Brandon Woodruff contract details, grade: Brewers officially bring back injured ace

Grading Brandon Woodruff's contract as the right-hander signed a deal to remain with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Aug 25, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff (53)
Aug 25, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff (53) / Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Brewers were dealt a massive blow with Brandon Woodruff needing to undergo shoulder surgery after the conclusion of the 2023 season, knocking him out for likely the entire 2024 campaign.

Not only was Woodruff's injury a massive blow to the Brewers' chances of seriously competing in 2024, but it really hurt Woodruff in particular as the two-time All-Star was set to hit free agency at the end of the season. With Woodruff out for seemingly the entire season, Milwaukee opted to non-tender the right-hander, allowing him to reach free agency to scope out how he wanted to proceed.

When general manager Matt Arnold chose to non-tender Woodruff, it felt almost certain that he was going to end up elsewhere. Turns out, Woodruff will remain with the only team he's known as he has officially inked a two-year deal to stay in Milwaukee.

Brandon Woodruff contract details, grade: Brewers re-sign ace to team-friendly deal

The deal Woodruff signed appears to be very team-friendly, guaranteeing the right-hander $17.5 million in total. Woodruff will receive $2.5 million this year, $5 million in 2025, and a $20 million mutual option for 2026 with a $10 million buyout.

What makes the deal team-friendly is the right-hander is set to make just $7.5 million over the next two seasons combined. Sure, he's going to miss most, if not all of this upcoming season, but he's expected to be healthy for all of 2025. If he is healthy, even if he has a down year, he'll be worth way more than the $5 million he's owed.

Chances are, the $20 million mutual option won't be exercised whether Woodruff rebounds or not. If Woodruff pitches well, he'll want to ink the long-term deal he deserves as one of the National League's best pitchers. If he struggles or has more injury woes, it's hard picturing Milwaukee bringing him back on that sum.

For Woodruff, this seems like a deal he chose to make because of his comfort level in Milwaukee. He's spent his entire seven-year career with the Brewers and trusts them to help him recover and pitch like the star he was pre-injury. He probably could've gotten higher guarantees elsewhere, but he has no way of knowing how he'll pitch in a new uniform.

This is a deal with limited risk for Milwaukee and the chance for very high reward. Woodruff on such cheap money for the 2025 season makes him either a key piece for a good Brewers team, or an especially intriguing trade candidate for contending teams. It should be noted that Woodruff was given a no-trade clause in the contract so he'd need to give his approval.

Overall, this is a great deal for the Brewers in what's been a strange offseason overall. They might've lost Burnes, but they did bring back their other ace on favorable terms.

Brandon Woodruff contract grade: A