Brewers arbitration salary projections for 2023
Willy Adames – $9.2MM projected ($4.6MM)
Brewers shortstop Willy Adames is projected to see his salary double heading into 2023, with a $4.6MM raise up to $9.2MM. Good shortstops are always in high demand and Adames certainly qualifies, that drives up his price tag.
Adames is another player who would make a lot of sense as an extension candidate, especially since the Brewers have been searching for a long term answer at shortstop for a long time. Adames struggled this season, but still ended up with 31 doubles, 31 homers, and 98 RBIs. That’s pretty good for a year where he had so many struggles at the plate.
Adames is slated to be a free agent following the 2024 season.
Rowdy Tellez – $5.3MM projected ($1.94MM)
Rowdy Tellez sees a big raise for himself coming in 2023 after slugging 35 homers for the Crew this year. He hit just .219 but had a .767 OPS and 115 OPS+ to go with 89 RBIs.
It appears the Brewers may have finally found their answer at first base. Tellez may not end up ever hitting for a high average, but he supplies power and presence in the middle of Milwaukee’s lineup. If they believe him to be their first baseman going forward, this projected salary will be no issue.
However, if the Brewers believe Tellez needs to be platooned to be best utilized or that he isn’t the guy going forward, a $5.3MM salary may be too rich. He played in 153 games and got nearly 600 plate appearances in 2022, so don’t expect that to be the case. It should be a nice raise for Rowdy in 2023.
Eric Lauer – $5.2MM projected ($2.425MM)
Eric Lauer posted a solid season in 2022, although not quite as good as the year before. He had a 3.69 ERA in 29 starts, covering 158.2 IP. He was a reliable arm and he’ll receive a nice salary bump in 2023 because of it.
Lauer has come along nicely after his rough Brewers debut season in 2020 and the 27 year old has proven he can be a trusted arm in the middle of Milwaukee’s rotation. With everyone healthy, Lauer is the number four starter, and the Brewers could certainly do a lot worse than having Lauer as their fourth starter.
Luis Urias – $4.3MM projected ($2.55MM)
Urias didn’t have quite as good a year in 2022 as he did in 2021, seeing some regression in his numbers across the board. His power dropped back a little, and so did his batting average and on-base percentage. His BA dipped from .249 to .239 and his OBP from .345 to .335. Urias slugged 16 homers in 2022.
He still posted a 3.1 bWAR, which is a very productive player. Given his WAR and the fact that he’s still just 25 years old and a talented player, he’s likely to stick around at this price tag. He hasn’t secured the starting third base job heading into 2023, but this is a reasonable salary the Brewers are likely to pick up.
Adrian Houser – $3.6MM projected ($2.425MM)
Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer both had the same arbitration salary in 2022, but it’s clear Lauer outperformed Houser this year, and that’s reflected in his much higher projected arbitration salary.
Houser will see a modest raise after a season where he struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness with his sinker. He went from a 3.22 ERA in 142.1 IP last year to a 4.73 ERA in 102.2 IP in 2022. He ended up with a -0.8 bWAR.
With the development of Aaron Ashby, who is already signed to a team-friendly contract extension, there may not be much room in the rotation going forward for Houser. Houser has likely slipped to 6th on the depth chart, with prospects Ethan Small and Robert Gasser not far behind.