MLB Trade Rumors released their arbitration estimates for 2024 on Friday. The Brewers have 12 arbitration-eligible players entering this offseason, which is the ninth most in baseball. These players are projected for a total of $70 million in arbitration salaries.
Here is MLB Trade Rumors breakdown of the players by salary:
- Corbin Burnes: $15.1 million
- Willy Adames: $12.4 million
- Brandon Woodruff: $11.6 million
- Devin Williams: $6.5 million
- Rowdy Tellez: $5.9 million
- Adrian Houser: $5.6 million
- Eric Lauer: $5.2 million
- Hoby Milner: $1.7 million
- Tyrone Taylor: $1.7 million
- Joel Payamps: $1.7 million
- Bryse Wilson: $1.3 million
- Abraham Toro: $1.3 million
For the top two players, they are likely going to get paid. They’ve been valuable and should be a no-brainer for tendering contracts. The question isn’t if they’re going to get paid, it’s if they will get paid with the Brewers. Both are entering their final season of arbitration, so there is a lot to consider going into next season.
Brandon Woodruff is a massive question mark right now. We’re still waiting to hear news on his shoulder injury, and the decision on him could depend on the severity. He’s likely not a non-tender candidate even in a worst-case scenario, but how the Brewers approach him could be dependent on it. If he’s looking at an extended absence in 2024, a two-year deal may end up being the better move for both sides. He is also entering his final year of arbitration, and going into free agency with not much to show in 2024 isn’t good for Woodruff.
The Woodruff injury could also play into the Brewers decisions for two other pitchers on this list, Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer. Houser is entering his final year of arbitration and Lauer is entering his third year. Lauer’s time in the minors should extend out his free agency by one season. Lauer is expected to get a small bump ($5.08 to $5.2 million) while Houser will get a bigger bump ($3.6 to $5.6 million). Both pitchers are in that gray area where the Brewers could bring them back, trade them, or maybe even non-tender them. However, if Woodruff misses significant time in 2024, the need to bring them back increases. Until that situation becomes more clear, it’s tough to project what the Brewers will do here.
The one player that is likely in the danger zone for a non-tender is Rowdy Tellez. He’s getting a $1 million bump in his projection ($4.95 to $5.9 million), but his production wasn’t as good as it was in 2022. His OPS+ dropped from 113 to 82 and his home run total dropped from 35 to 13. He also only started 15 of the Brewers 39 games after returning from injury, and only hit one home run in 53 at-bats following his return. He’s also one year away from free agency. It’s tough to see him getting tendered at that high of a salary.
The remainder of the Brewers arbitration-eligible players should get contracts. There’s no chance Devin Williams is going anywhere and his jump ($3.35 to $6.5 million) is completely reasonable. Most of the players making under $2 million (Milner, Taylor, Payamps, Wilson) were all major contributors on the Brewers in 2023. The one that could be a question mark is Abraham Toro. He only played in nine games with the Brewers in 2023 and spent the rest of the season in the minors.
As for Super Two players, the cutoff has not been determined yet. The most likely candidate for the Brewers is William Contreras, who will be at 2 years and 112 days following the 2023 season. It’s unlikely that Contreras would be in the Super Two group, as the lowest the cutoff has reached is 2 years and 115 days in 2019. The average for the cutoff is around 2 years 129 days, but it has been below 120 days in two of the past four seasons.
Here are the Brewers current payroll commitments for 2024:
- Christian Yelich: $26 million
- Freddy Peralta: $5.73 million
- Aaron Ashby: $1.45 million
There are also four players with options for 2024:
- Mark Canha: $11.5 million team option ($2 million buyout)
- Wade Miley: $10 million mutual option ($1 million buyout)
- Andrew Chafin: $7.25 million team option ($725,000 buyout)
- Justin Wilson: $2.5 million team option ($150,000 buyout)
Contract information courtesy of Baseball-Reference.