Brewers: Ben Gamel’s Option Declined, Still Arbitration Eligible
The Milwaukee Brewers have decided to decline the contract option for Ben Gamel.
After the opt-out of Lorenzo Cain, Ben Gamel became one of the most important Brewers on the roster. He was going to get a lot more playing time after that with the frequent health issues that Ryan Braun had.
Gamel got off to a hot start to the season, hitting .300/.333/.750 with two home runs over his first six games, carrying over his momentum from Summer Camp. He changed his swing a little bit this year, looking to add more power and initially, it looked like that had worked. But after only a week or two, Gamel cooled off. He ended up with a .237/.315/.404 slash line on the season.
He signed a contract one year contract with the Brewers prior to the 2020 season for a salary of $1.4MM with a club option for 2021 at $2.55MM.
On Friday, the Brewers declined that option.
Gamel Still With The Brewers
Due to service time, Ben Gamel is still arbitration eligible with the Brewers and declining his option does not mean he’s a free agent. He is still on the roster.
What this does is put Gamel back into arbitration where he is due to make less money than he would on his option. According to arbitration projections, Gamel is projected to earn somewhere between $1.7MM and $2.1MM through the arbitration process.
That would represent a savings of $450k-$850k for the Brewers while still retaining the same player. Once those projections came out, the decline of Gamel’s option was inevitable.
Heading into 2021, Gamel is still slated to be the fourth outfielder behind Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, and Avisail Garcia. He has some competition for his spot though, with Tyrone Taylor and Billy McKinney presenting the best chances to steal the role.
Since coming over from Seattle, Gamel has yet to reach the .270s batting averages he had in his few seasons over there, but his OPS has remained similar, although down slightly in his two years in Milwaukee.
Gamel still has a minor league option remaining, which presents the Brewers with some flexibility.
The next update for Gamel will be at the non-tender deadline on December 2nd. At that point, the Brewers will have to make the decision to tender Gamel a contract for next year and keep him around or non-tender him and make him a free agent.
The competition for roster spots is going to be fierce next year, and while Gamel has experience on his side, his struggles in 2020 offensively won’t help his case very much.