2023 has been a season to forget for Milwaukee Brewers southpaw Eric Lauer. He had been a formidable member of the starting rotation each of the past two seasons, but a combination of a lack of confidence, mechanics, and inflammation/nerve issues resulted in a lost season for him.
After a dreadful start to the year the Brewers placed Eric Lauer on the injured list with impingement in his non-throwing shoulder. He then spent a few summer months at the Arizona Complex working through the inflammation in his upper extremity and nerve compression as well as his throwing mechanics.
It took until late July for Eric Lauer to return to live game action. He spent all of August and September with the Nashville Sounds and then got the call up to the Brewers to make one final start this year against the Chicago Cubs. This gave him an opportunity to finish 2023 out strong and show that he can be a contributor in 2024.
Unfortunately the Cubs teed off on Eric Lauer early on as they scored six runs in the first inning that included three home runs. He finished the night tied for a career worst in earned runs with eight, gave up nine hits, walked four, and overall fought command and velocity issues.
The Milwaukee Brewers will have to make a decision on Eric Lauer this off-season.
2024 will be Eric Lauer's final year of arbitration. He made just over $5MM this year and the way that arbitration works is that the maximum amount of pay deduction that can occur is 20% of the player's previous year salary. This means at minimum Eric Lauer will make over $4M in 2024 if tendered a contract by the Brewers.
When Eric Lauer was asked about his future with the team going forward he acknowledged that there is some uncertainty. He also said it is on him for not making the most of his opportunities and that going forward his goal is to make sure it does not happen again.
"I don’t know what I’m doing going forward. Like I said I didn’t make a whole lot of the opportunity today and it’s on me.”"- Eric Lauer
The Brewers will have until the middle of November to make a decision on whether to tender Eric Lauer a contract for 2024 or not. His track record of success in 2021 (3.19 ERA) and 2022 (3.69 ERA) makes this decision tough, but things are not trending positively toward a tender for Lauer.