Braun’s injuries, and Ben Gamel’s ineffectiveness as a full-time player, the Brewers hoped Peterson could get hot for a couple weeks and help spark something.
That never really happened, through no fault of his own, really. At this point in his career, Peterson is who he’s going to be — in 1472 career at-bats, he has a career line of .227/.317/.331. He’ll walk a good amount, but he doesn’t have much power at all, and he’s basically at or just-below replacement level. You’re also better off playing him in the outfield than you are in the infield, a lesson the Brewers may have learned the hard way when they were especially desperate for offense late in the season and were playing him at third base with Jedd Gyorko at first base.
Keeping Peterson won’t cost the team much of anything at all, but it could also be argued they could get someone better — or at least younger with more upside — for the same price. Peterson is the kind of player David Stearns likes to pick up on waivers at some point during the offseason that may or may not stay on the 40-man all winter. The organization historically has a nose for those types of versatile — and replaceable — players.
In this type of market, a player like Peterson seems likely to get non-tendered this week before hoping to sign a minor league deal before spring training opens.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference
Should the Brewers tender or non-tender Jace Peterson?
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