The Milwaukee Brewers 2023 season came to an abrupt end earlier this week as they were defeated in two games during the Wild Card Series by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Now that their season is over the main focus around the team shifts towards their off-season plans. One topic of discussion is which of their arbitration eligible players will be tendered contracts in 2024.
For those not familiar arbitration is the process by which players still under team control determine their salary for the upcoming season by negotiating with the team that holds their rights. If the two sides cannot agree on a salary a hearing is held and a court determines the player’s salary. Players who have between three and six years of MLB service time are eligible and before that they make the major league minimum salary of approximately $730k.
This year Milwaukee has 12 players who are arbitration eligible. MLB trade rumors recently released their projected salaries article and in total the Brewers are estimated to allocate $70.0 MM towards these players. For a full breakdown of each players projections, click here.
In this article we will take a look at three players who are in danger of being non-tendered this off-season. Non-tender means that Milwaukee will not guarantee them a contract and they will become free agents. These decisions have to be made by the middle of November.
Three Milwaukee Brewers in danger of being non-tendered this off-season.
1) 1B/DH Rowdy Tellez – 2024 projected salary – $5.9 MM
2023 was a less than ideal season for Rowdy Tellez. He ended up losing playing time to Owen Miller, sustained a nasty finger injury while on the injured list with forearm inflammation, lost his starting job to Carlos Santana, and did not make the Brewers post season roster. His .376 slugging percentage was a career low and his final year of arbitration salary projection is a steep price for an organization like Milwaukee to pay.
2) LHP Eric Lauer – 2024 projected salary – $5.2 MM
After being a severely under rated pitcher across baseball in 2021 and 2022 Eric Lauer was humbled in 2023. A known issue in home runs plagued him again, his mechanics were off, and he battled some health issues. He would be a lock to be tendered a contract in 2024 if a bounce back season was guaranteed, but his final start against the Chicago Cubs, when he allowed eight earned runs and three home runs, did not instill that confidence.
3) RHP Adrian Houser – 2024 projected salary – $5.6 MM
Adrian Houser was again solid for the Brewers in 2023 as he posted a 4.12 ERA across 111 innings pitched and 21 starts. Since 2019 he has covered at least 100 innings for Milwaukee (excluding the shortened 2020 season) and on two occasions he has had an ERA under 4.00. He is a reliable pitcher who generally keeps Milwaukee in ball games, but a $5.6 MM price tag may be too much to pay for a player whose role is solidified as a fifth/sixth starter and occasional swingman.
Players like Corbin Burnes ($15.1 MM projected salary), Brandon Woodruff ($11.6 MM projected salary), and Willy Adames ($12.4 MM projected salary) have the highest 2024 projected salaries and will all be initially tendered contracts despite their high costs. The Brewers could then look to trade them, but non-tendering would not be a smart baseball move for then Milwaukee would get nothing in return.
The non-tender deadline is typically in the middle of November before Winter Meetings.
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