Brewers arbitration salary projections for 2023
Devin Williams – $3.2MM projected ($714,500)
Brewers closer Devin Williams is entering his first season of arbitration. As the freshly installed closer with only 18 career saves to his name, he’s not likely to get paid like the All Star reliever that he is. Josh Hader didn’t rack up many saves in his pre-arb years, which led to a nasty arbitration hearing between the two sides.
Williams already had his contract “renewed” for 2022 as a symbol of his displeasure of his pre-arb salary offer. You’ll notice that $714,500 salary for last year is just $14,500 above league-minimum. For a player that won Rookie of the Year and Reliever of the Year in 2020 and had clearly become one of their most trusted arms.
Williams gets a nice raise here, and his salary will only continue to grow, but it’s $10MM lower than Josh Hader’s projected $13.6MM salary for next year.
Brent Suter – $3.1MM projected ($2.7MM)
It’s another slight salary bump for the longest tenured Brewers player. Brent Suter is entering his final year of arbitration and the 33 year old had a solid 2022 season. He finished with a 3.78 ERA in 66.2 IP.
Suter is a trusted and reliable arm for Craig Counsell out of the bullpen and an important leader in the clubhouse. He’ll most likely be brought back on this salary, get a nice raise, and fill his role out of the bullpen.
Victor Caratini – $2.8MM projected ($2MM)
For a while, Victor Caratini was an unsung hero on this Brewers roster. He ended up getting the most of the catching platoon between him and Omar Narvaez, even after only being acquired the day before Opening Day. Caratini ended the first half hitting .244/.362/.441 with an .803 OPS.
However, the second half was not so kind, as Caratini hit just .159 down the stretch with a paltry .479 OPS. Caratini finished the season with a .199 batting average and a .642 OPS.
Still, he’s entering his final year of arbitration before free agency and he provides value as a defensive catcher, putting up a 0.6 bWAR on the year. With Omar Narvaez also coming off a down year and entering free agency, it’s likely Caratini is brought back, even with his poor second half.
Matt Bush – $2MM projected ($825k)
The Brewers acquired Matt Bush at the deadline and part of what attracted them to him was that he still had two more years of arbitration remaining. He wasn’t able to replicate his success he was having with the Rangers when he joined the Brewers, however. He ended up with a 4.30 ERA in 23 games for Milwaukee.
While not as good as hoped for, Bush wasn’t a complete disaster and they do love his stuff. Perhaps not having to move teams midseason and now having some time to adjust to his new team will help Bush have a rebound performance in 2023. Combined with his Rangers stats, Bush had a 3.47 ERA this year, which is deserving of a nice raise to a few million bucks.
Keston Hiura – $2MM projected ($705,100)
Keston Hiura’s case will be one of the most interesting ones to watch this offseason. Will they trade him? Will they keep him? Will they non-tender him at this price? The Brewers didn’t really give Hiura much run as a regular starter, especially against right-handed pitching.
This is the first year of arbitration for Hiura. There are clear issues with his performance, both offensively and defensively. But, he’s got 50 home runs to his name already, with double-digit homers in three of his four big league seasons and he posted a 115 OPS+ in 2022.
Hiura will see a nice little bump in pay, but will the Brewers be willing to be the ones to pay it. Time will tell as the offseason unfolds.