After one arguably surprising contract option decision was made by the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday, the team surprised some again as they made a decision on the other contract option that was up on the air today.
On Thursday, the Brewers declined the team's contract option on right-handed reliever Brad Boxberger for the 2023 season. The 34-year-old will now head to free agency for the second consecutive offseason.
The decision came a day after the team somewhat surprisingly picked up the 2023 contract option for second baseman Kolten Wong. Most of that surprise was related to the fact that at $10MM (versus a $2MM buyout), it was a rather pricey option to pick up.
On the flip side, Boxberger's option was for just $3MM compared to a $750k buyout. Based on the production he'd put up the last couple seasons for Milwaukee, most thought picking up his option was an easy decision to make.
Instead, Brewers reliever Brad Boxberger has his 2023 contract option declined and is headed to free agency.
Boxberger becomes a free agent again after two solid seasons in a Brewers uniform. He was first signed to a one-year minor league deal for the 2021 season and ended up leading the team with 71 appearances while putting up a 3.34 ERA and a 1.067 WHIP. As a free agent again, he would re-sign with Milwaukee for 2022, this time with a team option attached for 2023.
The righty would once again lead the team in appearances with 70. He would see a bit of a midseason swoon, but overall put up similar numbers to the previous season with his ERA getting a bit better (2.95) and his WHIP getting a bit worse (1.234).
One would think that $3MM wouldn't be that much to pay for that type of production again. However, Brewers General Manager Matt Arnold didn't get that sense from the free agent market according to Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Milwaukee likely will be hitting up the relief pitcher market in free agency this offseason. So as long as he doesn't sign elsewhere first, there's always a chance the team could bring Boxberger back, just at a lower price.
Meanwhile, the Brewers made a move the same day to replace Boxberger on the roster as they claimed right-hander Tyson Miller off waivers from the Texas Rangers. The 27-year-old isn't set to hit arbitration until 2026.
A former fourth round pick of the Cubs, Miller has made just six appearances in his major league career, three of them starts. In 15.2 combined innings with the Cubs and Rangers, the righty has given up 16 earned runs and struck out eight while walking 11.
And with that, both contract option decisions for the Brewers have been made. Soon, it will be time to start signing free agents, and who knows, perhaps Boxberger will end up being one of them.