Brewers bring back former Opening Day starter on two-year deal

Brandon Woodruff is back in a Brewers uniform after being non-tendered
Wild Card Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers - Game One
Wild Card Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers - Game One / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

The Big Woo is back in a Brewers uniform. After being non-tendered earlier this offseason, 2020 and 2021 Opening Day starter Brandon Woodruff has re-signed with the Milwaukee Brewers on a multi year contract.

Per Jon Heyman, Woodruff is signing a two year deal to return to Milwaukee. Financial details were not immediately known.

Woodruff underwent shoulder capsule surgery after the season which will keep him out for likely the entire 2024 season. Since 2024 was his last season of arbitration, the Brewers elected to non-tender him rather than pay him a projected $12MM to not pitch next year and lose him to free agency.

Because of Woodruff's injury, he was always looking at a two year deal this winter, so he could rehab and then get a one year showcase to prove he's healthy and re-establish his value for the open market where he could seek a longer term contract.

Woodruff, 31, can re-enter the free agent market after his age-32 season, where he could still secure a four year deal or longer. But that's if he proves he's healthy and has returned to form after an invasive surgery that pitchers often find difficult to come back from.

At his best, Woodruff is a true ace. In just 11 starts last year, Woodruff pitched to a 2.28 ERA with a 0.82 WHIP and a 2.4 bWAR. For his career, Woodruff has a 3.10 ERA. Losing Woodruff for nothing would've been a brutal blow to the Brewers organization. They typically try to maximize the value of their players, and if they lose them, they at least usually trade them for some value, Josh Hader and Corbin Burnes for example. Non-tendering an ace like Woodruff was a difficult choice but the Brewers smartly remained open to bringing him back.

Since Woodruff was not likely to pitch this year, other teams did not sign Woodruff earlier this offseason because he'd need to carry a 40 man roster spot until spring training opened and he could be put on the 60 day IL. Once camps opened last week, the market for Woodruff was going to heat up.

For Woodruff, a return to Milwaukee means he'll get to rehab and attempt to bounce back with the only organization he's ever known, a place he's very familiar and comfortable with. For the Brewers, they get back a key member of their franchise, a key leader in the clubhouse and on the field. If he returns to form in 2025, the Brewers will be sitting pretty in their rotation once again. Also, they have the option to give Woodruff a qualifying offer following 2025 and recoup a draft pick