Projection: $2.0MM – $2.3MM
In the 2020 season, Alex Claudio was signed to a $1.75MM salary after being non-tendered by the Brewers a few weeks prior. Claudio posted an ERA above 4.00 in his first season with the Brewers prior to that non-tender and then after coming back this year, he posted another ERA above 4.00 at 4.26.
Claudio has been serviceable, but hasn’t gotten back to the sub-3.00 ERAs that he posted over several years with the Rangers that the Brewers were hoping they could get him back to.
With tight budgets and another season below expectations, a non-tender is possible, if not likely, for Claudio at this salary level.
Projection: $1.7MM – $2.1MM
The interesting thing with Ben Gamel is that he has a club option for 2021 that would give him a $2.55MM salary while still being arbitration eligible. So if the Brewers decline his club option, they would still have contractual control over him and would simply go through arbitration with him.
Given Swartz’s projection here of $1.7MM-$2.1MM, it would appear likely the Brewers would decline Gamel’s option and go through arbitration to save some money. Things are going to be tight and the Brewers will need to save as much money as possible.
Gamel is a solid 4th outfielder option, and he’s likely to return next year, but it may be under arbitration instead of his club option.
Projection: $4.5MM – $6.8MM
This will be the most important arbitration case the Brewers will deal with this offseason. Josh Hader, one of the top relievers in baseball, led the National League in saves in a shortened season. The counting numbers weren’t high, only 13 saves, but how much will the 60 game season impact whether that means a big raise or small raise?
That explains the wide gap in Hader’s salary projection. He lost his arbitration case last offseason and got a $4.1MM salary for the 2020 season. After another strong season in which his slider was used more often, Hader became a more complete pitcher, and he didn’t give up a hit until several weeks into the season.
Hader will be tendered, but will he be kept? Especially if his salary pushes to near $7MM for next year, that may be more than the Brewers are able to pay him and a trade could end up helping the Brewers in a couple of ways. It could reduce their payroll and add help to the rest of the roster.
But if his salary ends up in the lower half of this range, the Brewers may opt to hold on to Hader for 2021.