Brewers reach 1-year deals with Josh Hader, Brandon Woodruff

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers avoided going to arbitration with pitchers Josh Hader and Brandon Woodruff by agreeing to one-year contracts with the former All-Stars.

Hader signed for $6,675,000 while Woodruff agreed to a $3,275,000 deal. The Brewers don’t have any arbitration cases.

Last year, Hader lost an arbitration case that resulted in a $4.1 million salary, which was pro-rated to $1,518,519 in the pandemic shortened the season. Hader said after his arbitration case last year that he believed the system is outdated and doesn’t account for the fact that high-leverage relievers now occasionally pitch earlier in games.

Hader, who turns 27 on April 7, has been one of the game’s top relievers over the last few seasons and made the NL All-Star team in 2018 and 2019.

The left-hander was 1-2 with a career-high 3.79 ERA in 21 games last year, but six of the eight runs he allowed came in just two appearances. He had an NL-leading 13 saves while striking out 31 and allowing just eight hits in 13 innings.

In his four-year career, Hader has a 2.54 ERA with 62 saves and 380 strikeouts in just 223 2/3 innings.

Woodruff, who turns 28 on Feb. 10, went 3-5 with a 3.05 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 73 2/3 innings last season. The right-hander tied for the NL lead in starts and ranked fourth in the NL in innings pitched.

Woodruff had a 2020 salary of $633,100 that was pro-rated to $234,481 due to the shortened season.

That came after a 2019 season in which he made the NL All-Star team but missed nearly two months with a left oblique strain. Woodruff went 11-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 22 starts that season.


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Brewers announce trade of reliever Corey Knebel

Corey Knebel’s time with the Milwaukee Brewers has come to an end.

The team announced Wednesday it had traded the reliever to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named later.

Knebel was an National League All-Star in 2017 with a career-best 39 saves. He was a major part of the Brewers push to the NLCS in 2018. He underwent Tommy John surgery prior to the 2019 season and missed the entire year. He returned last season and struggled to find his form, finishing with a 6.08 ERA.

In other moves, the Brewers avoided going to arbitration with shortstop Orlando Arcia by signing him to a 1-year, $2 million contract, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

The team also avoided arbitration with three other players — catchers Omar Narvaez and Manny Pina, along with first baseman/designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach.

Milwaukee tendered contracts to pitchers Brandon Woodruff and Josh Hader, while they did not tender contracts for outfielders Ben Gamel and Jace Peterson, as well as pitcher Alex Claudio.

Brewers promote Matt Arnold to GM and senior VP

David Stearns is still with the Milwaukee Brewers, but he no longer holds the title of general manager.

The team announced Thursday that it had promoted Matt Arnold to general manager and senior Vice President.

“For the past five years, Matt has served an invaluable role in helping to guide our baseball operations group,” Stearns said in a release from the team. “He has contributed to every significant decision we have made and has offered indispensable advice and support throughout his time with the Brewers. Today’s announcement formalizes how we have operated over the last few years. This move provides Matt with the deserved recognition of his tireless work and ensures that our baseball operations leadership group remains intact.”

Stearns will retain his role as president of baseball operations with the club.

Arnold has been in Milwaukee since 2015, serving as vice president and assistant general manager. He, along with Stearns, has helped the Brewers make the postseason in three-straight seasons for the first time in franchise history.

“Over the past 20 years, I have learned so much from my wonderful baseball friends and colleagues. I greatly appreciate them all, and would never have a day like this without them, nor without the incredible support from my family,” Arnold said in the release. “I am excited about the opportunity to continue to partner with the Attanasio family and our incredible leadership team of David Stearns and Craig Counsell along with our entire staff. I am eager to carry on our collective efforts as we seek to bring a championship to Milwaukee.”

Arnold’s first job in MLB came in 2000 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he spent time with three other organizations before coming to Milwaukee.

Sedar moving to advisory role on Brewers’ coaching staff

MILWAUKEE (AP) — After working as a Milwaukee Brewers first-base or third-base coach for the last 14 seasons, Ed Sedar is moving into a new role as an adviser to the team’s coaching staff.

That move marked the biggest change as the Brewers announced manager Craig Counsell’s 2021 coaching staff Wednesday.

Sedar had been the Brewers’ first-base coach from 2007-10 and third-base coach from 2011-20. He also has worked in the Brewers organization as a minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator (1992-2006) and minor league field coordinator (2002-06).

