Despite a perpetuation of a self-mandated level of austerity over the past two years, the Milwaukee Brewers were able to make another playoff appearance in 2021, their fourth in a row. The Brewers cut their payroll ahead of the 2020 season, then spent the winter of 2020-21 messaging fans about ‘operating in the red’. A few late deals pushed the Brewers’ opening day payroll to just over $ 99 million in 2021, which ranked 19th in Major League Baseball. The Brewers haven’t had a payroll standings for the opening day in the top half of the league since 2012.
Milwaukee finished with the third-best National League record at 95-67 and again beat more than half of the league despite his so-called small market status, finishing 7th in the NL with over 1.8 million fans. who walked through the gates at American Family Field. With full-capacity crowds expected all next season and a wider distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Brewers can likely expect to get closer to the 2.5 million and more attendees they attracted from 2017-19. .
That said, an increase in revenue would likely be welcome for the Cream City Nine. They have a host of players currently screened for umpire raises as well as several others slated for contract increases. It may finally be the moment when Mark Attanasio and his company decide to support the top half of the league’s payroll!
When we took a first look at the club’s payroll, Major League Baseball was still actively in the offseason. Now the CBA has expired, the owners have locked out players, and MLB level trades have been frozen since last week. The Brewers made a handful of moves before the lockdown began, which mostly amounted to a reallocation of resources while keeping the opening day payroll projection in a similar place:
Total: $ 112,290,000
There are of course a few caveats to this table:
- Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich each have deferred funds built into their contracts which will be paid out at a later date.
- Josh Lindblom, who was banned from the 40-man list last May, remains with the organization and owes a salary of $ 2.75 million in 2022.
- Trevor Gott has signed a free agent contract but the terms have yet to be released. We do know, however, that this is a split contract, with different pay levels depending on whether Gott is in the majors or the minors. Gott signed a $ 700,000 contract last offseason, so he’ll likely be in a similar range in 2022. For now, we’ll be using our imputed league minimum until more information becomes available.
- Cain, Yelich, Kolten Wong, and Freddy Peralta have incentives built into their deals.
- Wong has a buyout attached to his contract option for 2023.
- The Brewers paid Avisail Garcia $ 2 million in buybacks when he declined his mutual option. Ryan Braun begins deferred payments in 2022, and Cain’s begins in 2023. Kolten Wong has deferred payments paid to him, as does Yelich, but his is well advanced.
- Arbitration-eligible players Omar Narvaez, Brent Suter, Brandon Woodruff, Josh Hader, Willy Adames, Corbin Burnes, Eric Lauer, Adrian Houser and Luis Urias have yet to officially set their salaries for 2022. The figures provided are a courtesy of projections published by MLB Trade Rumors.
- The MLB minimum wage in 2021 was $ 570,500. With the CBA expiring, it’s unclear what the minimum wage will look like for 2022. Usually there is at least some sort of increase in the cost of living. For this exercise, the minimum has been set at $ 650,000 to account for the impending (probable) increase as well as those who may win a small amount above the league minimum.
- The pre-arb spots aren’t frozen, but they don’t really affect the main topic of this article. So if you don’t like any of the minimum league players on this list like Tyrone Taylor or Justin Topa, trade them in for another pre-arb player. This will not affect the projection of the wage bill.
There have been quite a few changes since we last joined, including the deal that sent Jackie Bradley, Jr. and two Boston Red Sox prospects in exchange for Hunter Renfroe. This allowed the Brewers to wipe their books from Bradley, Jr.’s 2022 contract and 2023 option / buyout and helped secure their alleged starting right fielder for the upcoming season. Dan Vogelbach (expected $ 2 million) was not tendered and John Curtiss (not eligible for arbitration but in re-education of Tommy John) was released. Pedro Severino was signed for $ 1.9 million to replace Manny Pina as backup receiver, and Rowdy Tellez ($ 1.94 million), Jace Peterson ($ 1.825 million) and Jandel Gustave ($ 675,000 ) accepted contracts to avoid arbitrage and give brewers a cost. certainty as winter progresses. Overall, the projected payroll has fallen by about $ 1.6 million since the start of the offseason.
With Renfroe set to take the reins in right field and JBJ out of the picture, it’s likely that Tyrone Taylor will see an increased role as a fourth regular outfielder in 2022. Tellez currently sits atop the depth chart at first. goal, and Luis Urias is still the best candidate to play third base. If Milwaukee makes another big addition for an impact before the start of the new season, however, first or third base seems to be the most plausible places for upgrades. There will certainly be additional pitch depth to add; with Devin Williams returning from an injury, the Brewers could use another veteran arm with late-inning experience to close the innings at Josh Hader.
All in all, it could be argued that there aren’t a ton of obvious maneuvers for the Brewers to do this winter. Maybe they’re trying to land a big fish, like Freddy Freeman or Kris Bryant. More likely, however, is that when / if owners and players come to an agreement, Slingin ‘David Stearns will focus more on fleshing out his depth and creating redundancy across the roster.
Contract information courtesy of Baby Crib Baseball Contracts
Arbitration screenings courtesy of MLB Business Rumors