The Milwaukee Brewers successfully avoided arbitration with two of their star pitchers in Brandon Woodruff and Josh Hader.
The deadline to file arbitration figures was Friday at noon, and shortly afterwards the Brewers announced they had agreed to deals with both Woodruff and Hader to avoid arbitration. Now the Brewers have no players remaining in the arbitration process.
Last year, Hader went to an arbitration hearing against the Brewers and lost. This year, Hader won’t even bother with that process.
Brandon Woodruff was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to get anywhere between $2.3MM and $4.5MM for the 2021 season. He ended up settling with the Brewers for $3.275MM.
Woodruff’s salary is right in the middle of the range he was expected to get. It’s a nice raise for him from his $633k salary for last year.
Woody is still extremely cheap for the production he provides the Brewers but that is going to change going forward as his salary will continue to increase year after year depending on his performance unless he signs a contract extension to lock in whatever salary increases he gets.
Agreeing to this deal doesn’t preclude the Brewers from talking with Woodruff about an extension later on, and they could get to those discussions in spring training.
Josh Hader, meanwhile, earned $4.1MM last year prior to the pro-rated season salary, and this year was projected to earn between $4.5MM and $6.8MM and ended up signing with the Brewers for $6.675MM.
Hader is starting to get pretty expensive for a relief pitcher and while there was a belief for a while that Hader could be traded this offseason, based on how the market seems to be shaping up this winter, it doesn’t look like the Brewers will get back the value they want in a Hader deal.
So in the meantime, Hader is still a Brewer and it’s tough to complain about that.
While the price tag is up there, Hader has fully earned this raise. He filed for $6.4MM last year in arbitration and lost, and this year he gets a little bit over what he wanted from the year prior.
Hader still has two more years of arbitration after 2021 and if he continues to pitch well, then his salary is going to reach eight figures most likely by the end of his arbitration years.
Now that arbitration is taken care of, the sole remaining focus for the Crew’s front office this offseason is to fill out the rest of the roster and sign some more players or make some trades. They still have holes at the corner infield spots and could stand to add another veteran pitcher or two to the staff.