Milwaukee Brewers: 2017 Non-tender candidates

MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 28: Corey Knebel /

The Milwaukee Brewers have nine players eligible for arbitration this off-season. Could any of them get released instead of coming to terms?

The nine players that the Milwaukee Brewers have to decide on are Jared Hughes, Corey Knebel, Hernan Perez, Carlos Torres, Jimmy Nelson, Jeremy Jeffress, Stephen Vogt, Chase Anderson, and Jonathan Villar. The odds are that a few of these players won’t return for Spring Training. But which ones?

The Locks to Return

Corey Knebel, Chase Anderson, Hernan Perez, and Jonathan Villar aren’t going anywhere unless they’re traded. The only likely trade candidate of those four is Jonathan Villar. Jimmy Nelson will also get a contract, and he’s as good as a lock, even with his injuries.

The Borderline Cases

Jared Hughes threw well enough to return, and should get a contract. He’s not irreplaceable, and could also end up as part of a trade this off-season. But he’s going to be back in Milwaukee next year.

Stephen Vogt should qualify for ‘lock’ status, but the Milwaukee Brewers have several MLB-caliber catchers in the organization. Vogt is expected to get a contract worth close to $4 million this off-season, and the Brewers may want to move him. He should return as part of a platoon with Manny Pina, but his status is closer to a 75% chance of returning rather than 100%.

The Non-Tender Candidates

Jeremy Jeffress has watched his velocity decline since 2013. His walk rate was up and his strikeout rate was down in 2017. He’s only expected to command a deal around $2.5 million, and could return. The Milwaukee Brewers braintrust dealt for him during the season, so that shows a willingness to keep him around, but the numbers speak too loudly. Jeffress should be non-tendered this off-season.

Carlos Torres will turn 35 years old before the start of the 2018 season, and he’s in his final year of arbitration. Torres had a rough 2017 campaign that saw him rack up a 4.21 ERA in 67 appearances. He only managed a 6.94 K/9 and posted a 4.09 BB/9. That’s too many walks and not enough K’s. It’s going to cost the Milwaukee Brewers over $3 million to keep Torres on the roster for 2017. His rough season, his age, and his price tag are likely to lead to Torres’ release.

Next: Could Sir Didi Gregorius fit in the Crew?

The Milwaukee Brewers are likely to keep as many as seven arbitration eligible players, and none will cost more than $6 million to hang on to. They will need to find a few bullpen arms to replace the innings that Jeffress and Torres supplied, but that’s a much easier task than retooling a roster.