With Moustakas, Grandal, Anderson, and Thames potentially free agents coming off the books, the Milwaukee Brewers will have some payroll flexibility this winter.
The only big guaranteed contracts for next season are Lorenzo Cain ($16MM), Christian Yelich ($12.5MM), and Ryan Braun ($16MM) who’s in the final guaranteed year of his contract. Braun has a $15MM mutual option for 2021 that the Brewers are likely to decline.
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Braun’s salary is dropping next year, after earning $19 million in 2019, his payroll hit goes down by $3 million. Once his big contract is off the books, there will be more money available to give out to longer-term assets, such as Christian Yelich.
Another great season from Yelich means more speculation about when an extension will occur. The longer we go without an extension, the higher the fear that he’ll leave in free agency. At this point, there’s little reason to fear Yelich leaving. Once Braun’s contract is up, that money will likely go towards paying Christian Yelich. My guess is an extension will happen next offseason.
With the looming payday of Christian Yelich, the Milwaukee Brewers have to be careful with how they spend their money this offseason. While it would be nice to pay Grandal as much as necessary to keep him around, it may not be possible.
The Brewers have $51.4 million guaranteed for next year, without including the arbitration and league-minimum players.
They also could be looking to pay for some free agent pitching upgrades, which will also eat into the budget.
There is some payroll flexibility this winter, but it’s going to be a careful tightrope walk trying to get this team in the best possible shape for next year while also keeping flexibility for a future Yelich extension and other extension candidates.
It’s going to be an interesting offseason for the Milwaukee Brewers this winter. A lot of decisions to make, and a lot of different directions they could go.