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  1. Bobby Bonilla Day is often considered a time to mock the New York Mets for the $1.19 million they pay the former switch-hitting slugger every July 1. That being said, the Brewers, who face the impending free agency of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Willy Adames, might want to look to Bonilla for inspiration, not mockery. This is nothing new, as CBS Sports notes. But it may be the answer the Brewers are looking for to keep Corbin Burnes in Milwaukee for an extended period. There is no doubt that Burnes is the best starting pitcher the Brewers have seen since Ben Sheets in his prime. Baseball-Reference lays the numbers out clearly: 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings, a 4.79 K/BB ratio, career ERA+ of 129. In terms of single-season performance, he has two places in the top five for strikeouts (243 and 234, good for second and fourth), K/BB ratio (6.882 and 4.765, also suitable for second and fourth), and WHIP (0.940 and 0.965, holding the top two slots). Regarding career marks, he is at or near the top in several categories, beating well-known Brewer aces like Teddy Higuera, Mike Caldwell, Yovanni Gallardo, and Ben Sheets. He is climbing the ranks in others. Burnes, a top-10 Cy Young candidate for the last three years, clearly deserves to get paid, and the best-case scenario for the Brewers is that he stays as the ace of the rotation for a long time. According to MLB Trade Rumors, he is projected to receive an arbitration-based salary of $11.4 million in 2023. But suppose the Brewers offer an eight-year, $260 million deal, with a $10 million signing bonus and $90 million deferred to be paid out over 30 years? The contract could be structured like this: 2023: $20 million, plus a $5 million bonus, $10 million deferred 2024: $20 million, plus a $5 million bonus, $10 million deferred 2025: $20 million, $10 million deferred 2026: $20 million, $10 million deferred 2027: $20 million, $10 million deferred 2028: $20 million, $10 million deferred 2029: $20 million, $15 million deferred 2030: $20 million, $15 million deferred Expensive? Yes. But a deal like this might give the Brewers enough room to keep Burnes on board for the rest of the 2020s. It would mean that the Brewers would have $46 million a year committed between Burnes and Christian Yelich from 2023-2028 and $40 million committed in 2029 if the Brewers and Yelich exercise their mutual option. It should be noted that Brandon Woodruff has been a shade behind Corbin Burnes in some of these metrics and would be worth extending on his own merits. If Woodruff and Adames were to sign for 6-year, $120 million deals with $30 million deferred over 30 years in an arrangement similar to the Burnes deal, it would mean the Brewers have $76 million committed through 2028 for those four players. However, in this case, the Brewers might be able to afford to do just that. The team has a lot of young talent coming up through the minors. In the outfield, Garrett Michell and Sal Frelick will almost certainly be in Milwaukee for most of 2023, and it’s an open question of just how long Joey Weimer and Esteury Ruiz can stay in the minors. Brice Turang seems to be the front-runner for second base, Cam Devanny could force his way to the majors at third base, and Mario Feliciano is an option to split time with Victor Caratini at catcher. This doesn’t include other potential prospect help from Jace Avina, Jackson Chourio, Jeferson Quero, Darrien Miller, Thomas Dillard, Ernesto Martinez, and Xavier Warren – among many other prospects. While some of these prospects could be traded, many players could be super options for bench or expanded roles at the major league minimum. In addition, the Brewers could trade Eric Lauer or Adrian Houser to land more prospects. The Brewers could then take the approach used with Freddy Peralta and Aaron Ashby to lock down the most promising in for an extended time at a relatively bargain price. Furthermore, the deferred money – a mere $3 million a year for 30 years for Burnes and $5 million a year for 30 years if Woodruff and Adames also get extended – would not be a backbreaker, especially as the league minimum creeps up and salaries continue to rise overall. In other words, while it might seem crazy to go full Bobby Bonilla, the present situation might be crazy enough to work out very well for the Brewers. What do they have to lose? View full article
  2. This is nothing new, as CBS Sports notes. But it may be the answer the Brewers are looking for to keep Corbin Burnes in Milwaukee for an extended period. There is no doubt that Burnes is the best starting pitcher the Brewers have seen since Ben Sheets in his prime. Baseball-Reference lays the numbers out clearly: 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings, a 4.79 K/BB ratio, career ERA+ of 129. In terms of single-season performance, he has two places in the top five for strikeouts (243 and 234, good for second and fourth), K/BB ratio (6.882 and 4.765, also suitable for second and fourth), and WHIP (0.940 and 0.965, holding the top two slots). Regarding career marks, he is at or near the top in several categories, beating well-known Brewer aces like Teddy Higuera, Mike Caldwell, Yovanni Gallardo, and Ben Sheets. He is climbing the ranks in others. Burnes, a top-10 Cy Young candidate for the last three years, clearly deserves to get paid, and the best-case scenario for the Brewers is that he stays as the ace of the rotation for a long time. According to MLB Trade Rumors, he is projected to receive an arbitration-based salary of $11.4 million in 2023. But suppose the Brewers offer an eight-year, $260 million deal, with a $10 million signing bonus and $90 million deferred to be paid out over 30 years? The contract could be structured like this: 2023: $20 million, plus a $5 million bonus, $10 million deferred 2024: $20 million, plus a $5 million bonus, $10 million deferred 2025: $20 million, $10 million deferred 2026: $20 million, $10 million deferred 2027: $20 million, $10 million deferred 2028: $20 million, $10 million deferred 2029: $20 million, $15 million deferred 2030: $20 million, $15 million deferred Expensive? Yes. But a deal like this might give the Brewers enough room to keep Burnes on board for the rest of the 2020s. It would mean that the Brewers would have $46 million a year committed between Burnes and Christian Yelich from 2023-2028 and $40 million committed in 2029 if the Brewers and Yelich exercise their mutual option. It should be noted that Brandon Woodruff has been a shade behind Corbin Burnes in some of these metrics and would be worth extending on his own merits. If Woodruff and Adames were to sign for 6-year, $120 million deals with $30 million deferred over 30 years in an arrangement similar to the Burnes deal, it would mean the Brewers have $76 million committed through 2028 for those four players. However, in this case, the Brewers might be able to afford to do just that. The team has a lot of young talent coming up through the minors. In the outfield, Garrett Michell and Sal Frelick will almost certainly be in Milwaukee for most of 2023, and it’s an open question of just how long Joey Weimer and Esteury Ruiz can stay in the minors. Brice Turang seems to be the front-runner for second base, Cam Devanny could force his way to the majors at third base, and Mario Feliciano is an option to split time with Victor Caratini at catcher. This doesn’t include other potential prospect help from Jace Avina, Jackson Chourio, Jeferson Quero, Darrien Miller, Thomas Dillard, Ernesto Martinez, and Xavier Warren – among many other prospects. While some of these prospects could be traded, many players could be super options for bench or expanded roles at the major league minimum. In addition, the Brewers could trade Eric Lauer or Adrian Houser to land more prospects. The Brewers could then take the approach used with Freddy Peralta and Aaron Ashby to lock down the most promising in for an extended time at a relatively bargain price. Furthermore, the deferred money – a mere $3 million a year for 30 years for Burnes and $5 million a year for 30 years if Woodruff and Adames also get extended – would not be a backbreaker, especially as the league minimum creeps up and salaries continue to rise overall. In other words, while it might seem crazy to go full Bobby Bonilla, the present situation might be crazy enough to work out very well for the Brewers. What do they have to lose?
  3. The Milwaukee Brewers front office will be bustling this offseason. I'm not talking about significant free agent moves or mass trades, but dealing with the almost ridiculous number of players in their arbitration years. Image courtesy of © Albert Cesare/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK Milwaukee has 18 players in various stages of the arbitration process. The positive is that the club can keep each guy for 2023 if they choose. The negative side comes from the team having to pay increases to each - some sizable raises - even if they disagree with the player's value. The MLB Trade Rumors site breaks down the projected arbitration numbers for each player, usually with considerable accuracy. If each arbitration figure for the Brewers came to fruition by MLB Trade Rumors' projections, it would add $33-$34 million to Milwaukee's payroll in 2023. Let's quickly go through each player and their projected salary, grouping them by the years they have left in arbitration. For each player, we'll try to determine if they will 1) Settle on a one-year contract, 2) Sign a multi-year contract, 3) Be traded before accepting a deal, or 4) Be non-tendered, meaning they become a free agent. *NOTE: The Brewers rarely ever go to an arbitration hearing (Adrian Houser was an exception last year), so we will leave that off the table.* LAST YEAR OF ARBITRATION Victor Caratini (projection = $2.8 million): Sign one-year contract around $2.6 million This would be a $650,000 raise for an average catcher who hit .199 last season. With Omar Narvaez a free agent, it makes sense to keep Caratini for one year and keep options open for a young guy in 2024. Luis Perdomo (projection = $1 million): Sign one-year contract around $750,000 He was under a two-year contract, mostly rehabbing in 2021. He pitched well in many outings, and the Brewers need bullpen arms at lower, set costs. Hunter Renfroe (projection = $11.2 million): Sign one-year contract around $11 million Highest OPS+ (126) on the team, but with multiple top outfield prospects ready, no need for multiple years. A $3.4 million raise might be on the low end, and the Brewers could be willing to make an even $4 million increase to $11.6 million (though you can't rule out a trade at that cost). Brent Suter (projection = $3.1 million): Non-tender The Brewers won't value him at $3 million with worse numbers in 2022, so they should move on. At 33 years old, Suter could try to get a cheaper two-year contract. TWO YEARS OF ARBITRATION REMAINING Willy Adames (projection = $9.2 million): Sign four-year contract around $52 million Locking up a 27-year-old shortstop with a big offensive ceiling and high defensive ratings is extremely valuable. Adames' decision would come down to gambling on himself, but he would still be a free agent by his age-31 season. Corbin Burnes (projection = $11.4 million): Sign one-year contract around $12.5 million It's not exciting, but this is the most likely result for this season, as short of a mega-deal, Burnes has little incentive to do anything more than one year. The Brewers keep their options open and know they control Burnes' future - either in Milwaukee or in trade elsewhere. Matt Bush (projection = $1.2 million): Sign one-year contract around $900,000 His struggles at the end of the season should sink his cost some. Bush has shown great stuff, so Milwaukee would probably be happy paying a bit more to avoid a hearing. Trevor Gott (projection = $1.4 million): Non-tender Gott has an intriguing arm, but not reliable enough to pay almost $1.5 million. They could easily reach a cheap agreement after the non-tender if Gott likes his chances in Milwaukee. Jandel Gustave (projection = $900,000): Non-tender A below-average, 30-year-old reliever isn't getting nearly $1 million from the Brewers. Milwaukee will find two younger arms with the same cost and more upside. Adrian Houser (projection = $3.6 million): Trade before agreeing to a contract The relationship may have been fractured after his arbitration hearing last season. Teams are always looking for relatively cheap starters, and the Brewers could fill a need (or net a prospect) for a guy not in the long-term plans. Eric Lauer (projection = $5.2 million): Sign two-year contract around $12 million A talented but up-and-down hurler, Milwaukee can play the middle for the next two years. Guaranteeing himself $10 million, Lauer can worry about setting himself up for a big contract after 2024. Rowdy Tellez (projection = $5.3 million): Sign one-year contract around $4.5 million The projection seems to overvalue Tellez's 35 HR while ignoring his deficiencies. Milwaukee will give him a shot to break out with the "shift ban" coming while also being trade bait later in the offseason. Brandon Woodruff (projection = $11 million): Sign three-year contract around $45 million Entering his age-30 season, Woodruff should be open to a multi-year deal. Perhaps he would want more per season, but it buys out just one year of free agency. THREE YEARS OF ARBITRATION REMAINING Mike Brosseau (projection = $1.2 million): Sign one-year contract around $1.2 million The Brewers still need quality bats against left-handed pitchers, and Brosseau provides one. Brosseau posted a 0.6 fWAR in 160 plate appearances, which is good value for a part-time guy. Keston Hiura (projection = $2 million): Trade before agreeing to a contract It's difficult to see the Brewers giving Hiura a shot at full-time work, so a trade makes the most sense. Is there a team who values Hiura enough to inspire Milwaukee? Maybe he's a piece of a more significant deal. Hoby Milner (projection = $1.1 million): Sign one-year contract around $1 million Milner had a breakout season, gave manager Craig Counsell a weapon vs. lefties, and allowed just five of 37 inherited runners to score. Going year to year limits risk for the Brewers, though Milner could take a two-year deal at $1 million per season. Luis Urias (projection = $4.3 million): Sign one-year contract around $4.1 million Despite a perceived down year, Urias had the fourth-best fWAR on the club (2.3). The Brewers believe in Urias' talent and expect big things in the next couple of seasons. Devin Williams (projection = $3.2 million): Sign one-year contract around $3.5 million As they did with Josh Hader, the Brewers likely go year-to-year with Williams as the "closer." Reliever performance can fluctuate annually, so the safe play is to pay per season. These "predictions" lead to about the same payroll as if each arbitration projection turns out to be accurate and accepted. But by non-tendering a few players and offering more significant deals through contract extensions, Milwaukee can prioritize its best talent. However, President of Baseball Operations David Stearns will have many options to manipulate the Brewers 2023 roster into a World Series contender. Will there be more trades? Will the Brewers shy away from multi-year deals? Let us know what you think will happen - or what you hope will happen with these 18 players in arbitration. View full article
