Brewers agree to $20.5M Ashby deal through 2027

Team also adds McGee
The Associated Press

Left-hander Aaron Ashby and Milwaukee agreed July 23 to a $20.5 million, five-year contract through 2027, and the NL Central leaders made a short-term addition in former San Francisco reliever Jake McGee.

Ashby’s deal includes club options for 2028 and 2029. The 23-year-old is 2-7 with a 4.56 ERA and one save in 12 starts and six relief appearances, striking out 83 in 69 innings.

He would not have been eligible for arbitration until after the 2024 season, and the options could cover two seasons in which he potentially would be eligible for free agency.

Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said negotiations with Ashby had been going on for several months.

“We feel really good about investing in that type of person and player,” Stearns said. “He feels really good about the Brewers. When you combine those two things, you’re able to get to agreements like this that I feel can benefit both sides.”

Ashby made his big league debut in June 2021, and he went 3-2 with a 4.55 ERA in four starts and nine relief appearances. He is the nephew of Andy Ashby, who pitched for five major league teams from 1991-2004.

“He’s an incredibly talented kid,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “And then the other thing is that he’s always he’s always been very eager to learn. That kind of commitment to growth, I think, it’s always something to look for in players. So those two things, you know, make, make this a player that you can believe in and feel like he really has got a chance to grow into something special.”

McGee, who turns 36 on Aug. 6, was 1-2 with a 7.17 ERA and three saves in 24 games for the Giants this year. That followed a 2021 season in which the left-hander had 31 saves and a 2.72 ERA.

He has a career record of 32-27 with a 3.64 ERA and 79 saves.

“Jake is obviously a very experienced reliever,” Counsell said. “He had a tough first half with San Francisco. Had a great year last year. And it’s just what happens with relievers and can be sometimes misleading. It’s a really small sample.”

McGee was cut by the Giants on July 14 with the team responsible for $1,653,846 owed the left-hander as part of a $5 million, two-year contract — $1,153,846 of this year’s $2.5 million salary plus a $500,000 buyout of a $4.5 million team option for 2023.

Milwaukee is responsible for $288,462 — a prorated share of the $700,000 minimum — and the Brewers’ pay will be offset against what the Giants owe.

McGee could help a bullpen that has been taxed this season because of injuries to Milwaukee’s starters. The Brewers’ rotation is missing 2020 All-Star Freddy Peralta and Adrian Houser, both on the injured list. Brandon Woodruff, another 2020 All-Star, spent time on the injured list this year.

The Brewers made another move as well on July 23, placing utilityman Jace Peterson on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to July 20. Peterson, who has a sprained left elbow, has batted .252 with eight homers and 30 RBIs this season while playing all over the field.

Counsell said Peterson will miss at least a month.

“It’s absolutely a big loss,” Counsell said. “And I think we’re going to have to fill in around him, but he does so many things for this team, and he does so many things very well. It does create some holes.”