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Woodruff staying with Brewers on backloaded 2-year deal worth $17.5 million

 WBN  |    Feb 21st, 2024 4:38pm EST

PHOENIX (AP) — Brandon Woodruff is staying with the Milwaukee Brewers after all.

The right-hander has finalized a backloaded $17.5 million, two-year contract with Milwaukee that includes a mutual option for the 2026 season. The deal was completed three months after the Brewers allowed the injured pitcher to test free agency rather than tendering him a contract for 2024.

Milwaukee also announced the signing of catcher Gary Sánchez on Wednesday to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2025. Sánchez hit 19 homers last season while playing for the San Diego Padres and New York Mets.

The 31-year-old Woodruff is expected to miss most, if not all, of the upcoming season while he recovers from shoulder surgery. But the new contract could keep the two-time All-Star with the Brewers when he returns to the mound, whether that’s this year or next year.

“Back in November when we non-tendered Brandon, we said we had to make a very difficult decision relating to one of the best pitchers and human beings in franchise history,” Brewers President of Baseball Operations Matt Arnold said Wednesday in a statement. “We also said we remained very open to his return to Milwaukee. Today, I am thrilled to say that Brandon has returned to the Brewers family. We look forward to guiding Brandon through his rehabilitation and ultimate return to the mound at American Family Field.”

Woodruff will receive $2.5 million this year and $5 million in 2025. The deal includes a $20 million mutual option for 2026 with a $10 million buyout, half payable on Jan. 15, 2026, and the remainder on July 15, 2026. The contract also grants Woodruff a full no-trade provision and a hotel suite on road trips.

When the Brewers made the decision to non-tender him, Woodruff was eligible for arbitration and would have been under team control for one more year. He had surgery in October.

Woodruff went 5-1 with a 2.28 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 67 innings last season despite missing four months with inflammation in his right shoulder. On the day before Game 1 of their NL Wild Card Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Brewers announced Woodruff had hurt his shoulder again.

The injury prevented Woodruff from pitching in the Brewers’ 2-0 series loss to the eventual NL champion Diamondbacks.

Woodruff is 46-26 with a 3.10 ERA in seven seasons with Milwaukee.

Sánchez, 31, batted .217 with a .288 on-base percentage, .492 slugging percentage, 19 homers and 47 RBIs in a combined 75 games for the Padres and Mets last season. He played three games for the Mets and 72 games for the Padres.

He owns a .225 career batting average with a .309 on-base percentage, 173 homers and 448 RBIs in 741 regular-season games with the New York Yankees (2015-21), Minnesota Twins (2022), Mets and Padres.

The Brewers already have William Contreras returning at catcher after he batted .289 with a .367 on-base percentage, 17 homers and 78 RBIs last season to help Milwaukee win the NL Central title. Contreras was selected as the Brewers’ most valuable player last season by the Milwaukee chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Milwaukee lost its backup catcher from last season when Victor Caratini signed with the Houston Astros, though the Brewers have since signed Eric Haase to a major league deal and Austin Nola to a minor league deal. The Brewers also could choose to have both Contreras and Sánchez in the lineup by making one of them a designated hitter.


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb