The Dec. 2nd deadline to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players is fast approaching. Here we examine Brewers non-tender candidate Ben Gamel.
Earlier this offseason the Milwaukee Brewers declined Ben Gamel‘s $2.5MM team option for the 2021 season. However, Gamel is in a unique spot where he is entering his second to last year of arbitration. His predicted arbitration value is between $1.7MM and $2.1MM, so his club option being declined made sense.
With declining his $2.5MM club option, the Brewers could save a maximum of $800k by proceeding with the arbitration route. Since the savings are rather small, the Brewers declining his club option may indicate how they feel about Gamel going forward and looking towards 2021, which makes him a strong non-tender candidate.
With two seasons in Milwaukee under his belt, Gamel has shown to be a high strikeout and high base on balls type hitter. He doesn’t hit for a high average nor for power, but overall he fills his role of backup outfielder.
Gamel did turn some heads to start 2020 though as he tweaked his swing and found a power stroke in summer camp, so when Lorenzo Cain opted out of the season many were expecting a Ben Gamel breakout season. Unfortunately that did not happen as in 40 games, Ben Gamel posted a slash line of .237/.315/.404.
From a production standpoint he hit eight doubles, two home runs, and contributed just ten runs batted in. He finished in the bottom 20th percentile in both hard hit percentage (32.0) and strikeout percentage (30.7) as well.
Gamel’s poor offensive play was a big reason why he played just 40 games. While his defense is always solid no mater where he is playing in the outfield, Gamel lacked a niche to give him additional playing time and, as a result, players like Tyrone Taylor and Jace Peterson saw quite a bit of time in the outfield.
Other players poised to serve in Ben Gamel’s backup outfielder role are Billy McKinney and Corey Ray. With McKinney, Ray, and Taylor all being pre-arbitration contracts, Gamel could be the odd man out and non-tendered if the Brewers do decide that the few extra million dollars in retaining Gamel isn’t worth it.
Ben Gamel is one of many tender deadline decisions that the Brewers have to make prior to the December 2nd deadline. Be sure to stay tuned to Reviewing the Brew for our takes on potential non-tender candidates.