Suter's tenure with Brewers comes to a close

Reliever became leader in the Milwaukee community: 'It’s been a special ride'

November 19th, 2022

MILWAUKEE -- Brent Suter worked fast and worked hard for the Brewers on and off the field. But baseball is a business, which was as evident on Friday as any day of the year.

The Rockies claimed Suter, Milwaukee’s longest-tenured player, off waivers before the deadline for teams across MLB to tender contracts to their unsigned players, including those eligible for salary arbitration. Every year, that translates to a flurry of activity across the sport, especially this year for the Brewers, who went into the day with an eye-popping 18 players eligible for arbitration.

Here was the final result for those 18:

Signed one-year deals to avoid arbitration: Right-handers Adrian Houser and Matt Bush

Tendered contracts for 2023: Right-handers Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Devin Williams; left-handers Eric Lauer and Hoby Milner; shortstop Willy Adames; outfielder Hunter Renfroe; first baseman Rowdy Tellez; catcher Victor Caratini; and infielders Luis Urías, Keston Hiura and Mike Brosseau

Non-tendered: Pitchers Trevor Gott, Jandel Gustave and Luis Perdomo

Waived: Suter

The Brewers also tendered contracts to all of their pre-arbitration players and made a trade on Friday, picking up Rays right-hander Javy Guerra in exchange for a player to be named.

In the end, the 40-man roster was at 36, leaving room to evaluate the dozens of new free agents on the market as a result of other teams’ non-tenders.

For the arbitration-eligible players who were tendered contracts on Friday, they are effectively signed for 2023 at a salary to be determined through continued negotiation and, if necessary, an arbitration hearing. Brewers GM Matt Arnold said the club was still evaluating which of those players to engage in talks about longer-term deals.

“A ton of things happened today, and a lot to balance both internally and externally with all the conversations we were having,” Arnold said. “The challenging ones were moving on from guys that have been here … in particular, Brent Suter. A really tough conversation, but a guy that puts a smile on your face every time you speak to him. I’m incredibly thankful for what he was able to provide to this team, our clubhouse [and] our community.”

Suter, the Brewers’ 31st-round Draft pick in 2012 with a fastball that tops out shy of 90 mph, beat the odds and made it to the big leagues for parts of seven seasons with Milwaukee. He compiled a 3.51 ERA in 196 regular-season appearances, pitching everywhere from the start of games to long relief to higher-leverage stints at the end of games.

Suter also became enmeshed in the Milwaukee community, with special emphasis placed on environmental causes. He helped the Brewers launch a series of green initiatives at American Family Field, including one partnership with SC Johnson in which every plastic cup used at the ballpark is recycled into bottles of Scrubbin’ Bubbles cleaner. Suter put out a children’s book this year with an environmental message and donated proceeds to nonprofit causes. In each of the past three years, the Crew nominated Suter for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award for community service.

“I loved every person I came into contact with in Milwaukee, and we’re going to continue those relationships,” Suter said. “I want to keep checking in on organizations like the Urban Ecology Center and my book publisher out in Waukesha. My son, Layton, was born in Milwaukee this year. I’m always connected there. Those connections to the city won’t go away at all.

“Now, I’m looking forward to a new city, new teammates. I love Denver. Great fans. I can’t wait to get to know them.”

He had a feeling that Friday might be the end of his Brewers tenure. He was one of four Milwaukee players -- along with Renfroe, Caratini and Perdomo -- going into their last arbitration cycle and due for free agency following next season.

Suter subsequently signed with the Rockies for a reported $3 million. Arnold said the Brewers placed him on waivers in deference to Suter’s long service to the team, hoping another club would pick up the contract rather than send Suter into the uncertainty of free agency.

“I knew,” Suter said. “My agent and my family, we were hoping for [something] smooth, where nothing crazy would happen, but we expected crazy to happen. And it did. I’m super excited to go to the Rockies, for sure, but man am I grateful for Brewers fans, everybody associated with the Brewers.

“I can’t tell you how much the organization means to me and my family. I’m getting a little choked up here. It’s been a special ride I’m never going to forget.”