WIlly Adames has lit Milwaukee on fire since coming over in the May trade with Tampa Bay. In that time, Adames has been one of the best shortstops in baseball not named Fernando Tatis Jr. and sparked the Brewers to their 4th consecutive postseason appearance, and possibly some MVP votes.
Adames is entering his first season of Arbitration this offseason, and his strong performance in Milwaukee should snag him a nice payday when it comes time to exchange numbers with the Brewers.
The Brewers 2021 MVP is heading to arbitration for the first time. Willy Adames should expect to see a hefty pay raise from his current salary.
In 2022, Adames will be entering his age-26 season and will be arbitration eligible for the next four seasons. The Brewers may want to lock him up to an extension, but assuming that doesn’t get done here are players playing at a similar level to Adames and what they ended up getting.
2021 Willy Adames:
Age 25: .262/.337/.481, .818 OPS, 25 HR, 120 OPS+, 4.2 bWAR, 4.1 fWAR, 119 wRC+, 28.1% K% 44.7% hard hit%, 11.4% barrel % bWAR /PA .0075, fWAR/PA .0074
Not much can be said about Willy Adames that hasn’t been said. The Brewers thrived as a result of his addition to the team. He recorded a career high in home runs, fWAR, bWAR, offensive runs above average, and OPS.
The numbers he recorded are even more impressive considering when he came to Milwaukee he was slashing .197/.254/.371 with a measly 76 OPS+ to go with his 75 wRC+. Once coming to Milwaukee he had slashed .285/.366/.521 with an OPS+ and wRC+ of 135.
2018 Trevor Story
Age 25: .291/.348/.567, .915 OPS, 37 HR, 127 OPS+, Silver Slugger, All-Star, MVP 8th, 6.2 bWAR, 5.1 fWAR, 128 wRC+, 25.6% K%, 45.6% hard hit, 12.4% barrel%, bWAR/PA .0094, fWAR/pa .0078
Trevor Story may be the best comparison to Adames when looking at his arbitration stats. The 2018 offseason was the first season Story was arb eligible. However, he settled for a $5 million deal to avoid going in front of the arbitration panel.
This may be one of the better comparisons, as both Adames and Story are going into their age-26 season, and are in their first year of arbitration. The Brewers have been known to settle with players, and have seldom gone to hearings during the Stearns tenure.
Could the Story deal serve as a framework for Adames?
Since coming to Milwaukee, Adames has put up numbers slightly better than Story, albeit over a smaller sample size. Although Adames fell short of several benchmarks Story got to cumulatively, his numbers in Milwaukee make up for that. With that being said, the Trevor Story deal signed after 2018 may be the best comparison for what Willy Adames may expect to get.
2018 Javier Baez
Age 25: .290/.326/.554, 34 HR, 129 OPS+, MVP 2nd, SS, AS, 6.4 bWAR, 5.4 fWAR, 131 wRC+, 25.9%, 42.8% hard hit,11.3% barrel
Javy Baez may also provide a good comparison, though he perhaps may be on the higher end of possible comps. In 2018, Baez was playing in his age-25 season, and put up an MVP caliber season, finishing in second place to Brewers’ star Christian Yelich.
After that season, Baez was paid $5.2 million for 2019. Again, similar to what Story got, as he had a similar albeit slightly better season than Story did.
What will Adames get?
FanGraphs projected Adames would be in line for about $5 million also at the start of the season, before his breakout. MLBTradeRumors projects Willy to earn a solid $4.0 million in arbitration.
Does his emergence as a top shortstop change that calculation at all? Or his month and a half of struggles to start the season impact what he is able to get?
When looking only at his time in Milwaukee, he had a higher wRC+ and OPS+ than Baez and Story did in their seasons. Arbitration is not based on only selective timeframes however, and that may be used to argue against a higher number. His numbers in the previous few seasons with Tampa Bay may drive down his salary as well.
Regardless of the how the final number is determined, Adames appears to be in line to receive a well deserved raise.