Brewers ace Brandon Woodruff underwent surgery on his right shoulder Friday, the club announced. He is expected to miss most, if not all, of the 2024 season.
Woodruff missed four months this season with a shoulder injury that was eventually revealed to be a subscapular strain. He returned in August and finished the year with a 2.28 ERA and 3.60 FIP in 11 starts.
The right-hander was supposed to be a key piece in a Brewers playoff run, but he re-injured the shoulder after his final regular-season start. The club announced that Woodruff’s availability was uncertain for the postseason, and he was inactive in the Wild Card Series as the Arizona Diamondbacks swept the Brewers.
Woodruff sought a second opinion the week after the Brewers were eliminated but ultimately underwent surgery on his anterior capsule.
The news is a blow for the Brewers. Wade Miley, Colin Rea, and Eric Lauer could all leave as free agents, and Corbin Burnes is a trade candidate in his final year of club control. Woodruff’s injury adds another question mark to an uncertain group.
It is also a huge blow for Woodruff. The right-hander is due to hit free agency after next season and may hit the open market without throwing a big-league pitch in over a year.
There is also no telling how the injury could affect Woodruff’s stuff when he does return. He has established himself as one of the game’s best power pitchers. The rest of his arsenal plays off an upper-90s four-seam fastball that he uses to generate swings and misses, and a loss of velocity could reduce the effectiveness of that fastball.
Given the injury concern and Woodruff’s recovery timeline, he and the Brewers could agree to a two-year deal to buy out his final season of arbitration and delay his free agency by one year.