Willy Adames, Milwaukee’s star shortstop, is the most obvious extension possibility for the Milwaukee Brewers this offseason. Adames has been a fan favorite for many since being traded to the Brewers from Tampa Bay back in May of 2021.
What kind of extension would be required if the Brewers wanted to keep Willy wearing a Milwaukee jersey?
Willy Adames is 27 years old as of the writing of this article, and he is coming off of his best overall season yet, according to both Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs. In 2022, Adames had a 4.4 rWAR season with a career-high 31 home runs and 98 RBIs. However, there is more to extending Adames than just his stats.
Upon being traded from the Rays to the Brewers on May 21, 2021, Adames was told to be himself. As a result, the city of Milwaukee fell in love with the sweet-swinging shortstop. His upbeat personality created a palpable energy among fans and even members of the clubhouse.
After the questionable Josh Hader trade, David Stearns stepping down as President of Baseball Operations, and the team missing the playoffs in 2022, morale among fans is quite low.
Extending Willy Adames would demonstrate that this organization is set on winning both in the short-term and the long term.
Two significant free-agent signings recently reset the shortstop market's peak price. On December 8, 2022, Trea Turner signed a massive eleven-year, $300 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. One day later, former Boston Red Sox infielder Xander Bogaerts signed an eleven-year, $280 million contract with the San Diego Padres.
It’s clear the market has changed, and small market teams like the Brewers are being left in the dust.
Adames is younger than both Turner and Bogaerts. Additionally, the Brewers have two more seasons of team control. At age 29, if no extension is agreed upon, he will become a free agent.
An extension this offseason could be unlikely, but if he plays well in 2023, his market value can rise even higher than it is now. Willy Adames is a free agent after the 2024 season, but he has made it clear that he wants to remain a Brewer.
When comparing the recent signings of Turner and Bogaerts, it is doubtful that the Brewers will hand out a massive eleven-year contract extension to Adames.
But Milwaukee could pay him around $25 - $27M per season, which might be enticing to Adames given that he's still 22 months away from free agency.
Looking at the potential 2023 payroll, the Brewers have freed up a lot of space, with Lorenzo Cain, Andrew McCutchen, and Josh Hader being out of the picture. Spotrac estimates Milwaukee’s current payroll is at an estimated $112.5 million. Last season was an estimated $131 million.
If owner Mark Attanasio is willing to shell out some money to keep a fan favorite on the roster, it is possible that Willy could be a Milwaukee Brewer for the rest of his career.
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