PHOENIX -- The best part, Freddy Peralta said, was calling his parents.
The 23-year-old right-hander called home a short while after he signed a five-year contract extension that guarantees $15.5 million and includes a pair of club options that could push the total payout to $30 million over seven years. The Brewers formally announced the pact on Friday morning.
“When I called them in the morning, my mom was cooking,” Peralta said. “She started crying and all that, just remembering things that happened before, a long time ago. My dad, too. He cried more than my mom. It’s hard to believe, but yeah. When I was looking at them crying, I was like, ‘OK, we will talk later.’”
He added, “It’s a great feeling I have.”
Peralta enters this season with one year and 90 days of Major League service, so the new contract buys out his final two pre-arbitration seasons and all three of his arbitration years. The club options cover what would be his first two years of free agency.
There’s a risk-reward equation for players when it comes to such commitments. On one hand, they get life-changing financial security. On the other hand, they potentially leave money on the table that could be made by going year-to-year in arbitration or by waiting until they are further along to make a multiyear commitment.
“I know my agent and representative weren’t too happy,” said Peralta. “They didn’t really want to take it. But in the end of the day, I know they wanted to wait a little longer, but it was my decision, and I made the decision for myself and for my family. I’m very grateful, very thankful.”
Peralta is competing with left-hander Eric Lauer to be the Brewers’ fifth starter. If Lauer gets the nod and everyone else is healthy, Peralta would begin the season in the bullpen.
From the club’s point of view, there is a similar risk-reward. Peralta has been brilliant at times in the big leagues -- he struck out 13 Rockies in a memorable Major League debut on Mother’s Day 2018 -- but failed to stick in the starting rotation when awarded a spot at the start of last season. Overall, he has a 4.79 ERA in 163 1/3 big league innings.
“Anytime you’re looking at a multiyear extension, it takes a desire from both sides,” Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said. “In this case, there was a clear desire from the player and a clear desire from the club. We think Freddy has a lot of potential. We’ve seen flashes of that at the Major League level, and we think this is just the beginning of who he can be as a Major League pitcher.”
The deal came together quickly after the Brewers approached Peralta’s representatives with the idea. The discussions came in the wake of the five-year, $16 million extension of White Sox left-hander Aaron Bummer, reported to be a record for a non-closer reliever in his pre-arbitration years.
Peralta is a bit different because he has pitched as both a reliever and a starter. He is also three years younger than Bummer.
“To get Freddy through the system and develop him, everybody should be proud of that,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It means a lot of people in the organization have helped along the way and feel a part of this, and I know that’s true with Freddy.”
Once Peralta’s mother and father contained their emotions, the family had a discussion about what the deal means for their future. Peralta said it would allow everyone to feel calm.
“To be honest, when the opportunity presented itself, I thought it was the right opportunity for me,” Peralta said. “It’s something I’ve been working for my whole life.”
Woodruff, Burnes draw Dodgers' regulars
Mookie Betts, Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, A.J. Pollock, Will Smith and Gavin Lux all made the trip to American Family Fields of Phoenix on Friday to start behind Clayton Kershaw in the Brewers’ 6-5 win over the Dodgers.
Seeing an “A” team so early in the spring was helpful, said Brewers pitchers Brandon Woodruff, who is working to tighten his slider, and Corbin Burnes, who is refining the pitches around his slider. Woodruff is a lock for the season-opening rotation, but Burnes might begin the year in the bullpen or at Triple-A.
“To work on some stuff and get some of the swings we got today, it was good,” said Burnes, who went six-up, six-down. “You want to go against the best and see how your stuff is playing.”
Said Counsell: “I thought Corbin Burnes' outing was really good to see. He did a lot of great things and got really good feedback from hitters. He executed a whole bunch of pitches.”
Woodruff started and allowed a run on four hits in two innings. The second inning was clean except for a Matt Beaty infield hit that struck Woodruff on the side of his right foot. When Counsell and head athletic trainer Scott Barringer came to check on Woodruff, they were quickly dismissed. Woodruff remained in the game and continued to get on the same page with the Brewers’ new catcher, Omar Narváez.
“When I got out there, it’s time to compete, it’s time to get outs,” said Woodruff. “I’m never one to necessarily think I’m working on something. But me and Omar, that was the first time getting game action, and I think we’re going to start evolving. We’re going to talk tomorrow, and we’re going to get things nailed down the way I like to pitch. I didn’t do myself any favors in that first inning, getting behind against some good hitters.”
Players, coaches and staff wore “MC” patches near their hearts Friday against the Dodgers and will do so again Saturday against the Cubs in solidarity with Molson Coors, site of a mass shooting in Milwaukee earlier this week. Molson Coors is the parent company of the Miller Brewing Company, a longtime corporate partner of the Brewers and essentially their next-door neighbor.
Brewers, Braves honors ahead
The Brewers will honor Gold Glove outfielder Carlos Gómez and All-Star pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Francisco Rodríguez by inducting them onto the Wall of Honor at Miller Park, a distinction awarded to players, coaches and executives who meet a set of criteria based on service to the organization and career accomplishments.
Gómez, who spent six seasons (2010-15) of his 13-year Major League career with the Brewers, will ceremonially retire as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers before receiving the Wall of Honor distinction. The details of the ceremony will be announced at a later date.
Also, the Brewers and the Milwaukee Braves Historical Association announced they will induct the late Wes Covington onto the Milwaukee Braves Wall of Honor during a ceremony on May 20. Both installations are located near the “hot corner” entrance to Miller Park.
The Brewers face a National League Central rival for the first time Saturday when they travel to Mesa to play the Cubs at 2:05 p.m. CT. Brewers hitters will get a look at right-hander Yu Darvish. Peralta will take the mound for Milwaukee. He’s vying for the only opening in the Brewers’ starting rotation this spring. The game will air on the Brewers Radio Network.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like him on Facebook.