As the Brewers begin their preparations for the 2022 season, they will have many decisions to make on their roster. One of those decisions relates to their arbitration-eligible players. Going into the 2022 season, the Brewers will have 14 players eligible for arbitration. Earlier this week, MLB Trade Rumors released their yearly projections for those players. Josh Hader leads the projections again, this time with an estimated $10 million salary. Brandon Woodruff comes in with the second highest at $7.1 million
Here’s what they calculated for the Brewers, from highest to lowest projection:
- Josh Hader: $10 million
- Brandon Woodruff: $7.1 million
- Omar Narvaez: $4.1 million
- Willy Adames: $4 million
- Corbin Burnes: $4 million
- Eric Lauer: $2.7 million
- Luis Urias: $2.4 million
- Brent Suter: $2.3 million
- Adrian Houser: $2.3 million
- Daniel Vogelbach: $2 million
- Rowdy Tellez: $1.9 million
- Jace Peterson: $1.3 million
- Luke Maile: $1 million
- Jandel Gustave: $800,000
Overall, if the Brewers paid all of those players their estimate, it would be an additional $45.9 million to the payroll. That’s not a bad total to add for those players, and many of those will be easy decisions on picking up.
However, the Brewers already have a significant amount of payroll locked up for the 2022 season. Here’s a look at their current contracts, per Baseball-Reference:
- Christian Yelich: $26 million
- Lorenzo Cain: $18 million
- Jackie Bradley Jr.: $11 million
- Kolten Wong: $8.5 million
- Josh Lindblom: $3.04 million
- Freddy Peralta: $2.48 million
- Avisail Garcia: $2 million buyout or $12 million option
All of that adds up to an additional $71.02 million in committed payroll for current contracts. Should Garcia’s option be exercised, another $10 million gets added on to that. That also doesn’t include any deferred payments, like those for Ryan Braun. If the Brewers picked up every one of those contracts along with Garcia’s option, that’s $126.92 million in payroll right there. That also doesn’t include the pre-arbitration contracts. Add those in, and the payroll would be pushing closer to $130 million, well above any payroll the Brewers have ever had.
Of course, this all assumes that MLB’s current salary structure will remain the same in 2022. The CBA negotiations are still ongoing, and a new CBA could completely change the structure of all of this. Whether that would push salaries higher or lower remains to be seen, though it’s more likely that salaries would increase. However, it’s also possible that a new CBA would make more players free agents with less service time, and that would also affect negotiations.
Regardless of what happens with the CBA, many decisions will need to be made this offseason. A $130 million payroll wouldn’t be sustainable for the team, but that means some tough cuts or trades are coming. The non-tender deadline is currently set for December 1, which is also when the CBA expires. We’ll have to wait and see what the Brewers have planned.