The Milwaukee Brewers had a difficult decision to make this offseason. On one hand, they could keep their core together for another season, eyeing another run at a championship. On the other hand, the Brewers have payroll limitations and three players looking at an eight digit salary in their final year of arbitation.
That decision may have become easier on Friday. Brewers beat writer Adam McCalvy reported that Brandon Woodruff had surgery to repair the anterior capsule in his right shoulder. He is expected to miss the majority of the upcoming season as he recovers.
Milwaukee Brewers have to look to the future now
Woodruff is expected earn $11.6 million in arbitration this offseason, a slight increase from his 2023 salary. Willy Adames and Corbin Burnes are also looking at a larger salary, with both expected to make more than Woodruff. There had already been rumours that the Brewers could look to trade these pieces last offseason due to budgetary concerns. Those whispers could get louder.
It may well be time for those deals to happen. Adames, Burnes, and Woodruff will likely earn far more in free agency than the Brewers could afford for an extension. Although their window of contention is open right now, they have to look at the future. That involves making trades to keep their window open in the next few years.
At this point, Woodruff may be impossible to trade. He will be relatively expensive and may be a sunken cost. However, Adames and Burnes could bring significant returns back to Milwaukee as teams look for the missing pieces for a championship. After all, this is the team that dealt Josh Hader while they were in the middle of their own playoff push at the 2022 trade deadline. The Brewers will do what they feel they need to in order to operate in their comfort zone and still contend. That could involve a couple of high profile trades.
The Milwaukee Brewers entered the 2023-24 offseason at a crossroads. Brandon Woodruff’s injury may have charted their course.