“Eddie’s still going to have the responsibilities of helping us down in spring training, he’ll be around the major league team, in uniform before home games, and really just continue to serve as a resource for Craig and the rest of our staff,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said.

Quintin Berry will take over as a base coach next season after working as the Brewers’ minor league outfielder and baserunning coordinator from 2019-20.

Counsell said Berry’s responsibilities in Milwaukee also will include baserunning and outfield instruction.

“Immediately as he took the coaching role in our player development system, it was obvious he was going to become a big-league coach,” Counsell said. “He’s knowledgeable about his area. He has a presence that allows him to affect players. And he has a great energy about him.”

Hitting coach Andy Haines, pitching coach Chris Hook, bullpen coach Steve Karsay, bench coach Pat Murphy and assistant hitting coach Jacob Cruz are returning to the same positions they had this year.

Jason Lane, a first-base coach this season, will be a base coach again in 2021. Walker McKinven is back as associate pitching, catching and strategy coach.

Counsell said he hasn’t yet determined which base coach will handle first and which will be at third.

The Brewers will have two new bullpen catchers next year in Nestor Corredor and Adam Weisenburger. Marcus Hanel had been a Brewers bullpen catcher for the last 21 seasons.

“Marcus was certainly an important part of us for a long, long time,” Counsell said. “This is a physical job. It’s largely a physical job. And so it was time for just someone new to do it.”


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Brewers decline Ryan Braun’s $15 million option for 2021

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers have declined to exercise a $15 million mutual 2021 option on veteran outfielder Ryan Braun as the franchise’s career home run leader ponders whether to continue playing. Braun is due a $4 million buyout.

The 37-year-old often said this year that this might be his final season. He has spent his entire career in Milwaukee and has a franchise-record 352 career home runs.

“I’ll take my time in making a decision,” Braun said in mid-September. “I’ll sit down with my family and see where we’re at in a couple of months. It’s not a decision that I anticipate making right away. I’ll take some time to see where I’m at physically, see where things stand baseball-specifically and in the world at large before I make a decision about that.”

Braun batted a career-low .233 with seven homers and 27 RBIs in 39 games this season while working through a back issue, though his .958 OPS in September helped the Brewers earn a third straight playoff berth. The back problem prevented him from playing the final game of the NL wild-card series loss to the eventual World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

Braun ranks second In Brewers history in RBIs (1,154), extra-base hits (809), total bases (3,525) and doubles (408). He ranks third in runs (1,080), hits (1,963), triples (49), stolen bases (216) and walks (586).

Brewers season comes to an end with 3-0 loss to LA

Milwaukee’s season came to an end Thursday night in predictable fashion.

The Brewers, who struggled to scores runs all season, fell 3-0 to Los Angeles, giving the Dodgers a 2-0 series win in their NL Wild Card matchup.

Clayton Kershaw was dominant for LA. He allowed just three hits and struck out a playoff career-high 13 batters over eight innings. It was the third-most strikeouts by a Dodgers pitcher in the postseason and the most since the 1963 World Series.

Every Brewers starter had at least one strikeout Thursday, with Avisail Garcia, Christian Yelich and Jedd Gyorko combining for seven. Over the two-game series, Milwaukee scored just two runs and struck out 28 times.

Milwaukee was hoping that Brandon Woodruff could match Kershaw but he wasn’t able to. He allowed all three runs in the fifth inning before giving way to Josh Hader. Woodruff did end up striking out nine batters in the third postseason start of his career.

This was the sixth time the Brewers made the postseason in their history and the first time they failed to win a single game.

The Dodgers will move on and take on the winner of the St. Louis and San Diego series that is tied 1-1.

Brewers come up short in Game 1 loss to the Dodgers

A tough start from Brent Suter proved too much to overcome for an anemic Milwaukee offense in a 4-2 loss to Los Angeles in Game 1 of the NL Wild Card series Wednesday night.

Suter, getting the start in place of an injured Corbin Burnes, gave up three runs in just 1 2/3 innings. It included five walks — the same number he had in 16 appearances this season. Two of the walks came with the bases loaded and his five walks are tied for the most by a pitcher in an outing of two innings or less in MLB postseason history.

While Suter struggled, Dodgers’ starter Walker Buehler threw the ball quite well except for one pitch. His lone mistake came to Orlando Arcia, who drilled a 2-run homer in the fourth inning. It was the shortstop’s fourth postseason home run and his third against LA. His four homers is tied with Prince Fielder for the most in franchise playoff history.

