Brandon Woodruff, RHP
Woodruff is the unmatched prize of the non-tender market. He will be signed by any number of currently gathered teams, and it will happen soon.
The powerhouse ex-Brewer reportedly believes he will be able to contribute in the second half of 2024 following postseason shoulder surgery, but it seems more likely, from an outside perspective, that he will miss the whole season. That is why, instead of tendering him a pricey $12 million deal for 2024 on the oft chance he was able to return for a competitive Brewers team, Milwaukee let him go. The injury torpedoed both Woodruff's campaign and his previous team's leverage. The Brew Crew were already in cost-cutting mode exploring trades. Woodruff's injury took a key asset off their board, and now has an ironic mob clamoring for the services of someone who likely cannot appear for a calendar year.
Whichever team nabs Woodruff next will be extending a two-year offer to him so he can rehab on their dime in 2024 and come back healthy for the following season. Baking in the $12 million he was due for an absent season, that contract would probably be in the $20-22 million range. That's well worth it for a team like the Yankees seeking ace production down the line. It's well worth it for, as we said earlier, any number of teams ranging from the inner circle of contention to the fringes. Expect the big-spending Cubs to be interested. The Craig Breslow Red Sox should be all over this. The analytically-inclined Orioles. None of baseball's smartest teams will miss a beat here. The Yankees can't afford to sit this conversation out -- even if Woodruff looks odd clean-shaven.