Brewers Payroll Outlook
The Brewers had an estimated $126MM payroll in 2023. The payroll was around $137MM in 2022. It's likely the Brewers 2024 payroll will be kept around a similar range. It may be slightly higher than 2023 but it's unlikely to see Milwaukee make a massive increase in payroll this winter and spend big.
The Brewers have big arbitration raises to pay out to core players. If Burnes, Woodruff, and Adames are retained and sign to their projected arbitration salaries, that's $39.1MM in payroll, plus Yelich's $26MM means over $65MM in payroll will be taken up by just four players.
Let's assume the Brewers pick up Canha's option. His salary, plus the already guaranteed salaries for Freddy Peralta and Aaron Ashby take the payroll up to over $83MM already.
Adding in the rest of the arbitration salaries, assuming non-tenders for Tellez and Toro, takes the Brewers payroll up to $101MM. Factor in the rest of the pre-arbitration players to fill out the roster and the Brewers are looking at approximately $115MM in payroll obligations for 2024 without making one single addition. This is also excluding Wade Miley, who has a $10MM option that may or may not be picked up.
This gives the Brewers just about $11MM of room until they reach the 2023 payroll total, which isn't much at all. If the Brewers do intent to keep Burnes and Adames instead of trading them, then they are going to have to increase payroll for 2024. We could see Milwaukee push to a $130-140MM range for payroll, but it's unlikely they push any higher than that, barring a complete change in philosophy on spending.
That just leaves the Brewers with likely $15-25MM of payroll space to work with heading into the offseason. They could always look to trade from the fringes of their big league roster to offset salary but there's not much fat to trim while still remaining a competitive team in the NL Central.
Don't expect the Brewers to be big players at the top of the free agent market given their payroll condition. Similar to last offseason, we could be seeing trades as the main strategy for improving the roster for 2024.