  4. It is rare to willingly get rid of one of the most dominant pitchers in MLB, who also won a Cy Young Award two seasons ago. However, the Milwaukee Brewers have to consider the option of trading Corbin Burnes now to maximize the return package of talent, especially if they aren't going to offer the right-hander a long-term contract. Image courtesy of © MARK HOFFMAN/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL / USA TODAY NETWORK GM Matt Arnold will have some tough decisions in the coming months and years, but nothing is more significant than determining how to handle Corbin Burnes' time with the Milwaukee Brewers. That could also be affected by what the Brewers decide to do with Brandon Woodruff. It isn't easy to see them keeping both or offering long-term deals before they become free agents in two seasons. Could they trade both? That would be a gamble, too. But let's look squarely at Burnes and his trade candidacy. The 2021 NL Cy Young has been phenomenal since the start of the 2020 season, which means a big payday is on the horizon. Some people need to appreciate how ridiculous Burnes has been in the last three years and how it will impact his salary. Corbin Burnes ranks first among MLB starters in these categories since 2020: 2.60 ERA 2.36 FIP 0.96 WHIP 11.83 K/9 33.3 K% 27.1 K-BB% 7.86 WPA (Win Probability Added) 14.3 fWAR (FanGraphs' Wins Above Replacement) Burnes makes a strong case for being the best pitcher in baseball right now. With two years of arbitration remaining, he would become a free agent after the 2024 season if he doesn't sign a contract extension. Those numbers for a starter who would hit free agency at 30 with mostly good health could generate a record contract. Burnes also tossed more than 200 innings last season while leading the NL with 243 strikeouts, meaning he isn't likely to decline soon. A quick look at recent starting pitcher contracts could legitimately net Burnes a contract for anywhere between five and eight years from $175-$275 million if a big market team is determined to land him. Check out the list below from Spotrac.com and you can see the huge deals for recent starting pitchers. Realistically, the Brewers are unlikely to invest that much in one player, especially with the way the Christian Yelich deal has gone thus far. Pitchers also carry more injury risk. If the organization doesn't want to lose Burnes to free agency without getting anything in return, this offseason could net them the most crucial haul for future success. The question is, can you get fair value back in a trade? For the Brewers to jettison Burnes elsewhere, they need at least a couple of players at the beginning of their MLB careers or on the cusp. Getting two players back who are under team control for five or six years and are ready to contribute now is essential to keep the club from dipping in performance. Then Milwaukee would need a couple of higher-level prospects with significant potential. Ideally, they're getting at least two starting pitchers in the deal and one impact bat. People might argue the return should include a top-20 MLB prospect and three more of the team's best 10 minor leaguers, but that can be subjective. It's going to come down to the right fit for a club that lacks top-tier starting pitching and has the means to sign Burns to a long-term contract. It would help if you also had a team that feels comfortable offensively or is willing to add offense via free agency. They would then feel good about swapping out a solid bat (and the other pieces) for a true ace that puts them over the top. The first two clubs that come to mind as examples are the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles. Both teams want to push their franchises forward, and their farm systems were ranked sixth and first this past August. Texas has already shown a willingness to pay big bucks by giving Corey Seager and Marcus Semien mega-deals last offseason. The Rangers have six prospects in MLB Pipeline's top 100, including third baseman Josh Jung (#36) and right-handed pitchers Jack Leiter (#45), Owen White (#59), and Brock Porter (#89). Getting Jung and two of those hurlers gets them in the ballpark, then you figure out the fourth player. Texas finished fifth in runs scored (4.36 R/G) in the AL last season but 12th in ERA (4.22), so they would make a considerable jump up with Burnes. Rangers' fans in September were already pining for a rotation with Burnes at the top. How does this sound for Rangers opening day rotation 2023 RHP Corbin Burnes RHP Jon Gray LHP Martin Perez RHP Koudai Senga RHP Dane Dunning — John Moore (The Recliner Nerd) (@reclinernerd) September 13, 2022 No matter who the Brewers get in return for a potential Burnes trade, many in the fanbase will be upset - and there's nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, moving a player of Burnes' caliber at the right time for the best collection of young talent possible is often the ideal long-term option for continued, sustainable success. The most intriguing question around a Burnes trade might be, when is the best time to make it happen? Should the Brewers see how 2023 starts and trade him at the mid-season deadline if the club is floundering? It gives you another shot at the playoffs with your two aces (assuming Woodruff is still with the club). Do you wait until next offseason when he has just one year left on the contract and has slightly less value? You also risk injury or ineffectiveness curtailing his worth. That potential for injury and a possible dip in value is why many believe that if the Milwaukee Brewers are going to trade Corbin Burnes, this offseason is the time to strike. What do you think about dealing Burnes away, and who should they try to get back? View full article
  5. The Brewers have a lot of very intriguing questions to answer this offseason, and we will try to provide some thoughts on many of the possibilities. Last weekend, we considered the options with Brandon Woodruff. This weekend, we are considering options for the organization to consider as it relates to Corbin Burnes. Image courtesy of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK I think we can all agree that it will be a very interesting off-season for the Milwaukee Brewers. And there are some really difficult decisions for Matt Arnold and Company to consider. Between free agency and potential trades, the front office should be busy. How much will they be able to spend, or will they need to make decisions to reduce salaries? If that’s the case, fans will need to know that there will be some really good, really popular players that could be dealt. Today, we consider what a contract extension with Corbin Burnes might look like. (SPOILER ALERT! Quick summary, in case you need to come back later to see the actual numbers… It’s going to be a bunch of years and a really big dollar value.) Last weekend, we considered what a trade of co-ace Brandon Woodruff might look like as well as what Woodruff might be able to get in a long-term contract extension. Yesterday, Tim considered what the Brewers could get in return for Cy Young Corbin Burnes. So today, the pressure is on me to do a little research and provide Brewers fans with a realistic look at what a long-term contract extension with Burnes might look like Let’s start with the basics. Burnes was drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 draft out of St. Mary’s University. He made his MLB debut in July of 2018 and tossed 30 games out of the Brewers bullpen. In 2019, he went 1-5 with an ERA at 8.82, again, most out of the bullpen. That is the point in which I dropped him from the minor-league roster of my long-time keeper league. He had 243 strikeouts to go with 51 walks. So of course, in 2020, he went 4-1 with a 2.11 ERA. In 2021, he went 11-5 with a 2.43 ERA. In 167 innings, he walked 34 and struck out 234 batters on his way to his first Cy Young award. So far, it’s “just” one Cy Young Award, but if healthy, he appears to be a guy who will be a perennial All Star and Cy Young candidate. In 2022, he made a career-high 33 starts (to lead the league) and 202 innings. He was 12-8 with a 2.94 ERA. He has 4.049 years of service time which means he has two years of arbitration left potentially. So in reality, the Brewers (and Burnes) should not feel forced to make a deal, but it is also the ideal time for the Brewers to do this because the closer Burnes gets to free agency, the more likely he will want to hold out for that time when multiple teams will be able to court him. A quick look at his velocities. In 2022, his fastball averaged 96.0 to 96.9 mph. In the past couple of years, the pitch has been coded more often as a cutter and the velocity has been 95.3 and 95.1 mph. His slider has been over 88 mph. His curveball has been between 81 and 82 mph. He even throws a change-up, and it has been right over 90 mph. In other words, the stuff has not changed. According to Fan Graphs, Burnes has been worth 14.5 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) over the past three seasons, and that includes the Covid-shortened 2020 season (he was a 2.4 WAR pitcher in the 60-game season, which equates to about 6.5 WAR over a full season). In those three seasons, his ‘Value’ has been worth $115.6 million. Again, if you give him a full season for 2020, you can add about $33 million more to that number. So yes, per 162 games, he has been worth just over $50 million per year. Corbin Burnes has been on the Injured List just once. In 2020, he missed time with an oblique injury. In 2021, his Cy Young season, he left one game with a jammed knee but didn’t miss a start. Knock on proverbial wood, but to this point, he has remained healthy. Comparable Contracts Simply, there are not a lot of long-term contracts signed with dominant, Cy Young Award winners with two years of arbitration remaining. So, it is possible that the only decent comparables might be free agents, but that’s not the same. Free agents can talk to multiple teams in their negotiations. That said, those top contracts such as Gerrit Cole’s deal with the Yankees (9 years, $324 million) or Stephen Strasburg’s deal with the Nationals (7 years, $245 million). The Average Annual Value (AAV) of Cole’s deal was $36 million while Strasburg’s was $35 million. Of course, Trevor Bauer also signed before the 2020 season at an AAV of $34 million. Going back five years earlier, Max Scherzer signed a seven-year, $210 million deal with Washington ($30 million per year). The one contract that is probably most similar to this Burnes’ situation might be that of Jacob deGrom. Before the 2019 season, deGrom and the Mets agreed to a five-year, $137.5 million deal. At the time, deGrom was coming off of his first Cy Young season in 2018 and then won his second in 2019. So, he had two more years of arbitration remaining if he wanted to go in that direction. Instead, he signed a deal and received: 2019: $7M, 2020: $23M, 2021: $33.5M, 2022: $33.5M, 2023: $30.5M, 2024: $32.5M (club option). (AAV = $27.5M) As you know, the deal allowed deGrom to opt out after the 2022 season (so we should hear more about that soon). It’s also important to note that nearly half of the contract is deferred. Could that be included in a deal with Burnes? deGrom also received a full no-trade clause. There is one significant difference between deGrom’s extension and a long-term extension with Burnes, if he signs this offseason. Age. 2019 was the first season of deGrom’s deal, and it was his Age-31 season. Burnes will be 28 years old throughout the first season of such a deal. While that doesn’t need to mean more AAV, it could mean extending the contract out. So, let’s get to a proposal I would send to Burnes and his agents and advisors. OK, I’d probably start just a little bit lower in hopes of reaching a deal around this number. Will this be a deal that Brewers management, and ownership, would be comfortable agreeing upon? Age Year Salary 28 2023 $18.00 29 2024 $25.00 30 2025 $28.00 31 2026 $30.00 32 2027 $32.00 opt out 33 2028 $33.00 34 2029 $34.00 35 2030 $35.00 buyout $10M This contract is similar to deGrom’s deal with the Mets. The difference is that it extends longer, and I don’t want to have to consider deferments and such. I do like the idea of options, at least one, at the end of any contract. I really do not like the idea of opt-outs. However, in this case, I am going to add one. I feel like these huge contracts are far riskier for the organization than it is for the player. In this case, I would let Burnes make that decision after five years and $133 million. If he did opt out, he would be giving up the final two years and $77 million. However, if he would opt out, it would be because he could sign a deal for much more than that. If that happens, the Brewers would save that money by not paying a 33-34 year old $77 million when the risk is obviously much higher. The Brewers risk, of course, is that Burnes doesn’t opt out, it would likely mean that either he wasn’t pitching well or was injured. With Opt Out 5 years, $133M Guaranteed 7 years, $210M Up To 8 years, $235M Ultimately, it is the same contract that Max Scherzer signed as a free agent seven years ago. Again, Scherzer was a free agent. He won his first Cy Young Award two years earlier, in his age-28 season with the Tigers. In 2018, he finished fifth in Cy Young voting. He had pitched in his second straight All-Star game. The economics of baseball has grown significantly over the past seven years. I think that two years of arbitration and five years of free agency today could be worth the same as a seven-year contract would have seven years ago. So what do you think? Is this a contract that you would feel comfortable with the Brewers offering Corbin Burnes at this time? If his representation is willing to negotiate from there, awesome. Keep the talks going. If they aren’t willing to even listen to that offer, then Milwaukee should reach out to other teams to see what his trade value is (It will be very, very big). If they’re not happy with the offers, then you offer him arbitration, have him pitch in 2023 for something close to $20 million, and try again next offseason with the same three options. Your turn. What would you do? View full article
