Milwaukee Brewers Complete 2021-2022 Offseason Preview
By David Gasper
Brewers 2021-2022 Free Agents (7)
Brett Anderson, John Axford, Brad Boxberger, Eduardo Escobar, Daniel Norris, Manny Piña, Hunter Strickland
The Brewers are slated to lose some role players to free agency this year. The biggest star of the group is Eduardo Escobar, who was acquired at the trade deadline in July. David Stearns has stated he’s open to bringing Escobar back despite a crowded field of options at first base and Luis Urias slated to man third base.
Manny Piña is the longest tenured Brewer, but it appears that tenure may be ending. With his recent comments on Instagram about how he’s going to miss Urias and others, he appears to think he won’t be coming back. With Luke Maile and Mario Feliciano at Triple-A ready to take over, that would make some sense.
Brett Anderson has been a key depth piece in the Brewers rotation for the last two years. Anderson always struggled with minor injuries but he was a valuable innings eater and a good veteran presence for the pitching staff. Anderson also appears to recognize his Brewers tenure may be over.
With Aaron Ashby ready for the big leagues, Eric Lauer earning a rotation spot, Ethan Small waiting in the wings, and the Brewers likely heading back to a 5 man rotation, there’s not much for room for Anderson to come back.
All the other free agents are in the bullpen. John Axford has an elbow injury and might just retire, while Daniel Norris was left off the postseason roster and likely will not be wanted back. The key relief arms are Brad Boxberger and Hunter Strickland. Both pitched important innings down the stretch and there’s a chance the Brewers will want one or both of them back.
Contract Options (2)
Jackie Bradley Jr.(Player), Avisail Garcia (Mutual)
Two Brewers outfielders have contract options for the 2022 season: Jackie Bradley Jr. and Avisail Garcia.
After a career-worst season, hitting just .163 with a .497 OPS, Jackie Bradley Jr.is almost assuredly going to exercise his $9.5MM player option for next year and return to Milwaukee. There is absolutely zero reason for JBJ to opt out and enter free agency this winter after the season he had.
Avisail Garcia, meanwhile, had a career season, slugging 29 homers, hitting .262 with a .820 OPS. He hit enough plate appearances to turn his $12MM club option for 2022 into a mutual option. So now Garcia can opt out of his side and become a free agent.
Given the season he had, there’s a strong chance he could opt out. Should he do so, he’ll join the list of above Brewers free agents.
If he opts out, the Brewers will be able to give Garcia a Qualifying Offer if they so choose, which is set at $18.4MM this year. It would be a risk to the payroll should Garcia accept it, but if he declines and signs elsewhere, the Brewers get a draft pick as compensation. At 30 years old, Garcia’s best chance to land a long-term deal is right now and will not improve should he wait another season.