Left-hander Eric Lauer has passed through waivers unclaimed and been outrighted by the Brewers to Triple-A Nashville, per Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Lauer has more than three years of service time, which gives him the right to reject this outright and elect free agency.
Lauer, now 28, once seemed like a solid part of the pitching staff in Milwaukee. Over 2021 and 2022, he tossed 277 1/3 innings for the Brewers with a 3.47 earned run average. He stuck out 23.8% of batters faced in that time while issuing walks at a 8.7% clip.
He and the club agreed to an arbitration salary of $5.075MM for 2023 and he opened the year in the club’s rotation. Unfortunately, he struggled to get on track this year, posting a 5.48 ERA through his first nine appearances. He landed on the injured list in late May due to an impingement in his non-throwing shoulder and the club optioned him to the minors once he was healthy enough to be activated. His 5.04 ERA in the minors this year wasn’t much better but he got recalled at the end of September to make an appearance after the club had already clinched the division. He allowed eight earned runs in four innings, ballooning his ERA for the season to 6.56.
Lauer could have been retained for 2024 via arbitration, with MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projecting a slight raise to a salary of $5.2MM next year. But after his poor results in 2023 and the fact that he’ll be out of options next year, it seems the Brewers weren’t willing to have him back at that price point.
Assuming Lauer elects free agency, he will head to the open market and be free to pursue contracts will all 30 clubs. His frustrating 2023 season will obviously hurt him but he can point to his strong results in the two previous campaigns as he looks for his next gig.