  6. I think we can all agree that it will be a very interesting off-season for the Milwaukee Brewers. And there are some really difficult decisions for Matt Arnold and Company to consider. Between free agency and potential trades, the front office should be busy. How much will they be able to spend, or will they need to make decisions to reduce salaries? If that’s the case, fans will need to know that there will be some really good, really popular players that could be dealt. Today, we consider what a contract extension with Corbin Burnes might look like. (SPOILER ALERT! Quick summary, in case you need to come back later to see the actual numbers… It’s going to be a bunch of years and a really big dollar value.) Last weekend, we considered what a trade of co-ace Brandon Woodruff might look like as well as what Woodruff might be able to get in a long-term contract extension. Yesterday, Tim considered what the Brewers could get in return for Cy Young Corbin Burnes. So today, the pressure is on me to do a little research and provide Brewers fans with a realistic look at what a long-term contract extension with Burnes might look like Let’s start with the basics. Burnes was drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 draft out of St. Mary’s University. He made his MLB debut in July of 2018 and tossed 30 games out of the Brewers bullpen. In 2019, he went 1-5 with an ERA at 8.82, again, most out of the bullpen. That is the point in which I dropped him from the minor-league roster of my long-time keeper league. He had 243 strikeouts to go with 51 walks. So of course, in 2020, he went 4-1 with a 2.11 ERA. In 2021, he went 11-5 with a 2.43 ERA. In 167 innings, he walked 34 and struck out 234 batters on his way to his first Cy Young award. So far, it’s “just” one Cy Young Award, but if healthy, he appears to be a guy who will be a perennial All Star and Cy Young candidate. In 2022, he made a career-high 33 starts (to lead the league) and 202 innings. He was 12-8 with a 2.94 ERA. He has 4.049 years of service time which means he has two years of arbitration left potentially. So in reality, the Brewers (and Burnes) should not feel forced to make a deal, but it is also the ideal time for the Brewers to do this because the closer Burnes gets to free agency, the more likely he will want to hold out for that time when multiple teams will be able to court him. A quick look at his velocities. In 2022, his fastball averaged 96.0 to 96.9 mph. In the past couple of years, the pitch has been coded more often as a cutter and the velocity has been 95.3 and 95.1 mph. His slider has been over 88 mph. His curveball has been between 81 and 82 mph. He even throws a change-up, and it has been right over 90 mph. In other words, the stuff has not changed. According to Fan Graphs, Burnes has been worth 14.5 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) over the past three seasons, and that includes the Covid-shortened 2020 season (he was a 2.4 WAR pitcher in the 60-game season, which equates to about 6.5 WAR over a full season). In those three seasons, his ‘Value’ has been worth $115.6 million. Again, if you give him a full season for 2020, you can add about $33 million more to that number. So yes, per 162 games, he has been worth just over $50 million per year. Corbin Burnes has been on the Injured List just once. In 2020, he missed time with an oblique injury. In 2021, his Cy Young season, he left one game with a jammed knee but didn’t miss a start. Knock on proverbial wood, but to this point, he has remained healthy. Comparable Contracts Simply, there are not a lot of long-term contracts signed with dominant, Cy Young Award winners with two years of arbitration remaining. So, it is possible that the only decent comparables might be free agents, but that’s not the same. Free agents can talk to multiple teams in their negotiations. That said, those top contracts such as Gerrit Cole’s deal with the Yankees (9 years, $324 million) or Stephen Strasburg’s deal with the Nationals (7 years, $245 million). The Average Annual Value (AAV) of Cole’s deal was $36 million while Strasburg’s was $35 million. Of course, Trevor Bauer also signed before the 2020 season at an AAV of $34 million. Going back five years earlier, Max Scherzer signed a seven-year, $210 million deal with Washington ($30 million per year). The one contract that is probably most similar to this Burnes’ situation might be that of Jacob deGrom. Before the 2019 season, deGrom and the Mets agreed to a five-year, $137.5 million deal. At the time, deGrom was coming off of his first Cy Young season in 2018 and then won his second in 2019. So, he had two more years of arbitration remaining if he wanted to go in that direction. Instead, he signed a deal and received: 2019: $7M, 2020: $23M, 2021: $33.5M, 2022: $33.5M, 2023: $30.5M, 2024: $32.5M (club option). (AAV = $27.5M) As you know, the deal allowed deGrom to opt out after the 2022 season (so we should hear more about that soon). It’s also important to note that nearly half of the contract is deferred. Could that be included in a deal with Burnes? deGrom also received a full no-trade clause. There is one significant difference between deGrom’s extension and a long-term extension with Burnes, if he signs this offseason. Age. 2019 was the first season of deGrom’s deal, and it was his Age-31 season. Burnes will be 28 years old throughout the first season of such a deal. While that doesn’t need to mean more AAV, it could mean extending the contract out. So, let’s get to a proposal I would send to Burnes and his agents and advisors. OK, I’d probably start just a little bit lower in hopes of reaching a deal around this number. Will this be a deal that Brewers management, and ownership, would be comfortable agreeing upon? Age Year Salary 28 2023 $18.00 29 2024 $25.00 30 2025 $28.00 31 2026 $30.00 32 2027 $32.00 opt out 33 2028 $33.00 34 2029 $34.00 35 2030 $35.00 buyout $10M This contract is similar to deGrom’s deal with the Mets. The difference is that it extends longer, and I don’t want to have to consider deferments and such. I do like the idea of options, at least one, at the end of any contract. I really do not like the idea of opt-outs. However, in this case, I am going to add one. I feel like these huge contracts are far riskier for the organization than it is for the player. In this case, I would let Burnes make that decision after five years and $133 million. If he did opt out, he would be giving up the final two years and $77 million. However, if he would opt out, it would be because he could sign a deal for much more than that. If that happens, the Brewers would save that money by not paying a 33-34 year old $77 million when the risk is obviously much higher. The Brewers risk, of course, is that Burnes doesn’t opt out, it would likely mean that either he wasn’t pitching well or was injured. With Opt Out 5 years, $133M Guaranteed 7 years, $210M Up To 8 years, $235M Ultimately, it is the same contract that Max Scherzer signed as a free agent seven years ago. Again, Scherzer was a free agent. He won his first Cy Young Award two years earlier, in his age-28 season with the Tigers. In 2018, he finished fifth in Cy Young voting. He had pitched in his second straight All-Star game. The economics of baseball has grown significantly over the past seven years. I think that two years of arbitration and five years of free agency today could be worth the same as a seven-year contract would have seven years ago. So what do you think? Is this a contract that you would feel comfortable with the Brewers offering Corbin Burnes at this time? If his representation is willing to negotiate from there, awesome. Keep the talks going. If they aren’t willing to even listen to that offer, then Milwaukee should reach out to other teams to see what his trade value is (It will be very, very big). If they’re not happy with the offers, then you offer him arbitration, have him pitch in 2023 for something close to $20 million, and try again next offseason with the same three options. Your turn. What would you do?
  7. GM Matt Arnold will have some tough decisions in the coming months and years, but nothing is more significant than determining how to handle Corbin Burnes' time with the Milwaukee Brewers. That could also be affected by what the Brewers decide to do with Brandon Woodruff. It isn't easy to see them keeping both or offering long-term deals before they become free agents in two seasons. Could they trade both? That would be a gamble, too. But let's look squarely at Burnes and his trade candidacy. The 2021 NL Cy Young has been phenomenal since the start of the 2020 season, which means a big payday is on the horizon. Some people need to appreciate how ridiculous Burnes has been in the last three years and how it will impact his salary. Corbin Burnes ranks first among MLB starters in these categories since 2020: 2.60 ERA 2.36 FIP 0.96 WHIP 11.83 K/9 33.3 K% 27.1 K-BB% 7.86 WPA (Win Probability Added) 14.3 fWAR (FanGraphs' Wins Above Replacement) Burnes makes a strong case for being the best pitcher in baseball right now. With two years of arbitration remaining, he would become a free agent after the 2024 season if he doesn't sign a contract extension. Those numbers for a starter who would hit free agency at 30 with mostly good health could generate a record contract. Burnes also tossed more than 200 innings last season while leading the NL with 243 strikeouts, meaning he isn't likely to decline soon. A quick look at recent starting pitcher contracts could legitimately net Burnes a contract for anywhere between five and eight years from $175-$275 million if a big market team is determined to land him. Check out the list below from Spotrac.com and you can see the huge deals for recent starting pitchers. Realistically, the Brewers are unlikely to invest that much in one player, especially with the way the Christian Yelich deal has gone thus far. Pitchers also carry more injury risk. If the organization doesn't want to lose Burnes to free agency without getting anything in return, this offseason could net them the most crucial haul for future success. The question is, can you get fair value back in a trade? For the Brewers to jettison Burnes elsewhere, they need at least a couple of players at the beginning of their MLB careers or on the cusp. Getting two players back who are under team control for five or six years and are ready to contribute now is essential to keep the club from dipping in performance. Then Milwaukee would need a couple of higher-level prospects with significant potential. Ideally, they're getting at least two starting pitchers in the deal and one impact bat. People might argue the return should include a top-20 MLB prospect and three more of the team's best 10 minor leaguers, but that can be subjective. It's going to come down to the right fit for a club that lacks top-tier starting pitching and has the means to sign Burns to a long-term contract. It would help if you also had a team that feels comfortable offensively or is willing to add offense via free agency. They would then feel good about swapping out a solid bat (and the other pieces) for a true ace that puts them over the top. The first two clubs that come to mind as examples are the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles. Both teams want to push their franchises forward, and their farm systems were ranked sixth and first this past August. Texas has already shown a willingness to pay big bucks by giving Corey Seager and Marcus Semien mega-deals last offseason. The Rangers have six prospects in MLB Pipeline's top 100, including third baseman Josh Jung (#36) and right-handed pitchers Jack Leiter (#45), Owen White (#59), and Brock Porter (#89). Getting Jung and two of those hurlers gets them in the ballpark, then you figure out the fourth player. Texas finished fifth in runs scored (4.36 R/G) in the AL last season but 12th in ERA (4.22), so they would make a considerable jump up with Burnes. Rangers' fans in September were already pining for a rotation with Burnes at the top. How does this sound for Rangers opening day rotation 2023 RHP Corbin Burnes RHP Jon Gray LHP Martin Perez RHP Koudai Senga RHP Dane Dunning — John Moore (The Recliner Nerd) (@reclinernerd) September 13, 2022 No matter who the Brewers get in return for a potential Burnes trade, many in the fanbase will be upset - and there's nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, moving a player of Burnes' caliber at the right time for the best collection of young talent possible is often the ideal long-term option for continued, sustainable success. The most intriguing question around a Burnes trade might be, when is the best time to make it happen? Should the Brewers see how 2023 starts and trade him at the mid-season deadline if the club is floundering? It gives you another shot at the playoffs with your two aces (assuming Woodruff is still with the club). Do you wait until next offseason when he has just one year left on the contract and has slightly less value? You also risk injury or ineffectiveness curtailing his worth. That potential for injury and a possible dip in value is why many believe that if the Milwaukee Brewers are going to trade Corbin Burnes, this offseason is the time to strike. What do you think about dealing Burnes away, and who should they try to get back?
