Brewers Contract Options (4)
Mark Canha, Wade Miley, Andrew Chafin, Justin Wilson
These players could possibly join that previous list of free agents, and at least two of them probably will. The Brewers have four contract option decisions to make this offseason, three club options and one mutual option.
Let's get the obvious ones out of the way. Andrew Chafin's club option is going to be declined. He was not a trusted arm for Craig Counsell down the stretch, did not make the playoff roster, and certainly has not shown that he'd be worth the $7.25MM that his option is worth for 2024. The Brewers will take the $750k buyout on Chafin and cut him loose.
Also, it's highly likely the Brewers decline the option on Justin Wilson. They signed him as a free agent, knowing he'd return from injury in July. On the day he was activated, Wilson injured his lat warming up in the bullpen and missed the entire season. The Brewers might try to bring Wilson back, hoping he'd be healthy in 2024, but not on his $2.5MM option. They'll take the $150k buyout.
Now let's look at the tougher decisions.
Soon to be 37 year old Wade Miley was a valuable veteran presence in the Brewers rotation this year. He was on the verge of retiring but the Brewers brought him back to Milwaukee and he showed he still has some gas left in the tank. Miley's option is for $10MM, which is not a small amount of money, with a $1MM buyout.
To complicate matters, Miley's option is a mutual option, meaning both the team and player have to exercise it. Mutual options are rarely exercised. The Brewers may not want to pay such a high salary for Miley, opting to find similar production from someone who will cost less. Or Miley could look to the open market and try to find a team that will see his strong 2023 season and believe he's worth more than $10MM. Miley is very comfortable in Milwaukee and the Brewers like him a lot, so perhaps he could return. There's a strong chance it won't be on his mutual option, but the Brewers could do a lot worse for $10MM on the starting pitching market.
Mark Canha has a club option for 2024 that's valued at $11.5MM with a $2MM buyout, essentially making it a $9.5MM decision for the Brewers. Initially after acquiring Canha, the Brewers likely planned on declining his option, but Canha was arguably the Crew's best hitter down the stretch and proved to be a valuable player.
Canha is versatile and productive at the plate. His first base experience makes him a really good fit on this Brewers team that needs an answer at the position. For the price, Canha is likely to give the Brewers the best bang for their buck among the options on the market. It's likely the Brewers are leaning towards picking up Canha's option for 2024, solving one of their big needs early in the offseason. However with high prices in the arbitration class, the Brewers may need to trim payroll wherever they can.