Milwaukee Brewers Arbitration Projections For 2021 Season
By David Gasper
The 2021 Arbitration projections are out and the Brewers have a few players lined up for some big raises.
With a shortened season, arbitration projections are going to be super difficult to do. The stats that normally influence arbitration salaries and decisions have been drastically cut down due a season that was only 37% as long as normal. This makes the Brewers decisions on tendering players and knowing how much they might make more difficult.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the arbitration process, it’s the way for players with somewhere between three and six years of MLB service time to negotiate their yearly salary and raise it based on their performance. Teams have to decide to “tender” a contract to these arbitration eligible players by December 2nd this year.
At any point after they’re tendered, the team and player can agree on a salary and “avoid arbitration”. Sometimes the Brewers are able to do this with several players on the tender deadline and get it out of the way. If not, both sides have until January 15th to negotiate freely, then they have to file for the salary they’re asking for on the 15th. If they still aren’t able to agree, hearings will start on February 1st.
The Brewers have only gone to a couple of arbitration hearings since GM David Stearns took over. The first was Chase Anderson in 2017, which they won, and the second was Josh Hader last winter, which the Brewers also won.
After a year with little to no revenue, the Brewers may need to cut payroll somewhere along the line. Non-tendering arbitration eligible players who are in line for more money than they may be worth could be an easy way to gain some payroll flexibility.
These are the arbitration projections from Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors, who provided three different methods to get to his salary projections.
For ease of reading, we’re going to show the three different projections as a range. The first projection Swartz provides is just off 2020 stats as they are, while his second projection has the stats extrapolated to a 162 game season. His third projection is 37% of the raise they would get in a normal 162 game season for non-first time arbitration eligibles.
Projection: $2.7MM – $3.8MM
In 2020, which was Orlando Arcia’s first year of arbitration, he played on a $2.2MM contract and he followed up with the best offensive season of his career. Arcia’s 96 OPS+ and .734 OPS were the top marks for a season in his career.
Arcia was able to solidify his role as the starting shortstop in 2020 and heads into 2021 as the starter. As such, he’s going to earn a nice raise in his second season of arbitration. Just based off his 2020 stats, even in a shortened season, Swartz projects a $500k raise for Arcia.
If his numbers are extrapolated over a whole season, that could put Arcia up to $3.8MM in salary. That’s a solid $1.6MM raise for him coming off a career year and still a relatively inexpensive salary for a starting shortstop.
Projection: $1.4MM – $1.9MM
Despite both Spotrac and Roster Resource showing that Daniel Vogelbach had another year to go before reaching arbitration, he is reportedly going to be eligible as a Super-2 this year.
He was an All-Star in 2019 for the Mariners, but then bounced around in 2020, struggling to hit the ball, before being claimed by the Brewers. Things turned around quickly for Vogelbach after joining Milwaukee, as shown by his .328/.418/.569 slash line in 58 ABs with the Brewers.
Could the Brewers bring him back for 2021? At less than $2MM, it’s possible, but it’s also hard to trust that Vogelbach’s performance over such a small sample size will be able to translate over a whole season next year.
At the same time, what else are the Brewers going to do at first base?