  8. Thursday afternoon, Rawlings Baseball announced the 2022 Rawlings Gold Glove Award Finalists. The Brewers have two finalists. What do you think? Did anyone get snubbed? Discuss below. Image courtesy of Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports Keep up with which Brewers, if any, are named 2022 Rawlings Gold Glove finalists. The finalists are being announced by Rawlings, approximately 5 minutes apart, so this article will be updated over the next hour. So check back often. Here are the finalists: NL Pitchers: Tyler Anderson (Dodgers), Corbin Burnes (Brewers), Max Fried (Braves) AL Pitchers: Jose Berrios (Blue Jays), Shane Bieber (Guardians), Jameson Taillon (Yankees) Corbin Burnes has become one of the game's best pitchers. He's been an All Star the past two seasons. He's won a Cy Young Award. Does he field his position well too? Well... Well enough to be named a finalist today! NL Catchers: Travis d'Arnaud (Braves), Tomas Nido (Mets), JT Realmuto (Phillies) AL Catchers: Sean Murphy (A's), Cal Raleigh (Mariners), Jose Trevino (Yankees) NL First Base: Paul Goldschmidt (Cardinals), Matt Olson (Braves), Christian Walker (Diamondbacks) AL First Base: Luis Arraez (Twins), Vladimir Guerrero Jr.(Blue Jays), Anthony Rizzo (Yankees). Anyone surprised that Rowdy Tellez wasn't a finalist? NL Second Base: Jake Cronenworth (Padres), Tommy Edman (Cardinals), Brendan Rodgers (Rockies) AL Second Base: Andres Gimenez (Guardians), Jonathan Schoop (Tigers), Marcus Semien (Rangers) Nope, Kolten Wong was not named a finalist. Should we be surprised? Jonathan Schoop has always been a solid defensive player, at least when he has played second base. The former Brewers' defense has been acknowledged as a Gold Glove finalist. NL Shortstop: Ha-Seong Kim (Padres), Miguel Rojas (Marlins), Dansby Swanson (Braves) AL Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox), Carlos Correa (Twins), Jeremy Pena (Astros) No Willy Adames either. NL Third Base: Nolan Arenado (Cardinals), Ke'Bryan Hayes (Pirates), Ryan McMahon (Rockies) AL Third Base: Matt Chapman (Blue Jays), Ramon Urias (Orioles), Jose Ramirez (Guardians) NL Left Field: Ian Happ (Cubs), David Peralta (Diamondbacks), Christian Yelich (Brewers). AL Left Field: Andrew Benintendi (Royals/Yankees), Steven Kwan (Guardians), Brandon Marsh (Angels) Yelich has one Gold Glove award to his name. It came in his first full big-league season with the Marlins in 2014. Could number two be coming to him soon? NL Center Field: Trent Grisham (Padres), Victor Robles (Nationals), Alek Thomas (Diamondbacks) AL Center Field: Cedric Mullins (Orioles), Myles Straw (Guardians), Michael A. Taylor (Royals) Did the Brewers really trade Trent Grisham because he made an error? Do we need to revisit that trade and why the Brewers made it? Much ado about nothing? NL Right Field: Mookie Betts (Dodgers), Juan Soto (Nationals/Padres), Daulton Varsho (Diamondbacks) AL Right Field: Jackie Bradley Jr.(Red Sox/Blue Jays), Max Kepler (Twins), Kyle Tucker (Astros). The Brewers got plenty of power from Hunter Renfroe, but probably not as much defense. Wisconsin native, Daulton Varsho also recognized. In addition, the Minnesota Twins named Varsho the Dick Siebert Award winner as Upper Midwest Player of the Year in 2022. Speaking of... NL Utility: Brendan Donovan (Cardinals), Tommy Edman (Cardinals), Daulton Varsho (Diamondbacks) AL Utility: DJ LeMahieu (Yankees), Whit Merrifield (Royals/Blue Jays), Luis Rengifo (Angels) There you have it. The finalists for 2022 Gold Glove Awards. Only Corbin Burnes and Christian Yelich were finalists for the Brewers. How do you feel about that? Should others have been finalists? Should those two have been finalists? Share your thoughts below. View full article
  9. Milwaukee has 18 players in various stages of the arbitration process. The positive is that the club can keep each guy for 2023 if they choose. The negative side comes from the team having to pay increases to each - some sizable raises - even if they disagree with the player's value. The MLB Trade Rumors site breaks down the projected arbitration numbers for each player, usually with considerable accuracy. If each arbitration figure for the Brewers came to fruition by MLB Trade Rumors' projections, it would add $33-$34 million to Milwaukee's payroll in 2023. Let's quickly go through each player and their projected salary, grouping them by the years they have left in arbitration. For each player, we'll try to determine if they will 1) Settle on a one-year contract, 2) Sign a multi-year contract, 3) Be traded before accepting a deal, or 4) Be non-tendered, meaning they become a free agent. *NOTE: The Brewers rarely ever go to an arbitration hearing (Adrian Houser was an exception last year), so we will leave that off the table.* LAST YEAR OF ARBITRATION Victor Caratini (projection = $2.8 million): Sign one-year contract around $2.6 million This would be a $650,000 raise for an average catcher who hit .199 last season. With Omar Narvaez a free agent, it makes sense to keep Caratini for one year and keep options open for a young guy in 2024. Luis Perdomo (projection = $1 million): Sign one-year contract around $750,000 He was under a two-year contract, mostly rehabbing in 2021. He pitched well in many outings, and the Brewers need bullpen arms at lower, set costs. Hunter Renfroe (projection = $11.2 million): Sign one-year contract around $11 million Highest OPS+ (126) on the team, but with multiple top outfield prospects ready, no need for multiple years. A $3.4 million raise might be on the low end, and the Brewers could be willing to make an even $4 million increase to $11.6 million (though you can't rule out a trade at that cost). Brent Suter (projection = $3.1 million): Non-tender The Brewers won't value him at $3 million with worse numbers in 2022, so they should move on. At 33 years old, Suter could try to get a cheaper two-year contract. TWO YEARS OF ARBITRATION REMAINING Willy Adames (projection = $9.2 million): Sign four-year contract around $52 million Locking up a 27-year-old shortstop with a big offensive ceiling and high defensive ratings is extremely valuable. Adames' decision would come down to gambling on himself, but he would still be a free agent by his age-31 season. Corbin Burnes (projection = $11.4 million): Sign one-year contract around $12.5 million It's not exciting, but this is the most likely result for this season, as short of a mega-deal, Burnes has little incentive to do anything more than one year. The Brewers keep their options open and know they control Burnes' future - either in Milwaukee or in trade elsewhere. Matt Bush (projection = $1.2 million): Sign one-year contract around $900,000 His struggles at the end of the season should sink his cost some. Bush has shown great stuff, so Milwaukee would probably be happy paying a bit more to avoid a hearing. Trevor Gott (projection = $1.4 million): Non-tender Gott has an intriguing arm, but not reliable enough to pay almost $1.5 million. They could easily reach a cheap agreement after the non-tender if Gott likes his chances in Milwaukee. Jandel Gustave (projection = $900,000): Non-tender A below-average, 30-year-old reliever isn't getting nearly $1 million from the Brewers. Milwaukee will find two younger arms with the same cost and more upside. Adrian Houser (projection = $3.6 million): Trade before agreeing to a contract The relationship may have been fractured after his arbitration hearing last season. Teams are always looking for relatively cheap starters, and the Brewers could fill a need (or net a prospect) for a guy not in the long-term plans. Eric Lauer (projection = $5.2 million): Sign two-year contract around $12 million A talented but up-and-down hurler, Milwaukee can play the middle for the next two years. Guaranteeing himself $10 million, Lauer can worry about setting himself up for a big contract after 2024. Rowdy Tellez (projection = $5.3 million): Sign one-year contract around $4.5 million The projection seems to overvalue Tellez's 35 HR while ignoring his deficiencies. Milwaukee will give him a shot to break out with the "shift ban" coming while also being trade bait later in the offseason. Brandon Woodruff (projection = $11 million): Sign three-year contract around $45 million Entering his age-30 season, Woodruff should be open to a multi-year deal. Perhaps he would want more per season, but it buys out just one year of free agency. THREE YEARS OF ARBITRATION REMAINING Mike Brosseau (projection = $1.2 million): Sign one-year contract around $1.2 million The Brewers still need quality bats against left-handed pitchers, and Brosseau provides one. Brosseau posted a 0.6 fWAR in 160 plate appearances, which is good value for a part-time guy. Keston Hiura (projection = $2 million): Trade before agreeing to a contract It's difficult to see the Brewers giving Hiura a shot at full-time work, so a trade makes the most sense. Is there a team who values Hiura enough to inspire Milwaukee? Maybe he's a piece of a more significant deal. Hoby Milner (projection = $1.1 million): Sign one-year contract around $1 million Milner had a breakout season, gave manager Craig Counsell a weapon vs. lefties, and allowed just five of 37 inherited runners to score. Going year to year limits risk for the Brewers, though Milner could take a two-year deal at $1 million per season. Luis Urias (projection = $4.3 million): Sign one-year contract around $4.1 million Despite a perceived down year, Urias had the fourth-best fWAR on the club (2.3). The Brewers believe in Urias' talent and expect big things in the next couple of seasons. Devin Williams (projection = $3.2 million): Sign one-year contract around $3.5 million As they did with Josh Hader, the Brewers likely go year-to-year with Williams as the "closer." Reliever performance can fluctuate annually, so the safe play is to pay per season. These "predictions" lead to about the same payroll as if each arbitration projection turns out to be accurate and accepted. But by non-tendering a few players and offering more significant deals through contract extensions, Milwaukee can prioritize its best talent. However, President of Baseball Operations David Stearns will have many options to manipulate the Brewers 2023 roster into a World Series contender. Will there be more trades? Will the Brewers shy away from multi-year deals? Let us know what you think will happen - or what you hope will happen with these 18 players in arbitration.
  10. Keep up with which Brewers, if any, are named 2022 Rawlings Gold Glove finalists. The finalists are being announced by Rawlings, approximately 5 minutes apart, so this article will be updated over the next hour. So check back often. Here are the finalists: NL Pitchers: Tyler Anderson (Dodgers), Corbin Burnes (Brewers), Max Fried (Braves) AL Pitchers: Jose Berrios (Blue Jays), Shane Bieber (Guardians), Jameson Taillon (Yankees) Corbin Burnes has become one of the game's best pitchers. He's been an All Star the past two seasons. He's won a Cy Young Award. Does he field his position well too? Well... Well enough to be named a finalist today! NL Catchers: Travis d'Arnaud (Braves), Tomas Nido (Mets), JT Realmuto (Phillies) AL Catchers: Sean Murphy (A's), Cal Raleigh (Mariners), Jose Trevino (Yankees) NL First Base: Paul Goldschmidt (Cardinals), Matt Olson (Braves), Christian Walker (Diamondbacks) AL First Base: Luis Arraez (Twins), Vladimir Guerrero Jr.(Blue Jays), Anthony Rizzo (Yankees). Anyone surprised that Rowdy Tellez wasn't a finalist? NL Second Base: Jake Cronenworth (Padres), Tommy Edman (Cardinals), Brendan Rodgers (Rockies) AL Second Base: Andres Gimenez (Guardians), Jonathan Schoop (Tigers), Marcus Semien (Rangers) Nope, Kolten Wong was not named a finalist. Should we be surprised? Jonathan Schoop has always been a solid defensive player, at least when he has played second base. The former Brewers' defense has been acknowledged as a Gold Glove finalist. NL Shortstop: Ha-Seong Kim (Padres), Miguel Rojas (Marlins), Dansby Swanson (Braves) AL Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox), Carlos Correa (Twins), Jeremy Pena (Astros) No Willy Adames either. NL Third Base: Nolan Arenado (Cardinals), Ke'Bryan Hayes (Pirates), Ryan McMahon (Rockies) AL Third Base: Matt Chapman (Blue Jays), Ramon Urias (Orioles), Jose Ramirez (Guardians) NL Left Field: Ian Happ (Cubs), David Peralta (Diamondbacks), Christian Yelich (Brewers). AL Left Field: Andrew Benintendi (Royals/Yankees), Steven Kwan (Guardians), Brandon Marsh (Angels) Yelich has one Gold Glove award to his name. It came in his first full big-league season with the Marlins in 2014. Could number two be coming to him soon? NL Center Field: Trent Grisham (Padres), Victor Robles (Nationals), Alek Thomas (Diamondbacks) AL Center Field: Cedric Mullins (Orioles), Myles Straw (Guardians), Michael A. Taylor (Royals) Did the Brewers really trade Trent Grisham because he made an error? Do we need to revisit that trade and why the Brewers made it? Much ado about nothing? NL Right Field: Mookie Betts (Dodgers), Juan Soto (Nationals/Padres), Daulton Varsho (Diamondbacks) AL Right Field: Jackie Bradley Jr.(Red Sox/Blue Jays), Max Kepler (Twins), Kyle Tucker (Astros). The Brewers got plenty of power from Hunter Renfroe, but probably not as much defense. Wisconsin native, Daulton Varsho also recognized. In addition, the Minnesota Twins named Varsho the Dick Siebert Award winner as Upper Midwest Player of the Year in 2022. Speaking of... NL Utility: Brendan Donovan (Cardinals), Tommy Edman (Cardinals), Daulton Varsho (Diamondbacks) AL Utility: DJ LeMahieu (Yankees), Whit Merrifield (Royals/Blue Jays), Luis Rengifo (Angels) There you have it. The finalists for 2022 Gold Glove Awards. Only Corbin Burnes and Christian Yelich were finalists for the Brewers. How do you feel about that? Should others have been finalists? Should those two have been finalists? Share your thoughts below.
