President of baseball operations David Stearns and the Milwaukee Brewers will have plenty of decisions to make this offseason. Today, though, was the deadline for making perhaps their first particularly difficult such decision.
Outfielder Avisail Garcia, one of the team’s most consistent hitters in 2021, exercised his half of a mutual contract option last week, sending him into free agency. But the Brewers still had a decision to make with him even after that: whether or not to extend a $18.4MM qualifying offer.
There would have been plenty of risk involved on both the Brewers side for offering it, as well as Garcia’s side for potentially accepting it. We went over those risks in an article posted to the site yesterday.
Not long before today’s deadline, it was reported that there will be no qualifying offer extended to Avisail Garcia by the Brewers.
The Brewers had until 4pm today to decide whether or not to extend the QO to Garcia. According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Milwaukee decided that it wasn’t worth the risk wasn’t worth the possible reward.
For the Garcia, it means he will officially be betting on himself and likely searching for a long-term contract this offseason. While $18.4MM would have been nice, it’s not surprising to see a 30-year-old seeking out more years of commitment.
For the Brewers, it means no draft pick compensation had Garcia turned down the QO. However, it also means that they won’t have to commit a huge chunk of 2022’s payroll to one outfielder, something that would’ve been hard to do considering what’s already committed to Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain, not to mention looming arbitration decisions.
It does leave an interesting question of whether Stearns will address the outfield position this offseason. With Garcia gone, that leaves Yelich, Cain, and Jackie Bradley Jr, who returns after exercising his 2022 player option, with the young Tyrone Taylor as backup.
Will Yelich, Cain, and Bradley Jr be able to return to their respective forms enough to provide enough offensive punch in the outfield? Will Taylor be able to build upon an impressive 2021 campaign? If Stearns is unsure of those answers, Milwaukee may need to browse the free agent market because there is not much outfield depth in the organization past those four.
It’s unknown whether Garcia would have accepted his QO if it was offered, but at this point it sounds like we will never know.