Projection: $2.0MM – $2.3MM
Manny Pina was the most productive Brewers catcher on offense in 2020 prior to a knee injury prematurely ending his season. Pina was playing on a $1.85MM contract in 2020 and is due a modest raise according to this projection.
Pina will be entering his final year of arbitration before free agency, and the Brewers need some certainty at the catcher position and Pina might be best suited to provide that.
Throughout his tenure with the Brewers, Pina has been a consistent presence at the plate and a great defensive catcher that works the pitching staff extremely well. It’s likely that Pina would be tendered a contract at this price range.
Projection: $2.3MM – $4.5MM
This was one of the big question marks for Brewers fans coming into this offseason. It’s the first year of arbitration eligibility for ace Brandon Woodruff, a Super-2 player, and it was obvious Woodruff is going to get a big raise, but the question was how big will the raise be.
Swartz’s projections have Woodruff pegged for anywhere between $2.3MM and $4.5MM for 2021. That’s not too bad of a salary for the Brewers considering how important Woodruff is to the team and how tight the budget will be.
If Woodruff’s arbitration salary ends up around the $2.3MM mark for his first year of eligibility, the Brewers will be absolutely pleased with that result. If it starts near that $4.5MM mark, that’d be great for Woodruff to line things up for big raises over the three more years of arbitration he would have.
Either way, Woodruff is going to make a lot more than the $633k salary he had in 2020.
Projection: $700k – $900k
The Brewers signed Peterson to a minor league deal in 2020 and he ended up getting more playing time at the big league level than anyone anticipated.
Cost isn’t going to be a prohibitive measure for Peterson coming back in 2021, but it’s the performance that might be. Peterson posted a .200 average this year with only nine hits and 20 strikeouts in 45 ABs.
He’s 30 years old, he’s been in the league for seven years, and there’s not much more to his ceiling. There’s virtually no chance he can repeat his walk rate from this year. Someone like Mark Mathias or a different waiver claim can provide similar or better performance for league minimum at $563k instead of $700k-$900k.
The Brewers have several arbitration eligible players and a lot of tough decisions to make with tendering some of them. The biggest raises will go to Hader and Woodruff, while several others will remain at similar salary levels.