  11. The good news is that the Brewers are good. The bad news is that the clock is ticking on the Brewers' competitive window. That much is crystal clear when looking at the Brewers' rotation's payroll situation for 2023, even at a back-of-the-napkin level. Image courtesy of © Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports A mid-market MLB team's competitive window is highly dependent on the timing of their team control over impactful players. After accumulating six full years of service time, players become free agents, and the core of a winning team can crumble. In the Brewers' case, that potential deadline becomes clear as we look deeper into the salaries of the Brewers' starting rotation. This is Part 3 of a series of stories detailing the payroll situation for the Milwaukee Brewers at a back-of-the-napkin level. Previously, we looked at the total salaries of the infielders and outfielders and came up with a $74M commitment for next year. Today we add at starting pitching. Corbin Burnes made $6.5M last year in his first year in arbitration. This is only his second arbitration year (of three), meaning the team can keep him around through 2024 – provided they're willing to give him some pretty significant raises. That includes a boost to the $10-11M range next year. The team is equally fortunate to control Brandon Woodruff for two more years with all the same caveats. He's one of those lucky players who gets four years of arbitration, but the Brewers have used two of them, and he'll also likely reach around $10M next year in salary. Freddy Peralta would be in the same boat as Burnes and Woodruff with two more years of arbitration left, but he signed a guaranteed contract extension in 2020. That means the Brewers are only paying him $3.5M next year and can keep him under team control through 2026 at very reasonable salaries. Add Eric Lauer to the list of starting pitchers to whom the Brewers can offer arbitration for two more years. But because he hasn't been as effective, he's going to be quite a bit cheaper, closer to $5M for 2023. And believe it or not, there is one more. Adrian Houser will also qualify for arbitration for two more years. Last year, he lost his arbitration case and received a contract for about $2.4M. I don't know that it's a slam dunk that they offer a 29-year-old groundball pitcher with a 4.73 ERA arbitration. But I think they will, and they can expect to pay him about 3.5M or so. So four of the five pitchers, including the two aces, will be free agents following the 2024 season. In addition, our look at the Brewers' infield payroll showed that 2024 is also the year after which Willy Adames and Rowdy Tellez will become free agents. That sure feels like the end of a competitive window. As we look at what the team might do to bolster itself for 2023, it's worth remembering that the core of the team could have a sudden and massive exodus in one or two years. Plugging those numbers into our spreadsheet, the team looks like this for 2023: We've topped the $100M mark and still haven't touched the rebuilt bullpen. Next, we'll see if Josh Hader's departure provides the team some salary space for other free agent signings. See any omissions or any issues with the numbers? I'd love to hear them. Just throw them or your reactions in the comments below. View full article
  12. A mid-market MLB team's competitive window is highly dependent on the timing of their team control over impactful players. After accumulating six full years of service time, players become free agents, and the core of a winning team can crumble. In the Brewers' case, that potential deadline becomes clear as we look deeper into the salaries of the Brewers' starting rotation. This is Part 3 of a series of stories detailing the payroll situation for the Milwaukee Brewers at a back-of-the-napkin level. Previously, we looked at the total salaries of the infielders and outfielders and came up with a $74M commitment for next year. Today we add at starting pitching. Corbin Burnes made $6.5M last year in his first year in arbitration. This is only his second arbitration year (of three), meaning the team can keep him around through 2024 – provided they're willing to give him some pretty significant raises. That includes a boost to the $10-11M range next year. The team is equally fortunate to control Brandon Woodruff for two more years with all the same caveats. He's one of those lucky players who gets four years of arbitration, but the Brewers have used two of them, and he'll also likely reach around $10M next year in salary. Freddy Peralta would be in the same boat as Burnes and Woodruff with two more years of arbitration left, but he signed a guaranteed contract extension in 2020. That means the Brewers are only paying him $3.5M next year and can keep him under team control through 2026 at very reasonable salaries. Add Eric Lauer to the list of starting pitchers to whom the Brewers can offer arbitration for two more years. But because he hasn't been as effective, he's going to be quite a bit cheaper, closer to $5M for 2023. And believe it or not, there is one more. Adrian Houser will also qualify for arbitration for two more years. Last year, he lost his arbitration case and received a contract for about $2.4M. I don't know that it's a slam dunk that they offer a 29-year-old groundball pitcher with a 4.73 ERA arbitration. But I think they will, and they can expect to pay him about 3.5M or so. So four of the five pitchers, including the two aces, will be free agents following the 2024 season. In addition, our look at the Brewers' infield payroll showed that 2024 is also the year after which Willy Adames and Rowdy Tellez will become free agents. That sure feels like the end of a competitive window. As we look at what the team might do to bolster itself for 2023, it's worth remembering that the core of the team could have a sudden and massive exodus in one or two years. Plugging those numbers into our spreadsheet, the team looks like this for 2023: We've topped the $100M mark and still haven't touched the rebuilt bullpen. Next, we'll see if Josh Hader's departure provides the team some salary space for other free agent signings. See any omissions or any issues with the numbers? I'd love to hear them. Just throw them or your reactions in the comments below.
  13. Even with a disappointing end to the 2022 season, the Brewers still received a incredible effort from their everyday shortstop. Congrats to Willy Adames on being named our MVP for the 2022 season! With how the Brewers season concluded, even the most optimistic fans may have a hard time picking out bright spots from the 2022 season. Through the ups and downs of the season, one player performed admirably, doing so with a smile the entire time. That player is our choice for Brewer Fanatic 2022 MVP, Willy Adames. Adames’ 2022 season stats: .238 AVG / .298 OBP / .458 SLG / in 617 PA’s, 31 HR, 98 RBI, 4.7 fWAR In a season where the Brewers saw numerous injury stints from their position players, Adames played in 139 games, providing the Brewers with some much-needed consistency in the infield. Though Adames didn’t put up the exact offensive numbers many may have hoped, he still found ways to be productive, whether it was providing elite defense up the middle, or coming up with clutch home runs to keep the Brewers in the hunt. It might be hard to believe that Adames, who only hit .238, with a sub .300 on-base percentage was the Brewers most valuable player this year. While that may be a testament to the Brewers top-to-bottom offensive mediocrity, Adames certainly deserves some credit. His 31 home runs are the most by a Brewers shortstop in a single season, while his 98 RBI ranks second in the same category. That kind of power isn’t something Brewers fans should take for granted, especially from a shortstop. As mentioned earlier, a good chunk of Adames’ value came from his defense. His 10 Outs Above Average (OAA) ranked seventh among all MLB shortstops, and placed him in the top 20 of all qualified major leaguers. Not only was OAA a fan of Adames defensively, but other metrics such as UZR and Defensive WAR rated Adames highly as well, ranking in the top 20 in both. Depending on who you ask, MVP awards have certain other intangibles. If you were to argue for an intangible in Adames’ case, his clubhouse leadership is worth mentioning. It’s no question Adames has been the heart and soul in the Brewers clubhouse for the last year and a half. His commitment to both the team and fanbase has certainly benefited the Brewers in more than one way. Runner Up: Corbin Burnes, SP Burnes’ 2022 stats: 202 IP / 2.98 ERA / 0.965 WHIP, in 33 games, 12 wins, 243 S, 4.1 bWAR Corbin Burnes was brilliant once again in 2022. Though he likely won’t be taking home the NL Cy Young this year, Burnes solidified himself as one of the game's top pitchers in 2022. If you want to read more about Burnes masterful season, check out The Brewer Fanatic 2022 Awards: Pitcher of the Year Others Receiving votes: Hunter Renfroe, Rowdy Tellez, Jace Peterson, Kolten Wong, Christian Yelich While there were others receiving votes, none came close to the total Adames and Burnes amassed. Hitters like Hunter Renfroe and Kolten Wong both turned in above-average seasons at the plate, yet struggled defensively. Both Yelich and Tellez were plagued by inconsistency both offensively and defensively, while Jace Peterson received votes due to his excellent work as a utility man. What did you think of the contributions of the players mentioned above? Did the voters get it right? Your comments are always welcome! View full article
  14. With how the Brewers season concluded, even the most optimistic fans may have a hard time picking out bright spots from the 2022 season. Through the ups and downs of the season, one player performed admirably, doing so with a smile the entire time. That player is our choice for Brewer Fanatic 2022 MVP, Willy Adames. Adames’ 2022 season stats: .238 AVG / .298 OBP / .458 SLG / in 617 PA’s, 31 HR, 98 RBI, 4.7 fWAR In a season where the Brewers saw numerous injury stints from their position players, Adames played in 139 games, providing the Brewers with some much-needed consistency in the infield. Though Adames didn’t put up the exact offensive numbers many may have hoped, he still found ways to be productive, whether it was providing elite defense up the middle, or coming up with clutch home runs to keep the Brewers in the hunt. It might be hard to believe that Adames, who only hit .238, with a sub .300 on-base percentage was the Brewers most valuable player this year. While that may be a testament to the Brewers top-to-bottom offensive mediocrity, Adames certainly deserves some credit. His 31 home runs are the most by a Brewers shortstop in a single season, while his 98 RBI ranks second in the same category. That kind of power isn’t something Brewers fans should take for granted, especially from a shortstop. As mentioned earlier, a good chunk of Adames’ value came from his defense. His 10 Outs Above Average (OAA) ranked seventh among all MLB shortstops, and placed him in the top 20 of all qualified major leaguers. Not only was OAA a fan of Adames defensively, but other metrics such as UZR and Defensive WAR rated Adames highly as well, ranking in the top 20 in both. Depending on who you ask, MVP awards have certain other intangibles. If you were to argue for an intangible in Adames’ case, his clubhouse leadership is worth mentioning. It’s no question Adames has been the heart and soul in the Brewers clubhouse for the last year and a half. His commitment to both the team and fanbase has certainly benefited the Brewers in more than one way. Runner Up: Corbin Burnes, SP Burnes’ 2022 stats: 202 IP / 2.98 ERA / 0.965 WHIP, in 33 games, 12 wins, 243 S, 4.1 bWAR Corbin Burnes was brilliant once again in 2022. Though he likely won’t be taking home the NL Cy Young this year, Burnes solidified himself as one of the game's top pitchers in 2022. If you want to read more about Burnes masterful season, check out The Brewer Fanatic 2022 Awards: Pitcher of the Year Others Receiving votes: Hunter Renfroe, Rowdy Tellez, Jace Peterson, Kolten Wong, Christian Yelich While there were others receiving votes, none came close to the total Adames and Burnes amassed. Hitters like Hunter Renfroe and Kolten Wong both turned in above-average seasons at the plate, yet struggled defensively. Both Yelich and Tellez were plagued by inconsistency both offensively and defensively, while Jace Peterson received votes due to his excellent work as a utility man. What did you think of the contributions of the players mentioned above? Did the voters get it right? Your comments are always welcome!
