Now that the MLB season has come to a close (Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox on winning the World Series) it is now time for the dreaded offseason. Last offseason was extremely eventful for the Brewers as they Added Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, and Jhoulys Chacin. The 2018 offseason is expected to be much quieter according to Brewers’ GM David Sterns. However, the Milwaukee front office has some decisions to make.
Guys With Options
- Jeremy Jeffress (Club)
- Mike Moustakas (Mutual)
- Joakim Soria (Mutual)
I don’t think there is any chance Milwaukee would pick up Soria’s $10 million option for next year. That is way too much for a small market team like Milwaukee to pay a guy to be their 4th or 5th best reliever. Mike Moustakas has a $15 million option for next year and I don’t believe that will be picked up by the club either. Their long term solution at 3rd base is more than likely Travis Shaw. It all comes down to the price of Shaw compared to Moustakas. Shaw is heading into his first year of arbitration and will be much cheaper at a similar, if not better rate of production. I absolutely believe Milwaukee will take on Jeremy Jeffress’ $3.175 million option for 2019. He was one of the best relievers in baseball in 2019 and getting him again at that price would be a steal.
Key Arbitration Cases
- Jesus Aguilar
- Orlando Arcia
- Zach Davies
- Josh Hader
- Corey Knebel
- Jimmy Nelson
- Hernan Perez
- Domingo Santana
- Jonathan Schoop
- Travis Shaw
The Brewers have some guys who need to get paid this offseason. I expect all of these guys except for one to be back with the club next year. That player is Jonathan Schoop. Schoop is an Arb 3 and he made $8.5 million last season. I expect the Brewers will not be willing to pay that price to bring Schoop back with how underwhelming he was for the Brewers. With that being said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Schoop go to another team and thrive there.
- Gio Gonzalez (elected free agency)
- Wade Miley (elected free agency)
- Curtis Granderson (elected free agency)
I fully expected Gio and Granderson to just be rentals when Milwaukee acquired them at the waiver deadline this year. Wade Miley electing free agency was a bit surprising to me. By no means does it mean that he is gone for good, but he is definitely looking for a pay raise after completely turning his career around this year.
What Can The Brewers Do This Winter?
Milwaukee had a payroll of $108 million on their 40-man roster in 2018. As of now, they have $66 million committed to their squad in 2019. Assuming they pick up Jeffress’ option, it will be roughly $69 million. It’s very hard to predict where the arbitration cases will go, but let’s assume it results in a $100 million payroll for 2019. That leaves Milwaukee with fairly limited options in terms of free agency. It’s unfortunate timing due to the strength of the 2019 free agent class. Regardless, let’s review some options.
The Brewers biggest needs are second base and catcher. The two biggest free agents in terms of catchers are Yasmani Grandal and Wilson Ramos. Former Brewer Jonathan Lucroy is also a free agent, but he is no longer the player he once was in Milwaukee. I also get the sense there is some bad blood between the Brewers organization and Lucroy (total speculation).
In terms of second baseman, Jed Lowrie, DJ LeMahieu, Daniel Murphy, and Brian Dozier are some of the most appealing names on this list. However, Astros utility man Marwin Gonzalez is a free agent. He had a bit of a down year in 2018, but that could be good for teams wanting to sign him. Gonzalez is a very intriguing option in my opinion.
Many of you are probably wondering, “how can you say starting pitching is not a point of concern?”. There are obviously some great starting pitchers available this offseason. Patrick Corbin, Dallas Kuechel, JA Happ, Charlie Morton, Nathan Eovaldi, etc… However, I think Milwaukee has a plan in place for their roation next year. Jimmy Nelson will return next year, Chacin is locked up for another year, Zach Davies will be back after what was basically a lost year for him, lastly, Woodruff and Burnes look ready to join the rotation fulltime. If one of these guys doesn’t work out? Chase Anderson and Freddy Peralta are options. The Brewers don’t need to spend big in starting pitching this offseason. They really couldn’t even if they wanted to anyways.
I’m not expecting an exciting offseason like we had last winter, but there are still some moving parts going into 2019. Maybe they can sign one key free agent that patches one of the holes they have. All I can say is, “Is it Spring Training yet?”.