Milwaukee Brewers: Complete 2019-2020 Offseason Preview
By David Gasper
Jimmy Nelson, Hernan Perez, Corey Knebel, Travis Shaw, Zach Davies, Alex Claudio, Tyler Saladino, Junior Guerra, Brent Suter, Orlando Arcia, Ben Gamel, Cory Spangenberg
That’s 12 players due up for arbitration this winter. Some are non-tender candidates, while some are due for big raises. Projected arbitration salaries are not out as of this writing.
Jimmy Nelson has re-upped at $3.7 million for the past two years, having missed most of the time with injury. Now he’s finally returned, and he probably won’t get much of a raise, if at all. He struggled when healthy this year and missed a good chunk with an unrelated elbow injury. This will be Nelson’s final year of team control before reaching free agency after 2020, and his last chance to earn a big contract to stay in Milwaukee.
Hernan Perez will also be entering his final year of arbitration and team control. He signed for $2.5 million this year and survived through one DFA, but his bat wasn’t as productive this year as it was in year’s past. If he gets a raise, it’ll be minimal.
Corey Knebel missed all of 2019 with Tommy John surgery but has been an effective closer for the Milwaukee Brewers. He earned $5.125 million in 2019 and look for him to be re-upped at the same value for 2020, his third year of arbitration. As a Super-Two player, Knebel has four years of arbitration and will be a free agent after 2021.
Travis Shaw earned $4.675 million in his first year of arbitration and it went terribly. After putting up big numbers earning near league-minimum his first two years in Milwaukee, his payscale is not going to climb as high as he thought. If he gets tendered, he’s going to either stay at the same salary or drop a little. There’s no way he’s getting a raise.
Zach Davies turned in another solid season with a 3.55 ERA in 31 starts and is likely to see a nice raise from his $2.6 million salary in his first go-round in arbitration.
Alex Claudio also had a nice season, putting up a better second half than first half. He led the league in appearances and saw a slight improvement in his ERA this year, but allowed more walks this year. He’ll see a slight raise most likely, but nothing much higher than his $1.275 million salary from 2019.
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Tyler Saladino, outside of two grand slams this year, provided pretty much nothing offensively to this team. He struggled mightily at the plate after surprisingly being tendered last winter for $887.5k but he’s a non-tender candidate once again.
Junior Guerra has been able to pitch in any role the Milwaukee Brewers have asked him to. He posted a 3.55 ERA in 72 bullpen appearances this year and emerged as a key piece in the bullpen. He’s due a nice raise from his $2.225MM salary in his first year of arbitration.
Brent Suter will be entering his first of four years of arbitration and is due a big raise from the $568k he earned in 2019. He came back from Tommy John surgery in September, dominating his way to the NL Reliever of the Month Award. With his success as a starter prior to his injury, he’s going to easily make seven figures next year.
Orlando Arcia will also go into his first arbitration year. The former top prospect has shined defensively but has struggled on offense since the 2017 season. How much will his defensive value translate into dollars? We’ll have to wait and see.
Ben Gamel turned in a solid season as the fourth outfielder in 2019. He was passed up by Trent Grisham towards the end of the season but he is a nice depth piece that due for a decent salary increase. There’s a possibility he’s a trade candidate due to his pending salary bump and other options at his position like Grisham and Tyrone Taylor.
Cory Spangenberg provided a nice boost to this roster since being called up from Triple-A in late August. He had a strong season in Triple-A and may have earned himself another year with Milwaukee with his solid play in September. It’ll be between him and Perez for that utility infield spot.