  15. The Milwaukee Brewers Best Rookie and Most Improved, as voted by Brewer Fanatic staff, have been revealed. We find our way once again on the mound where Corbin Burnes follows up his 2021 Cy Young Award-winning season with the 2022 Brewer Fanatic Pitcher of the Year Award. I'm sure it's just as meaningful to the 27-year-old. Before we get into Corbin Burnes’ 2022 season, let’s get into who he beat out in Pitcher of the Year voting, starting with a couple of Honorable Mentions. Honorable Mentions Eric Lauer and Hoby Milner just missed out on the top three. Lauer had a great season, starting the second-most games for the Brewers and having an ERA of 3.69. He surely would have ranked higher if it weren’t for those blow-up starts. Milner was named Brewer Fanatic's Most Improved Player and has previously been discussed in this series of articles (which you should definitely go back and read), but was heavily used. His 67 games pitched was second most on the team. He finished with a 3.72 ERA. Others receiving votes: Josh Hader and Freddy Peralta. 3rd: Devin Williams 6-4, 1.93 ERA, 60 2/3 IP, 14.2 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, 4.6 H/9, 0.3 HR/9 Devin Williams earned his first All-Star appearance in 2022 after struggling with command to start the season. He recovered and went on to be dominant and became the primary closer following Josh Hader’s departure. Things were bumpy, but he still compiled 15 saves (and was charged with two blown saves). Williams struck out 40.0% of batters faced, and had a WHIP of 1.01 to go along with his 2.01 FIP. 2nd: Brandon Woodruff 13-4, 3.05 ERA, 153 1/3 IP, 11.2 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 7.2 H/9, 1.1 HR/9 Despite missing a month due to a well documented injury, Brandon Woodruff went on to be an important contributor and very consistent. After a poor first outing of the season in which he allowed 7 runs across 3.2 innings, Woody would only have 3 other outings where he allowed more than 3. 15 of his 27 games were quality starts, which was second best on the Milwaukee Brewers. Despite his very good numbers, he was let down a little by relievers who came in to clean up any mess, as 9 of his runners which were inherited went on to score. He is the only player besides Burnes to receive a 1st place vote. Expect more good to come! Pitcher of the Year - Corbin Burnes 12-8, 2.94 ERA, 202.0 IP, 10.8 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 6.4 H/9, 1.0 HR/9 A big question mark going into the season was Corbin Burnes’ durability. Even though he had won the 2021 Cy Young Award, he pitched less than 200 innings, one of 17 pitchers to win the award with that (including the COVID-shortened 2020 season, and strike-shortened 1984 season). These concerns were silenced, as he paced the league - along with Gerrit Cole, Nick Pivetta, and Merrill Kelly - with 33 games started and fourth in innings pitched with 202.0 innings. Burnes had a fantastic 21 quality starts, good for eighth across the league and his 243 strikeouts were second, only behind Cole. There were some minor struggles for the Brewers’ ace, but a dominant eight-inning performance against the Miami Marlins on September 30th, resulting in a 1-0 win over fellow Cy Young Award contender Sandy Alcantara cemented his place as best overall pitcher. Your turn... There probably isn't going to be much, if any, argument about the selection of Corbin Burnes as Pitcher of the Year. How would you rank the top three or four Brewers pitchers in 2022? View full article
  16. Before we get into Corbin Burnes’ 2022 season, let’s get into who he beat out in Pitcher of the Year voting, starting with a couple of Honorable Mentions. Honorable Mentions Eric Lauer and Hoby Milner just missed out on the top three. Lauer had a great season, starting the second-most games for the Brewers and having an ERA of 3.69. He surely would have ranked higher if it weren’t for those blow-up starts. Milner was named Brewer Fanatic's Most Improved Player and has previously been discussed in this series of articles (which you should definitely go back and read), but was heavily used. His 67 games pitched was second most on the team. He finished with a 3.72 ERA. Others receiving votes: Josh Hader and Freddy Peralta. 3rd: Devin Williams 6-4, 1.93 ERA, 60 2/3 IP, 14.2 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, 4.6 H/9, 0.3 HR/9 Devin Williams earned his first All-Star appearance in 2022 after struggling with command to start the season. He recovered and went on to be dominant and became the primary closer following Josh Hader’s departure. Things were bumpy, but he still compiled 15 saves (and was charged with two blown saves). Williams struck out 40.0% of batters faced, and had a WHIP of 1.01 to go along with his 2.01 FIP. 2nd: Brandon Woodruff 13-4, 3.05 ERA, 153 1/3 IP, 11.2 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 7.2 H/9, 1.1 HR/9 Despite missing a month due to a well documented injury, Brandon Woodruff went on to be an important contributor and very consistent. After a poor first outing of the season in which he allowed 7 runs across 3.2 innings, Woody would only have 3 other outings where he allowed more than 3. 15 of his 27 games were quality starts, which was second best on the Milwaukee Brewers. Despite his very good numbers, he was let down a little by relievers who came in to clean up any mess, as 9 of his runners which were inherited went on to score. He is the only player besides Burnes to receive a 1st place vote. Expect more good to come! Pitcher of the Year - Corbin Burnes 12-8, 2.94 ERA, 202.0 IP, 10.8 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 6.4 H/9, 1.0 HR/9 A big question mark going into the season was Corbin Burnes’ durability. Even though he had won the 2021 Cy Young Award, he pitched less than 200 innings, one of 17 pitchers to win the award with that (including the COVID-shortened 2020 season, and strike-shortened 1984 season). These concerns were silenced, as he paced the league - along with Gerrit Cole, Nick Pivetta, and Merrill Kelly - with 33 games started and fourth in innings pitched with 202.0 innings. Burnes had a fantastic 21 quality starts, good for eighth across the league and his 243 strikeouts were second, only behind Cole. There were some minor struggles for the Brewers’ ace, but a dominant eight-inning performance against the Miami Marlins on September 30th, resulting in a 1-0 win over fellow Cy Young Award contender Sandy Alcantara cemented his place as best overall pitcher. Your turn... There probably isn't going to be much, if any, argument about the selection of Corbin Burnes as Pitcher of the Year. How would you rank the top three or four Brewers pitchers in 2022?
  17. Corbin Burnes followed up his Cy Young winning season in 2021 by setting career-highs in starts, innings and strikeouts. Burnes posted a sub-three ERA for his third straight year, further establishing himself as one of the most dominant starters in Major League Baseball. View full video
  18. Corbin Burnes followed up his Cy Young winning season in 2021 by setting career-highs in starts, innings and strikeouts. Burnes posted a sub-three ERA for his third straight year, further establishing himself as one of the most dominant starters in Major League Baseball.
  19. Box Score SP: Corbin Burnes: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K (103 pitches, 62 strikes (60.2%)) Home Runs: None Top 3 WPA: Corbin Burnes (0.568), Devin Williams (0.161), Garrett Mitchell (0.38) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Cy Young Matchup Many times when two “Aces” match up, the game winds up being a 13-12 game where neither starter gets through four innings. Friday night’s matchup between a couple of Cy Young candidates was everything you would hope it would be. By “you”, I mean the Brewers fans because it ended in a Brewers win. Marlins starting Sandy Alcantara is the leading candidate for NL Cy Young this year. He was fantastic on this night too. He went all eight innings and gave up just one run on five hits. He walked none and struck out eight batters. With the loss, Alcantara is now 14-9 with a 2.28 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. Corbin Burnes knows a little something about Cy Young Awards. On this night, with the Brewers needing him, he came through and looked like the best pitcher in baseball again. He tossed eight shutout innings and gave up just four hits. He also walked none and struck out seven batters. With the Win, he is now 12-8 with a 2.98 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. In his eight innings, Burnes didn’t allow a runner to reach second base. In six of the innings, he faced three batters. As you can see from his WPA (Win Probability Added), Burnes came through when his team needed him the most. That would be the definition of Clutch. One is Enough There was no score until the bottom of the sixth inning. Garrett Mitchell led off with a single to center field. After one out, Mitchell stole second base. He advanced to third base on a single to left by Willy Adames. Rowdy Tellez came up and drove in the game’s lone run on a sacrifice fly to center. The same situation came up in the bottom of the third inning. Jace Peterson singled, stole second and was sacrificed to third base on a nice bunt by Omar Narvaez. Unfortunately, Mitchell struck out and Christian Yelich grounded out to end the threat. Outside of that, Hunter Renfroe had a two-out double in the fourth inning but was left stranded. Then the team failed to add an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning when Mitchell doubled, but did not advance any further. One Was Barely Enough… Craig Counsell left himself open to second-guessing when he removed Burnes after eight innings and turned to The Airbender, Devin Williams, for the ninth inning. As you know, Williams recorded his 15th Save of the season, but it didn’t come without increasing the heart rates of Brewers fans across and beyond Wisconsin. Lewin Diaz led off with a single. He was pinch run for by Peyton Burdick. Jon Berti then walked. Williams responded by striking out Joey Wendle and Bryan De La Cruz. However, he walked Avisail Garcia to load the bases. With the tying run on third base, Williams came through with a strikeout of Jesus Sanchez on a perfect changeup just below the zone to end the game. "Just keeping it exciting..." What’s Next? The Brewers have two more games at home against the Miami Marlins. On Saturday at 6:10, The Crew will send lefty Aaron Ashby (2-10, 4.50 ERA) to the mound against Edward Cabrera (6-4, 3.15 ERA). The teams will finish their series on Sunday afternoon. Wild Card Scenarios The final two NL Wild Card spots are clearly between three teams, and really, that final spot is likely to come down to the Brewers and the Phillies. But, the Padres have also been very mediocre and left the door open a little bit. Remaining Games Brewers: 2 at home vs Marlins, 3 at home vs Arizona Phillies: 3 at home vs Nationals (DH on Saturday), 3 at Houston Padres: 2 at home vs White Sox, 3 at home vs Giants Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUES WED THU FRI TOT Williams 0 0 25 0 27 52 Strzelecki 0 19 0 22 0 41 Gott 0 31 0 0 0 31 Peralta 0 0 0 31 0 31 Bush 0 0 23 0 0 23 Milner 0 0 21 0 0 21 Boxberger 0 0 17 0 0 17 Suter 0 17 0 0 0 17 Rogers 0 0 16 0 0 16 Topa 0 0 0 9 0 9
  20. Two Cy Young candidates met on Friday night in Milwaukee, and the guy with a Cy Young Award already was just a little better to help the Brewers to a big win to help them keep pace with the Phillies in the Wild Card race. Image courtesy of Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports Box Score SP: Corbin Burnes: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K (103 pitches, 62 strikes (60.2%)) Home Runs: None Top 3 WPA: Corbin Burnes (0.568), Devin Williams (0.161), Garrett Mitchell (0.38) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Cy Young Matchup Many times when two “Aces” match up, the game winds up being a 13-12 game where neither starter gets through four innings. Friday night’s matchup between a couple of Cy Young candidates was everything you would hope it would be. By “you”, I mean the Brewers fans because it ended in a Brewers win. Marlins starting Sandy Alcantara is the leading candidate for NL Cy Young this year. He was fantastic on this night too. He went all eight innings and gave up just one run on five hits. He walked none and struck out eight batters. With the loss, Alcantara is now 14-9 with a 2.28 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. Corbin Burnes knows a little something about Cy Young Awards. On this night, with the Brewers needing him, he came through and looked like the best pitcher in baseball again. He tossed eight shutout innings and gave up just four hits. He also walked none and struck out seven batters. With the Win, he is now 12-8 with a 2.98 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. In his eight innings, Burnes didn’t allow a runner to reach second base. In six of the innings, he faced three batters. As you can see from his WPA (Win Probability Added), Burnes came through when his team needed him the most. That would be the definition of Clutch. One is Enough There was no score until the bottom of the sixth inning. Garrett Mitchell led off with a single to center field. After one out, Mitchell stole second base. He advanced to third base on a single to left by Willy Adames. Rowdy Tellez came up and drove in the game’s lone run on a sacrifice fly to center. The same situation came up in the bottom of the third inning. Jace Peterson singled, stole second and was sacrificed to third base on a nice bunt by Omar Narvaez. Unfortunately, Mitchell struck out and Christian Yelich grounded out to end the threat. Outside of that, Hunter Renfroe had a two-out double in the fourth inning but was left stranded. Then the team failed to add an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning when Mitchell doubled, but did not advance any further. One Was Barely Enough… Craig Counsell left himself open to second-guessing when he removed Burnes after eight innings and turned to The Airbender, Devin Williams, for the ninth inning. As you know, Williams recorded his 15th Save of the season, but it didn’t come without increasing the heart rates of Brewers fans across and beyond Wisconsin. Lewin Diaz led off with a single. He was pinch run for by Peyton Burdick. Jon Berti then walked. Williams responded by striking out Joey Wendle and Bryan De La Cruz. However, he walked Avisail Garcia to load the bases. With the tying run on third base, Williams came through with a strikeout of Jesus Sanchez on a perfect changeup just below the zone to end the game. "Just keeping it exciting..." What’s Next? The Brewers have two more games at home against the Miami Marlins. On Saturday at 6:10, The Crew will send lefty Aaron Ashby (2-10, 4.50 ERA) to the mound against Edward Cabrera (6-4, 3.15 ERA). The teams will finish their series on Sunday afternoon. Wild Card Scenarios The final two NL Wild Card spots are clearly between three teams, and really, that final spot is likely to come down to the Brewers and the Phillies. But, the Padres have also been very mediocre and left the door open a little bit. Remaining Games Brewers: 2 at home vs Marlins, 3 at home vs Arizona Phillies: 3 at home vs Nationals (DH on Saturday), 3 at Houston Padres: 2 at home vs White Sox, 3 at home vs Giants Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUES WED THU FRI TOT Williams 0 0 25 0 27 52 Strzelecki 0 19 0 22 0 41 Gott 0 31 0 0 0 31 Peralta 0 0 0 31 0 31 Bush 0 0 23 0 0 23 Milner 0 0 21 0 0 21 Boxberger 0 0 17 0 0 17 Suter 0 17 0 0 0 17 Rogers 0 0 16 0 0 16 Topa 0 0 0 9 0 9 View full article