Buehler’s pitching line was still solid despite the one pitch. He ended up going four innings, while allowing three hits and striking out eight.

The Dodgers bullpen kept Milwaukee’s offense at bay the rest of the way. Julio Urias pitched three scoreless innings, Blake Treinen shut the Brewers down in the eighth and then Kenley Jansen came on in the ninth to close things out.

The Brewers pitching staff did an admirable job in keeping the team in the game. Eric Yardley retired all seven of the batters he faced and Justin Topa allowed just a hit in his two innings. The lone blip on the radar was a solo home run from Corey Seager off of Freddy Peralta for an important insurance run in the seventh.

Milwaukee’s offense was unable to breakthrough despite having some chances. The Brewers went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base.

Injuries hit the club again in the game, with outfielder Ryan Braun forced out with mild back soreness. It came a few innings after he crashed into the wall trying to chase down a ball.

The win gives Los Angeles a 1-0 lead in the series and the Dodgers can close it out with a win Thursday night. Milwaukee will send Brandon Woodruff to the mound to try to keep the season going, while the Dodgers counter with Clayton Kershaw.

Brewers set NL Wild Card roster, reliever Devin Williams not on it

Milwaukee will play without the top reliever in baseball in its Wild Card series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Brewers released their 28-man roster for the series and it did not include Devin Williams. They say he was ruled out due to right shoulder soreness.

It’s a huge loss for a club already playing without its top starting pitcher in Corbin Burnes. Williams is among the candidates for National League Rookie of the Year after dominating in his first season with the Brewers. He allowed just four runs over 27 innings of work for an ERA of 0.33 and averaged nearly two strikeouts per inning.

Milwaukee also left starting pitcher Brett Anderson off the roster. There was some hope he might be able to return and start a potential Game 3 after leaving Sunday’s loss to St. Louis with a blister.

The Brewers will have designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach. He suffered a hamstring injury in the season finale but will be available. So, too, will outfielder Ben Gamel. He’s coming of the injured list after a quad issue finally sidelined him on Sept. 20.

Game 1 of the best-of-three series between the Brewers and Dodgers is scheduled to get underway Wednesday night at 9:08 p.m. CT.

Brewers tab Brent Suter to start Game 1 of NL Wild Card series

Milwaukee has made a decision on its starting pitcher for the first game of the NL Wild Card series against Los Angeles.

The Brewers announced that Brent Suter would get the ball against the Dodgers in Game 1 of the best-of-three series on Wednesday night.

It will be Suter’s second postseason appearance and his first as a starter. He missed Milwaukee’s 2018 playoff run to the National League Championship Series, but did get to pitch an inning in last year’s NL Wild Card loss to Washington.

Pitching mostly out of the bullpen in 2020, the 30-year-old Suter has an ERA of 3.13 over 31 2/3 innings. He did get to start four games, all in the last month, including last Friday against St. Louis. He went four innings, allowing just two hits in a game the Brewers won. In fact, in his four starts he allowed just two runs but also never went deeper than four innings.

Milwaukee will go with Brandon Woodruff for Game 2. With projected Game 1 starter Corbin Burnes on the 10-day injured list, there had been some talk of Woodruff pitching on four days rest, but manager Craig Counsell decided to keep him on his normal schedule. A starter for a potential Game 3 has not been named.

The Brewers must decide by Wednesday whether to put Brett Anderson on the series roster. He left Sunday’s start with a blister and his status is unclear. He would be the likely option if cleared to pitch.

The Dodgers will go with Walker Buehler in Game 1 despite him pitching just four innings in the last three weeks due to a blister. Veteran Clayton Kershaw will get the ball in Game 2.

Brewers lose finale, still make the playoffs

The Milwaukee Brewers are playoff-bound for a third-straight season.

Manager Craig Counsell’s club didn’t win its way in — the Brewers lost 5-2 to St. Louis on Sunday — but losses by Philadelphia and San Francisco allowed Milwaukee to back its way into the postseason as one of the two National League Wild Card teams.

The Brewers were not apologizing afterwards for how they got in.

As the No. 8 seed, Milwaukee will face the top-seeded Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round. It’s a best-of-three series and every game will be played at Dodger Stadium.

Game 1 of the series will take place Wednesday.