Out of all the non-tender moves made yesterday, including the Los Angeles Angels' decision to non-tender Jose Marte, the most surprising one was the Brewers non-tendering two-time all-star Brandon Woodruff.
This became a question the Brewers had to answer once it was revealed that the right-hander was going to miss most, if not the entire 2024 season due to injury. Still, it was surprising that Milwaukee either couldn't trade him to get some sort of value, or even keep him around and hope he was able to return.
The Brewers opted to non-tender Woodruff making him available for each team to sign. It's possible Woodruff finds his way back to Milwaukee, but it feels more likely that he'll sign elsewhere as he looks to rehab and regain his value.
Signing Brandon Woodruff would come with a lot of risk, but the reward is too good for the LA Angels to pass on
The Angels are a team in desperate need of a major rotation upgrade. They felt the staff they came into the 2023 season with was good enough to win, but it wound up being below-average. And that was with Shohei Ohtani.
Whether Ohtani stays or not, the Angels will still need to find a rotation upgrade for 2024 if they want to compete. While Woodruff doesn't provide that, he does give the Angels an arm to turn to in 2025.
Any deal Woodruff signs would presumably have two years on it. Whether the second year is a club option or fully guaranteed I don't know, but no team will want to sign Woodruff just to rehab on their dime for one year and potentially walk. This kind of deal makes it a wash for 2024, but could give the Angels a cheap frontline starter in 2025.
The risk is very evident. This isn't the only injury Woodruff has dealt with. In fact, he made just 11 starts this past season for Milwaukee. He has just one season out of his seven-year career in which he made 30 starts. Durability is a concern, but the upside is tremendous.
When right, Woodruff is an all-star. In fact, he's made two all-star teams. The one year he made 30 starts for the Brewers he finished fifth in the NL Cy Young balloting. He has a 3.10 career ERA despite pitching most of his games at hitter-friendly American Family Field.
The Angels can bring Woodruff in on a two-year deal with the first year being very cheap as he won't pitch. This gives the Angels the opportunity to still sign a big-time arm while having Woodruff waiting in the wings for 2025.
Woodruff gives the Angels the opportunity to add a potential frontline starter at a very cheap price. Sure, things could go south and Woodruff could either struggle or get injured again, but that shouldn't outweigh his upside. It's time for Arte Moreno to truly go all-in if he won't rebuild. Even if it doesn't work, it won't damage a franchise the way Anthony Rendon's contract has.