  21. Box Score SP: Corbin Burnes: 6 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 8 K (102 pitches, 61 strikes (59.8%) Home Runs: Hunter Renfroe 2 (27), Rowdy Tellez (33) Top 3 WPA: Hunter Renfroe (0.328), Corbin Burnes (0.147), Omar Narvaez (0.141) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Hunter Renfroe Provides the Power Things were pretty quiet in the first three innings. The Reds scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the 1st inning on an Alejo Lopez single. In the bottom of the 4th inning, Hunter Renfroe came to bat with Rowdy Tellez on base. He launched his 26th home run of the season to give the Brewers the 2-1 lead. The Crew kept adding on that inning. Omar Narvaez later singled to score Andrew McCutchen, and then Luis Urias scored on a Tyrone Taylor single to make it 4-1. One is terrific but twice is really nice. In the fifth frame, with Rowdy Tellez again on base, Renfroe came to the plate again and hit a second, two-run homer to give the Brewers a 6-1 lead. It was the 27th home run of the year for Renfroe. Both teams went scoreless in the 6th inning. The Reds didn’t score in the top of the 7th and then the Brewers added on. Christian Yelich scored on a Willy Adames double. Soon after, Renfroe drove in his fifth run of the game to score Adames on a single. Renfroe later scored on a single by Urias. Through seven innings, the Brewers held a 9-1 lead. The Reds scored a run in the bottom of the 7th inning. The 8th inning was scoreless for both teams. Rowdy Tellez led off the top of the 9th inning with a solo home run off of position player Alejo Lopez. That brought Renfroe to the plate again. He was 4-for-4 to that point, and of course, the one “pitcher” to get him out was Lopez who started the game at second base. Burnes Comes Through With the Brewers needing to win at least eight of their final 11 games, they really need to be able to rely on Corbin Burnes. It’s fair to say that Burnes wasn’t at his absolute best on Saturday in Cincinnati, but he was certainly good enough on this night. Good enough to earn his 11th win of the year. He struggled with his control a little more than he usually does. His strike percentage was just under 60% He gave up just the four hits, but he also uncharacteristically walked three batters too. However, he worked into the 7th inning and kept the Crew in control. He had eight strikeouts in the game. Bullpen Provides Zero(es) Burnes gave up the first-inning run and then didn’t give up a run until the 7th inning. He left the game with one run in and a runner in scoring position. He was relieved by Trevor Gott who got the next two batters out. Taylor Rogers pitched a scoreless 8th inning before Brent Suter struck out two batters in a perfect 9th inning. That’s got to hurt! Taylor Rogers pitched a scoreless, hitless eighth inning despite a lack of control. Just six of his 16 pitches were strikes. He walked the leadoff batter of the inning on four pitches, but he also hit Reds’ rookie infielder Spencer Steer. It is interesting because the two were teammates and went to spring training together in 2021 and 2022 with the Minnesota Twins. Rogers was traded to the Padres on Opening Day, and of course, the Brewers acquired him from San Diego in the Josh Hader deal. Rogers got the opportunity in a low-leverage situation. In his previous outing, he gave up four runs on one hit and three walks in just 2/3 of an inning. And before that, he gave up a run on two hits in one inning against the Yankees. However, in his previous four appearances, he worked four scoreless, hitless, walkless innings that included eight strikeouts. It has certainly been a roller coaster season for Rogers. What’s Next? The Brewers will play their final road game of the season on Sunday afternoon when they take on the Reds one more time. Freddy Peralta will come off of the Injured List to try to keep the team’s hopes alive for a playoff berth. He is 4-3 with a 3.45 ERA. The Reds will counter with former first-round pick Nick Lodolo who is 4-7 with a 3.90 ERA. Game time is 12:40 central time. Wild Card Update The Brewers won. The Padres beat the Rockies 9-3. The Phillies lost to Kyle Wright and the Braves 6-3. The Brewers made up one game on the Phillies. Postgame Interviews
  22. Needing to win as many games as possible over their final 11 games, the Brewers got a 9-2 win in Cincinnati on Saturday. Image courtesy of David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports Box Score SP: Corbin Burnes: 6 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 8 K (102 pitches, 61 strikes (59.8%) Home Runs: Hunter Renfroe 2 (27), Rowdy Tellez (33) Top 3 WPA: Hunter Renfroe (0.328), Corbin Burnes (0.147), Omar Narvaez (0.141) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Hunter Renfroe Provides the Power Things were pretty quiet in the first three innings. The Reds scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the 1st inning on an Alejo Lopez single. In the bottom of the 4th inning, Hunter Renfroe came to bat with Rowdy Tellez on base. He launched his 26th home run of the season to give the Brewers the 2-1 lead. The Crew kept adding on that inning. Omar Narvaez later singled to score Andrew McCutchen, and then Luis Urias scored on a Tyrone Taylor single to make it 4-1. One is terrific but twice is really nice. In the fifth frame, with Rowdy Tellez again on base, Renfroe came to the plate again and hit a second, two-run homer to give the Brewers a 6-1 lead. It was the 27th home run of the year for Renfroe. Both teams went scoreless in the 6th inning. The Reds didn’t score in the top of the 7th and then the Brewers added on. Christian Yelich scored on a Willy Adames double. Soon after, Renfroe drove in his fifth run of the game to score Adames on a single. Renfroe later scored on a single by Urias. Through seven innings, the Brewers held a 9-1 lead. The Reds scored a run in the bottom of the 7th inning. The 8th inning was scoreless for both teams. Rowdy Tellez led off the top of the 9th inning with a solo home run off of position player Alejo Lopez. That brought Renfroe to the plate again. He was 4-for-4 to that point, and of course, the one “pitcher” to get him out was Lopez who started the game at second base. Burnes Comes Through With the Brewers needing to win at least eight of their final 11 games, they really need to be able to rely on Corbin Burnes. It’s fair to say that Burnes wasn’t at his absolute best on Saturday in Cincinnati, but he was certainly good enough on this night. Good enough to earn his 11th win of the year. He struggled with his control a little more than he usually does. His strike percentage was just under 60% He gave up just the four hits, but he also uncharacteristically walked three batters too. However, he worked into the 7th inning and kept the Crew in control. He had eight strikeouts in the game. Bullpen Provides Zero(es) Burnes gave up the first-inning run and then didn’t give up a run until the 7th inning. He left the game with one run in and a runner in scoring position. He was relieved by Trevor Gott who got the next two batters out. Taylor Rogers pitched a scoreless 8th inning before Brent Suter struck out two batters in a perfect 9th inning. That’s got to hurt! Taylor Rogers pitched a scoreless, hitless eighth inning despite a lack of control. Just six of his 16 pitches were strikes. He walked the leadoff batter of the inning on four pitches, but he also hit Reds’ rookie infielder Spencer Steer. It is interesting because the two were teammates and went to spring training together in 2021 and 2022 with the Minnesota Twins. Rogers was traded to the Padres on Opening Day, and of course, the Brewers acquired him from San Diego in the Josh Hader deal. Rogers got the opportunity in a low-leverage situation. In his previous outing, he gave up four runs on one hit and three walks in just 2/3 of an inning. And before that, he gave up a run on two hits in one inning against the Yankees. However, in his previous four appearances, he worked four scoreless, hitless, walkless innings that included eight strikeouts. It has certainly been a roller coaster season for Rogers. What’s Next? The Brewers will play their final road game of the season on Sunday afternoon when they take on the Reds one more time. Freddy Peralta will come off of the Injured List to try to keep the team’s hopes alive for a playoff berth. He is 4-3 with a 3.45 ERA. The Reds will counter with former first-round pick Nick Lodolo who is 4-7 with a 3.90 ERA. Game time is 12:40 central time. Wild Card Update The Brewers won. The Padres beat the Rockies 9-3. The Phillies lost to Kyle Wright and the Braves 6-3. The Brewers made up one game on the Phillies. Postgame Interviews View full article
  23. While the Milwaukee Brewers' offense has flaws and can frustrate the fans on any given night, the pitching has been the bigger problem. More specifically, the group of men expected to dominate opponents this year has come up short. From a pure run-scoring perspective, the Brewers' offense is essentially the same as last year. In 2021, Milwaukee scored 4.56 runs/game compared to 4.55 this season. However, the run-scoring environment in MLB is tougher in 2022, so the Brewers rank eighth in runs this season versus 12th last year. You can point to various issues with the offense and the number of games they score fewer than three runs, but overall it's hard to complain about a top-10 offense in baseball. Turning to the pitching staff and many may be surprised by the mediocre numbers. The club's 3.87 team ERA is right in the middle of MLB pitching. While ERA doesn't tell the whole story, it says a lot that Milwaukee ranked third last season in ERA at 3.50 overall. For a team that's championship aspirations are built on dominating hurlers, a dip from third to 14th in ERA is devastating. Where has it gone wrong? The first thought likely turns to the bullpen, where things have seemingly been more tumultuous than usual. Devin Williams got off to a terrible start, Brent Suter was below average most of the first half, and Brad Boxberger has looked worn down for much of the last couple of months. Throw in the usual spate of injuries, the shocking trade of Josh Hader (who was already scuffling), and the predictable issues of many others, and one would believe the relievers are the main problem. Without diving into advanced statistics, the numbers say otherwise. This simple look at the bullpen basically puts them in the same range as last season. Part of it stems from manager Craig Counsell and his strategies to limit the use of his best relievers in low leverage situations. Perhaps the back end of the bullpen has been slightly less reliable this season, but it could also be that they have been put in too many tight spots to hold up. Some of that is a lack of run-scoring, but it also falls on the starting rotation to give the relievers some breathing room. Milwaukee's starters have been the more significant problem - and it's not close. Led by Cy Young hurler Corbin Burnes, the rotation was expected to be among the best in baseball once again. It hasn't gone so well. It's quite shocking to see the stats next to each other from the past two seasons. If we people told us the Brewers' starters would be a middle-of-the-pack unit in 2022, most would have felt fortunate if Milwaukee was even in the hunt for a postseason berth. The St. Louis Cardinals might be tough to catch at this point, but that doesn't mean the season's over. With a month to play and the Wild Card still easily in sight, a spot in the postseason will come down to better, more consistent starting pitching. With essentially the same rotation as last season, the drop in performance lies mainly with those returning arms and some areas they struggled in. Now, when you scroll through these five pitchers and compare their ERAs from this year to last year, keep one thing in mind: the league-wide ERA is 0.28 lower this season than it was in 2021. So as disappointing as the ERA spikes have been, the drop in production is even more dismal than the raw stats show. CORBIN BURNES - 2.84 ERA (2.43 in 2021) The reigning Cy Young is allowing the highest fly ball percentage (FB%) in his career (36.5%). Opponents also have their best hard-hit percentage against Burnes since his disastrous 2019 campaign. Putting those two pieces together has played a prominent role in Burnes' disturbing trend of giving up gopher balls. Last year, Burnes allowed seven home runs for the entire season. With a month to go, he has already given up 19 dingers in 2022. BRANDON WOODRUFF - 3.31 ERA (2.56 in 2021) Woody has been terrific since returning from injury. However, when he has struggled, it has been due to walks. Woodruff owns a 7.2% walk rate (BB%), the highest in a season since 2018 for the righty. In each of the previous three seasons, he has finished