Brewers News

Milwaukee Brewers: Comprehensive 2018-19 Offseason Primer

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 16: Gio Gonzalez #47 of the Milwaukee Brewers is looked at by the trainer after being injuried during the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Four of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 16: Gio Gonzalez #47 of the Milwaukee Brewers is looked at by the trainer after being injuried during the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Four of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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MILWAUKEE, WI – OCTOBER 13: Travis Shaw #21 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates after hitting a solo home run against Alex Wood #57 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning in Game Two of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 13, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI – OCTOBER 13: Travis Shaw #21 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates after hitting a solo home run against Alex Wood #57 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning in Game Two of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 13, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Arbitration-Eligible Players (12)

Stephen Vogt ($3.065MM), Jonathan Schoop ($10.1MM), Xavier Cedeno ($1.5MM), Jimmy Nelson ($3.7MM), Hernan Perez ($2.7MM), Travis Shaw ($5.1MM), Tyler Saladino ($1.0MM), Zach Davies ($2.4MM), Manny Pina ($1.8MM), Domingo Santana ($2.0MM), Corey Knebel ($4.9MM), Junior Guerra ($2.7MM)

Arbitration projection numbers courtesy of Roster Resource.

Stephen Vogt missed all of 2018 with a shoulder injury. There was the possibility he could’ve gotten non-tendered last winter, but he was brought back. His injury puts a dark cloud over his status for next season. If Stearns still likes what Vogt can do, they could tender him for his final year of arbitration.

Jonathan Schoop is the most interesting case of all the 12 players eligible. He’s due $10.1 million, which is far more than his production level in Milwaukee shows he’s worth. Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel said the Brewers are unlikely to non-tender Schoop. Robert Murray of The Athletic (subscription required) said the Brewers are likely to non-tender Schoop. So take anything about Schoop being tendered/non-tendered with a grain of salt. There’s still the possibility the Milwaukee Brewers trade Schoop to someone else this winter. That way they get something for him at least.

Xavier Cedeno was added in August and was decent, but nothing special. With Dan Jennings entering free agency, Cedeno could be brought back as the situational lefty out of the bullpen for next year.

Jimmy Nelson missed all of 2018 rehabbing from shoulder surgery, similar to Vogt. While Vogt’s status for 2019 is up in the air, Nelson is virtually guaranteed to be on the Brewers team next year. Nelson won’t get a raise from what he earned in 2018, and is projected to get the same salary next year as he did this year.

Hernan Perez is a pretty decent utility option off the bench for Craig Counsell. He brings solid defense to every position and swings a decent bat. For $2.7 million, Perez is a nice guy to have on the roster. He’s not going to be a stud starting infielder, but he can hit lefties pretty well and he won’t break the bank for the Crew.

Travis Shaw is projected to earn the second largest arbitration salary on the team behind only Schoop. This is Shaw’s first year entering arbitration and he’s making a big jump in salary with a projected earnings of $5.1 million. Arbitration pays players more for certain stats, especially home runs. With 63 regular season home runs in two years in Milwaukee, Shaw has earned his raise.

Tyler Saladino had a brief stint as the starting shortstop of the Milwaukee Brewers after a hot stretch at the plate. Then he got injured, cooled off at the plate, and was sent down to Triple-A. He came back up for September but didn’t play much and doesn’t look to figure into the Crew’s future plans. Don’t be surprised to see Saladino non-tendered and playing for someone else next season.

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This was not a good time for Zach Davies to miss most of the season with various injuries. He made only 13 starts and posted a 4.77 ERA in 2018. For both postseason rosters, Davies was left off, before being brought on to replace an injured Gio Gonzalez. Davies is still likely to be tendered a contract for somewhere around $2.4 million, but he’s fallen behind on the depth chart. Some of the young arms have jumped him and he could be a trade candidate.

Manny Pina split catching duties with Erik Kratz down the stretch despite having the superior offensive numbers. His numbers still were not outstanding and he finished with a .252/.307/.395 slash line. He went from a roughly league average hitter in 2017 to a below average hitter in 2018. Still, the major league catching depth for the Brewers is a bit thin and $1.8 million isn’t too bad for a strong defensive catcher.

Domingo Santana struggled mightily in 2018. The additions of Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain cut into Santana’s playing time and he was sent to Triple-A for most of the year. He came back in September and turned into a viable pinch hitting power option. His strikeout struggles are still real and $2.0 million for a reserve outfielder with power isn’t bad. Santana could also find himself on the trade block again this winter.

Corey Knebel missed most of April with a hamstring strain and struggled for a while afterwards. But after a demotion to Triple-A, Knebel was back to form. He stands to regain the full-time closer’s role next season. His projected $4.9 million contract will not be a hindrance to that.

Junior Guerra was Stearns’ first acquisition. He pitched well out of the bullpen late in the year after being removed from the rotation. It’s tough to see Guerra regaining a full time rotation spot barring a couple of injuries. Guerra’s not bad, but he could be on non-tender watch.

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