It’s an interesting debate every single year. What should a player’s salary be? Arbitration has a process for settling that debate. It may be flawed, but players earn big raises once they hit arbitration and the Milwaukee Brewers have a large number of players entering this process.
14 Brewers players are projected to be eligible for arbitration this winter, and a lot of them are the key contributors for this Milwaukee team. The core that has made this team so successful the past few years is getting more and more expensive with each passing year and 2022 will be the most expensive one yet.
MLB Trade Rumors just released their arbitration projections for this offseason. Here’s what they expect the Brewers players to earn:
Josh Hader – $10.0MM
Unsurprisingly, Hader is slated to earn the highest salary of any Brewers arbitration eligible player. This will be Hader’s third season of arbitration of four as a Super Two eligible player. Hader continued to dominate in 2021 as the closer and with him racking up the saves totals and blowing only one save all year, he’s due a massive raise from his $6.675MM salary in 2021.
Brandon Woodruff – $7.1MM
Brandon Woodruff, entering his second year of arbitration, is also due a hefty raise. Further establishing himself as an ace this season, Woodruff is going to continue to see his salary rise, but for his production $7.1MM is still less than he’s really worth. Woodruff had a $3.275MM salary in 2021.
Omar Narvaez – $4.1MM
After a horrible season in 2020, the Brewers brought Narvaez back on a $2.5MM salary in 2021, which was a slight pay cut from his $2.725MM the year prior, taking the reduced pay to avoid a non-tender. Narvaez rewarded the Brewers with an outstanding 2021 campaign, which saw him bounce back offensively with a .266/.342/.402 slash line and establish himself as a strong defender.
Corbin Burnes – $4.0MM
Burnes is entering his first season of arbitration and he’s in line for a big payday. The likely NL Cy Young winner is going to get his due. While his 2019 stats may make his career numbers look less dominant, it’s clear Burnes is one of the best pitchers in the game and the Brewers would be wise to look into an extension.
Willy Adames – $4.0MM
Adames arrived in Milwaukee and immediately sparked the club and established himself as the hitter everyone knew he could be. Now that the Brewers have a shortstop that’s strong on both offense and defense, he’s going to get a bit more costly, hence the higher price for his first season of arbitration.
Eric Lauer – $2.7MM
Lauer went from a forgettable piece in a regrettable trade in 2020 to becoming one of Brewers trusted arms down the stretch in 2021 as the “sixth starter”. He’s a very strong contender for the five man rotation next year, and is slated to get a nice raise.
Luis Urias – $2.4MM
Speaking of forgettable pieces in a regrettable trade, Luis Urias also turned things around in 2021 after a rough 2020 season. His and Lauer’s emergence this year moved this trade from a bust to a wash at the very least and a possible win. While Urias’ role has changed a couple of times this year, his 23 HRs and 111 OPS+ should lead to him making some nice money next year. Urias is projected to be eligible as a Super 2 player this year.
Brent Suter – $2.3MM
A key versatile swingman on the Brewers pitching staff, Brent Suter is due a nice raise after signing a two year contract prior to the 2020 season. He made $1.55MM in 2021.
Adrian Houser – $2.3MM
It was a very solid season for Adrian Houser in 2021, establishing himself as one of the best ground ball pitchers in the league with a dominant sinker. This will be Houser’s first season of arbitration.
Daniel Vogelbach – $2.0MM
One of two first base options eligible for arbitration this winter, Daniel Vogelbach is in an interesting spot. He made $1.4MM in 2021, he seized the first base job from a struggling Keston Hiura, but then lost the job to Rowdy Tellez after suffering an injury. He hit .219 with just 9 homers on the season, although the .219 average is a career high.
Rowdy Tellez – $1.9MM
It remains to be seen if Tellez will remain the starter at first base in 2022. There’s the aforementioned Vogelbach and Keston Hiura as possible options. The Brewers like Tellez, and he hit .272 with an .814 OPS and 116 OPS+ with Milwaukee. He also hit seven homers plus two more in the postseason.
Jace Peterson – $1.3MM
Peterson emerged as a valuable utility option for the Brewers in 2021, and showed an increased ability to put the bat on the ball and get himself on base, thus earning the nickname “On Base Jace”. The Brewers love his leadership and his quality at-bats.
Luke Maile – $1.0MM
Milwaukee’s third string catcher signed a major league deal for $800k last year. Maile spent most of the season in Triple-A, but was called up when needed for injuries. He played in just 15 games this season and is a possible non-tender candidate. With Manny Pina entering free agency, the backup job could be available, though.
Jandel Gustave – $800k
Acquired in a midseason trade with the Pirates, Gustave was a solid middle relief option for the Brewers in 2021. He pitched in 14 games and had a 3.44 ERA, which is solid. There’s a strong chance he comes back for 2022, especially at this salary.
There are very few non-tender candidates among this group, which is going to put a squeeze on the Crew’s payroll.