Brewers: Arcia Returns, Shaw & Nelson Non-tendered
By Matt Carroll
The Major League non-tender deadline has come and gone. Who is coming back to the Milwaukee Brewers and who has moved on to free agency? Let’s take a look.
As fans wait to see what changes GM David Stearns and the Brewers’ front office will be making in order to attempt another playoff run in 2020, a very important factor in those decisions is the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. That deadline helps determine which holes will still need to be filled prior to Spring Training.
The Brewers had a good amount of players, 10 to be exact, who fell into this category this year with much speculation among experts and fans as to how the deadline would play out for the team. Finally, the non-tender deadline has passed and we know who remains with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Five Players Back in the Fold
The Brewers announced one move before the 7 PM CST deadline as they signed Orlando Arcia to a one-year contract and bought out one year of arbitration. Arcia’s spot on the team became somewhat questionable when the team acquired 22-year-old Luis Urias via trade with the Padres. Now Arcia will at least get the chance to fight for his job, if the team doesn’t have some other unknown plan for him.
It was also announced that the Brewers tendered contracts to left-handed relievers Josh Hader and Brent Suter as well as right-hander Corey Knebel.
Hader earned himself an early raise due to his Super Two status, but it’s not surprising that the team chose to bring back the two-time reigning National League Reliever of the Year. Suter bounced back well last year in his return from injury and the Brewers hope that Knebel will do the same next year and return to his 2018 form.
The final tendered contract went to outfielder Ben Gamel. With Trent Grisham moving on to the Padres as part of the Urias trade, Gamel was the only backup outfielder who remained on the roster that received regular playing time last year. That fact, along with his remaining minor league options, is likely what kept him in Milwaukee.
Five Others Non-Tendered
Arguably the most surprising of the players to be non-tendered was third baseman Travis Shaw.
Non-tendering Shaw was a surprise not necessarily because of his performance last year, which as many know was below expectations, but because news broke earlier in the day of Mike Moustakas signing with the Reds. With Shaw gone as well, the Brewers certainly have questions at the hot corner. Regardless, Shaw’s struggles in 2019 still were too much to keep him on the team.
The other somewhat surprising non-tender decision was right-hander Jimmy Nelson. Milwaukee stuck with Nelson as he worked his way back from injury for almost two years. His return was exciting for fans last year, but the production wasn’t there and resulted in him pitching only six times over the final month of the season. After seeing so inconsistency in the rotation and the bullpen at times last year, the Brewers need reliable arms in 2020 which may have created the decision to move on.
Outside of those two, the other three non-tender decisions were more expected. Reports of reliever Junior Guerra‘s departure began circulating last week and were confirmed by the club on Monday night.
Left-hander Alex Claudio, often a lightning rod for fans, had a decent year in his only season in Milwaukee and led the league with 83 appearances. But he didn’t exactly wow either and can be replaced. Infielder Tyler Saladino showed little last year and was expendable.
So the decisions have been made, some expected and some not so much. At the very least, Stearns and crew now know exactly which spots need to be filled as they head deeper into the postseason. Who ends up coming to Milwaukee over the next few months to fill those spots, we’ll see.