with a 6.1 BB%. Allowing more bases runners and driving up his pitch count has led to the worse ERA and throwing the fewest amount of innings per start since 2018. ERIC LAUER - 3.58 ERA (3.19 in 2021) After getting off to a Cy Young-worthy start to the season, Lauer quickly fell back to Earth and has been about the same as last year. His biggest issue, like Burnes, has been the home run ball. Among qualified pitchers in MLB, Lauer has the highest home run per nine innings rate at 1.7 HR/9. With his BB% up and his K% down from last season, the long ball has taken a greater toll and dinged his ERA even more than in 2022. ADRIAN HOUSER - 5.15 ERA (3.22 in 2021) Houser has looked the worst of the five typical starters, even before his injury and one start upon return. His 5.15 ERA this season is driven by allowing the highest percentage of line drives and fly balls since becoming a regular starter. As a pitcher who relies heavily on getting ground balls with his sinker, when opponents get more balls in the air, they tend to be hit well and cause plenty of damage. FREDDY PERALTA - 3.56 (2.81 in 2021) Fastball Freddy has only thrown 68.1 frames due to time on the IL with a strained right lat. However, it also sticks out that his strikeout percentage (K%) is easily the worst of his career. At 26.9%, his K% is five percent below his career mark. It's difficult to fairly evaluate Peralta having had so much time off, but the dip in strikeouts during his brief time has taken away from his potential dominance. As you can see, the starters haven't been able to keep up the near-historic performances they displayed in 2022. While many of the numbers are still solid or respectable, the dip impacts the outcomes of games. Especially, as noted earlier, when it comes to the pressure on the relievers to be almost perfect on a nightly basis. Instead of handing the bullpen a 4-1 lead in the seventh inning this year, it's more likely a 4-4 game or 4-3 where the relievers have little-to-no margin for error. As much as people (like me) complained about President of Baseball Operations David Stearns's inability to acquire a bat at the trade deadline, maybe a starting pitcher would have been more valuable. That is a moot point now. Ultimately, this is the group that has to put up or shut up. Because baseball has so many individualized aspects to it, people often forget it is a team sport where each performance and action impacts others on the club. Indeed, the offense could find a hot streak to carry the team down the stretch, or the bullpen could become a lockdown beast for a month. However, if the Brewers are going to find their way deep into October, keep an eye on the starting pitchers, as they will set the tone for everything going forward. View full article
  24. From a pure run-scoring perspective, the Brewers' offense is essentially the same as last year. In 2021, Milwaukee scored 4.56 runs/game compared to 4.55 this season. However, the run-scoring environment in MLB is tougher in 2022, so the Brewers rank eighth in runs this season versus 12th last year. You can point to various issues with the offense and the number of games they score fewer than three runs, but overall it's hard to complain about a top-10 offense in baseball. Turning to the pitching staff and many may be surprised by the mediocre numbers. The club's 3.87 team ERA is right in the middle of MLB pitching. While ERA doesn't tell the whole story, it says a lot that Milwaukee ranked third last season in ERA at 3.50 overall. For a team that's championship aspirations are built on dominating hurlers, a dip from third to 14th in ERA is devastating. Where has it gone wrong? The first thought likely turns to the bullpen, where things have seemingly been more tumultuous than usual. Devin Williams got off to a terrible start, Brent Suter was below average most of the first half, and Brad Boxberger has looked worn down for much of the last couple of months. Throw in the usual spate of injuries, the shocking trade of Josh Hader (who was already scuffling), and the predictable issues of many others, and one would believe the relievers are the main problem. Without diving into advanced statistics, the numbers say otherwise. This simple look at the bullpen basically puts them in the same range as last season. Part of it stems from manager Craig Counsell and his strategies to limit the use of his best relievers in low leverage situations. Perhaps the back end of the bullpen has been slightly less reliable this season, but it could also be that they have been put in too many tight spots to hold up. Some of that is a lack of run-scoring, but it also falls on the starting rotation to give the relievers some breathing room. Milwaukee's starters have been the more significant problem - and it's not close. Led by Cy Young hurler Corbin Burnes, the rotation was expected to be among the best in baseball once again. It hasn't gone so well. It's quite shocking to see the stats next to each other from the past two seasons. If we people told us the Brewers' starters would be a middle-of-the-pack unit in 2022, most would have felt fortunate if Milwaukee was even in the hunt for a postseason berth. The St. Louis Cardinals might be tough to catch at this point, but that doesn't mean the season's over. With a month to play and the Wild Card still easily in sight, a spot in the postseason will come down to better, more consistent starting pitching. With essentially the same rotation as last season, the drop in performance lies mainly with those returning arms and some areas they struggled in. Now, when you scroll through these five pitchers and compare their ERAs from this year to last year, keep one thing in mind: the league-wide ERA is 0.28 lower this season than it was in 2021. So as disappointing as the ERA spikes have been, the drop in production is even more dismal than the raw stats show. CORBIN BURNES - 2.84 ERA (2.43 in 2021) The reigning Cy Young is allowing the highest fly ball percentage (FB%) in his career (36.5%). Opponents also have their best hard-hit percentage against Burnes since his disastrous 2019 campaign. Putting those two pieces together has played a prominent role in Burnes' disturbing trend of giving up gopher balls. Last year, Burnes allowed seven home runs for the entire season. With a month to go, he has already given up 19 dingers in 2022. BRANDON WOODRUFF - 3.31 ERA (2.56 in 2021) Woody has been terrific since returning from injury. However, when he has struggled, it has been due to walks. Woodruff owns a 7.2% walk rate (BB%), the highest in a season since 2018 for the righty. In each of the previous three seasons, he has finished with a 6.1 BB%. Allowing more bases runners and driving up his pitch count has led to the worse ERA and throwing the fewest amount of innings per start since 2018. ERIC LAUER - 3.58 ERA (3.19 in 2021) After getting off to a Cy Young-worthy start to the season, Lauer quickly fell back to Earth and has been about the same as last year. His biggest issue, like Burnes, has been the home run ball. Among qualified pitchers in MLB, Lauer has the highest home run per nine innings rate at 1.7 HR/9. With his BB% up and his K% down from last season, the long ball has taken a greater toll and dinged his ERA even more than in 2022. ADRIAN HOUSER - 5.15 ERA (3.22 in 2021) Houser has looked the worst of the five typical starters, even before his injury and one start upon return. His 5.15 ERA this season is driven by allowing the highest percentage of line drives and fly balls since becoming a regular starter. As a pitcher who relies heavily on getting ground balls with his sinker, when opponents get more balls in the air, they tend to be hit well and cause plenty of damage. FREDDY PERALTA - 3.56 (2.81 in 2021) Fastball Freddy has only thrown 68.1 frames due to time on the IL with a strained right lat. However, it also sticks out that his strikeout percentage (K%) is easily the worst of his career. At 26.9%, his K% is five percent below his career mark. It's difficult to fairly evaluate Peralta having had so much time off, but the dip in strikeouts during his brief time has taken away from his potential dominance. As you can see, the starters haven't been able to keep up the near-historic performances they displayed in 2022. While many of the numbers are still solid or respectable, the dip impacts the outcomes of games. Especially, as noted earlier, when it comes to the pressure on the relievers to be almost perfect on a nightly basis. Instead of handing the bullpen a 4-1 lead in the seventh inning this year, it's more likely a 4-4 game or 4-3 where the relievers have little-to-no margin for error. As much as people (like me) complained about President of Baseball Operations David Stearns's inability to acquire a bat at the trade deadline, maybe a starting pitcher would have been more valuable. That is a moot point now. Ultimately, this is the group that has to put up or shut up. Because baseball has so many individualized aspects to it, people often forget it is a team sport where each performance and action impacts others on the club. Indeed, the offense could find a hot streak to carry the team down the stretch, or the bullpen could become a lockdown beast for a month. However, if the Brewers are going to find their way deep into October, keep an eye on the starting pitchers, as they will set the tone for everything going forward.
  25. I start this week’s column with a clear proposition: the Milwaukee Brewers have a talented pitching staff. I do not want this to be in any way misunderstood. The rotation still has long-term upside: Corbin Burnes is not yet a finished product (imagine that!), while Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta are still working to sort out how to best navigate lineups deep into contests. Adrian Houser has a ceiling as a decent #2, solid #3, advantageous #4 pitcher in a rotation, but hasn’t been able to put all the pieces together yet. The Weekly Dispatch is a column on the Brewers. 'On' may do heavier lifting on some weeks than others. The key players out of the bullpen are also solid to exceptional. Newly-extended Aaron Ashby remains a work in progress, but the Brewers’ faith in his ability to become a consistent force and enter the rotation in the future is not unjustified. Brad Boxberger, while obscenely overused in 2022, remains reliable out of the bullpen. Devin Williams has been given center stage after Josh Hader was inexplicably traded to the Padres for damaged goods and prospects. If it wasn’t obvious before that the Brewers’ front office assumed 2022 would be a facsimile of an all-time franchise best 2021, it is now. Assuming a lack of injury, that the league wouldn’t in some ways catch up to their formidable starters and bullpen, that run prevention would be as effective as it has been, that the stuff would be as crisp as ever, was folly. Not bolstering the offense beyond adding Hunter Renfroe in the offseason, or getting an impact bat or two at any time before the trade deadline only added pressure to a staff that had more than contributed their share to the club’s unprecedented fourth-consecutive postseason appearance. David Stearns and Matt Arnold tried to get blood from turnips, and their patience ran out as evidenced by the Hader trade. And, in some ways, they may have signaled a fatalist approach to a meat grinder 31 games in 31 days. The Brewers’ pitching staff entering play Saturday is second in the National League in hits allowed (864) and third in strikeouts (1043), but tenth in walks and 11th in home runs (365, 126). This talented, vaunted corps musters only a 106 adjusted ERA, falling well short of the 120 achievement from last year’s franchise-best staff. Yes, part of that is missing Peralta and Houser for stretches, Ethan Small’s struggles and needing to rely on Chi Chi Gonzalez to provide meaningful, productive innings, but injuries and regression are both parts of baseball life and it’s exceptionally difficult to meet historic bests in consecutive years. I projected out how this pitching staff may finish the season based on numbers through Friday night: 1456 strikeouts, 1422 hits, 530 walks, 186 home runs and a consistent 106 ERA+. No team in the expansion era has met or exceeded those counting numbers except the 2019 Boston Red Sox. They finished 84-78, third in the American League Central and had the luxury of an offensive core featuring Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. Their adjusted ERA? 104. It should come as no surprise that all the talk from the team about a World Series before and after the All-Star break has abruptly stopped. Further, while the eye test indicates defensive regression, ERA to FIP is relatively flat (3.84, 3.90), while it should also be noted that the SIERA-to-ERA contrast suggests defensive lapses have been a little more impactful (3.65) while being somewhat counterbalanced and perhaps disguised by the gaudy strikeout totals. It’s also possible that the Brewers’ philosophy with their starting pitchers is to actually emphasize pitch to contact, leaning too much on run prevention and the strikeouts are more a reflection of the era, or more bug than feature. The problem is that the Brewers’ three major starters and Ashby are strikeout guys, and asking them to nibble around the edges to induce contact is not the best way to utilize their respective repertoires. This could potentially explain the two-strike struggles Ashby has, as diagnosed excellently earlier this weekend here by Tim Muma, while also generally providing insight as to why impact strikeout guys aren’t getting efficient Ks, triggering shorter starts and overextending the Brewers’ beleaguered, triaged middle relief. Whatever happened to the wipeout pitch? Between an offense that generally struggles with run support and opponents’ seeming knack for driving balls in 2022 they weren’t in ‘21, while also outlasting Brewer pitchers with walks and base knocks, the pitching has no margin for error. Asking for excellence and effort is one thing, asking for perfection – while apparently being content with a deficient, bordering on broken offense – is another. Like getting blood from a turnip. Stathead and Fangraphs were used in informing this article.
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