The Brewers are non-tendering starter Brandon Woodruff, as first reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Right now (X link). Woodruff underwent shoulder surgical procedure in October and is anticipated to overlook the vast majority of the 2024 season.
The harm put Milwaukee in a bind, as Woodruff was additionally coming into his ultimate season of membership management. Given his wonderful observe file and prior salaries, he’d been projected for a hearty $11.6MM wage in arbitration, per MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. There was no possible way for Milwaukee to decrease this previous season’s $10.8MM wage by any significant quantity; arbitration salaries might be lower by a most of 40%, and the Brewers absolutely would’ve needed to go to an arbitration listening to in the event that they sought such a discount. Even when they’d gained that, Woodruff would’ve been set to earn simply shy of $6.5MM in a season the place he isn’t anticipated to pitch a lot — if in any respect.
The Brewers mentioned multi-year preparations with Woodruff and trades with different golf equipment, however neither set of negotiations manifested in a deal. With tonight’s non-tender deadline looming, the Brewers bit the bullet and made what GM Matt Arnold described in a press release as probably the most tough selections of his profession. Stated Arnold:
“Right now we needed to make a really tough choice referring to the most effective pitchers and human beings in franchise historical past. All through his 10 seasons within the group, Brandon Woodruff has represented the Brewers with class, kindness, coronary heart and toughness. He’s acknowledged as an amazing teammate, each on the sector and in the neighborhood, the place he and his spouse, Jonie, have positively impacted so many lives round them. We stay very open to his return to Milwaukee, and no matter what uniform he wears subsequent, Woody will at all times be a member of the Brewers household.”
That the Brewers stay open to some sort of reunion is a key takeaway from Arnold’s feedback, although clearly Woodruff will now be capable to freely negotiate with all 29 different groups. And whereas the potential of a year-long absence from the mound looms massive, the 30-year-old righty’s observe file will certainly draw substantial curiosity — possible on two-year contracts that permit him to rehab with a staff for the primary season earlier than hopefully having fun with a full and wholesome season in yr two.
Since establishing himself on the Brewers’ roster in 2018, Woodruff and teammate Corbin Burnes have shaped a dominant one-two punch atop the Milwaukee rotation. The 6’4″, 240-pound righty has pitched to a mixed 2.98 ERA over 637 1/3 innings in that point, placing out 29.7% of his opponents towards a 6.4% stroll fee. He’s posted a barely below-average ground-ball fee (42.4%) and saved the ball within the yard relatively nicely, significantly contemplating his homer-friendly dwelling environs (0.99 HR/9). Woodruff has generated swinging strikes at a giant 12.7% clip and induced chases on pitches off the plate at a hearty 33.2% fee. Merely put, he’s been the most effective and most underrated starters within the Nationwide League — at the least on a per-inning foundation.
If there’s a knock on Woodruff, it’s been his sturdiness (or lack thereof). He’s by no means topped 179 1/3 innings in a season, has solely made 30 begins on one event and has averaged simply 22 begins per yr over his previous 4 162-game seasons. (Notably, he did begin a league-leading 13 video games in the course of the Covid-shortened 2020 marketing campaign.)
That stated, that is the primary yr of his huge league profession by which Woodruff has had a significant arm harm. His most distinguished different absences had been attributable to indirect and ankle accidents. That didn’t make up for the misplaced time essentially, however it paints a extra favorable long-term outlook than could be the case had a sequence of shoulder and elbow troubles saved him off the sector in recent times and culminated on this current process.
Now that he’s a free agent, Woodruff turns into probably the most intriguing arms in the marketplace — not essentially for the 2024 season however from a longer-term perspective. Any staff would absolutely be thrilled to stash Woodruff on the injured listing in hopes of a late-2024 return and a close-to-full workload in 2025. His presence in the marketplace offers golf equipment the uncommon alternative to signal a top-of-the-rotation arm at a comparatively discount fee, although any deal for Woodruff will certainly afford him the chance to return to free company prior to later — possible by the 2025-26 offseason.