Brewers News

Milwaukee Brewers: State of the payroll for 2018

Matthew Dewoskin
PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 07: The Sausage Race mascots compete during the spring training game between the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park on March 7, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 07: The Sausage Race mascots compete during the spring training game between the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park on March 7, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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As the Milwaukee Brewers brain trust heads to Orlando for the Winter Meetings, the team’s current payroll shows they’re ready to spend. Find out where their biggest commitments are, and where they can shed or add salary below.

Even with the recent flurry of signings and extensions, the Milwaukee Brewers current salary commitments for 2018 are just under $37 million. Keep in mind they still have to offer contracts to their players under team control. However, even with those players signed for next year, their payroll is already lower than the $60.8 million they spent last year. That leaves about $20 million for GM David Stearns to work with, and that’s not including the expected increase in spending. The Milwaukee Brewers could look to spend as much as $30 million in the next few weeks.

Where are the Brewers current commitments?

Ryan Braun is owed $20 million for 2018, and that’s by far the Milwaukee Brewers largest commitment. Braun could draw interest on the trade market, but he’s only willing to waive his no-trade clause for one team. Unless the Los Angeles Dodgers show up with a deal the Brewers can’t refuse, Braun will play out his contract.

After Braun, Eric Thames is owed $5 million and Chase Anderson‘s newly minted extension pays hi $4.75 million next year. Stephen Vogt will earn just over $3 million, and Eric Sogard is on a one-year deal worth $2.4 million.

Jeremy Jeffress is the only commitment in the bullpen, and he’s only due $1.75 million next year. Closer Corey Knebel is in his first year of arbitration. He’s due a hefty raise over the $538,000 he earned last year.

Where could the Brewers add salary?

The lack of commitments to the bullpen and the need for a top-flight starting pitcher need attention this off season. A solid starting pitcher will cost at least $15 million per year, if not more. The Milwaukee Brewers probably won’t chase Yu Darvish, but Lance Lynn or Jake Arrieta are realistic possibilities.

As for the bullpen, the Milwaukee Brewers currently lack a bridge to closer Corey Knebel. Finding at least two capable arms to pair with Jeffress and Josh Hader is an absolute must. There are a ton of options available on the market right now. The Brewers won’t look at the high-end closers like Wade Davis and Greg Holland. A reunion with Anthony Swarzak or bringing in Bryan Shaw could already be in the works.

Next: Is Bruce Rondon a bullpen option?

There are several quality relievers on the market. Stearns can either make a splash and get in early on the bidding, or slow play the market and see who’s available at a discount later on. It makes sense to let the market dictate urgency. There’s no hurry now, but that could change in 48 hours.

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