MLB's arbitration filing deadline is approaching on Friday the 12th. By that time, the Brewers and their arbitration eligible players need to either have settled on a salary for the 2024 season or file what they believe the player's salary should be and potentially take the case to a hearing.
UPDATE: MLB has moved up the deadline to Thursday, January 11th at 8 PM ET.
In most instances, the Brewers employ a "file and trial" approach, similar to a lot of other teams. If the two sides can't come to an agreement on salary by Friday, it's highly likely the Brewers will take the player to a hearing, which is uncomfortable for all involved. The Brewers have been "successful" in recent arbitration hearings in that they've convinced the arbitration panel to side with them, but relationships with players have been damaged in the process.
Last year, the Brewers took ace Corbin Burnes to an arbitration hearing and won, but Burnes arrived at spring training upset with the organization about how the process played out and confirming his relationship with the team had been damaged.
The Brewers have seven remaining players in the arbitration process
Burnes, Willy Adames, Devin Williams, Hoby Milner, Joel Payamps, Jake Bauers, and Bryse Wilson are the current Brewers players still in the arbitration process without a salary set for 2024. In the coming days, the Brewers will look to settle on a salary with each of them.
Corbin Burnes is set for the largest arbitration salary the Brewers have had to pay since Prince Fielder in 2011, projected to earn $15.1MM this year. This is Burnes' last year of arbitration before hitting free agency and after taking him to a hearing last year, the Brewers are more likely to try to avoid a hearing if at all possible this year.
Willy Adames is projected to earn $12.4MM as he also enters his final year of arbitration before hitting free agency. He's coming off a down season offensively, although he slugged 24 homers, he had just a .217/.310/.407 slash line with a career-low .717 OPS. He'll be looking for a strong platform season before he reaches free agency.
Devin Williams is the third and final "core" player in arbitration. The Crew's closer is projected to earn around $6.5MM in his second year of arbitration. He has two more seasons before hitting free agency. For the Brewers, it's crucial to come to a settlement with Williams, Adames, and Burnes as the three big money, core players in the arbitration process, but these players can sometimes be the toughest to settle with.
Relievers Hoby Milner and Joel Payamps are both projected to earn around $1.7MM in arbitration this year. It's Milner's second arbitration season and Payamps' first. Both had crucial roles out of the bullpen last year and will feature prominently once again in 2024. UPDATE: Milner has settled with the Brewers on a $2.05MM salary for 2024.
Jake Bauers was acquired during this offseason and he's projected to get $1.7MM in his first season of arbitration. Bauers will be much cheaper than Rowdy Tellez was slated to be but he hasn't been very productive in his major league career with a .663 OPS across four seasons.
Bryse Wilson is the final Brewers player still left in arbitration. He became a versatile piece out of Milwaukee's bullpen in 2023 and once again figures to be a key piece out of the pen in 2024. This is his first season of arbitration.
The Brewers will look to settle with all seven of these players by Friday, but the key cases to watch will be Burnes, Adames, and Williams. If they don't come to an agreement by the end of Friday, it's likely the case will go to a hearing. Arbitration hearings occur sometime around the beginning of February.