Brewers sign Aaron Ashby to new deal, add reliever Jake McGee

Aaron Ashby of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches against the Cincinnati Reds at American Family Field on May 03, 2022. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Left-handed pitcher Aaron Ashby and the Milwaukee Brewers agreed Saturday to a $20.5 million, five-year contract through 2027.

The same day, the team announced the signing of veteran relief pitcher Jake McGee to a one-year deal.

Ashby's five-year contract, which starts next year, would be worth $41.5 million over seven seasons if a pair of club options are exercised.

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The deal, announced Saturday, could increase to $46 million over seven years through escalators for innings pitched and his finish in Cy Young Award voting.

"Throughout his time in our organization, Aaron has demonstrated a unique combination of persistence, character and talent," Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said in a statement. "He is establishing himself as one of the premier young pitchers in baseball, and we look forward to watching his continued growth and success."

A 24-year-old right-hander who made his major league debut in June last year, Ashby has a $704,500 salary this season.

His new deal includes a $1 million signing bonus payable within 30 days of the contract's approval by the commissioner's office.

He gets salaries of $1 million next year, $1.25 million in 2024 and then $3.25 million in 2025, $5.5 million in 2026 and $7.5 million in 2027, the three seasons he would have been eligible for arbitration.

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Milwaukee has a $9 million team option with a $1 million buyout for 2028, the first season Ashby would have been eligible for free agency, and a $13 million option for 2027.

The 2028 option could increase by $1.5 million for innings from 2025-27: $250,000 each for 450 and 480, and $500,000 apiece for 510 and 540. It also could increase by $1.5 million based on Cy Young Award voting from 2023-27: $1.5 million for first in any year, $750,000 for second through fifth, and $500,000 for sixth through 10th.

The 2029 option could increase by $1.5 million for innings in 2028: $250,000 each for 150 and 160, and $500,000 apiece for 170 and 180. It would go up by $2 million if he wins a Cy Young in 2028, $1 million for second through fifth and $750,000 for sixth through 10th.

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His salaries have a maximum of $11.5 million for 2028 and $15 million for 2029.

Ashby would get a $500,000 assignment bonus if traded. The deal also includes award bonuses and provides he gets a hotel suite on road trips.

He is 2-7 with a 4.56 ERA and one save in 12 starts and six relief appearances this season, striking out 83 in 69 innings.

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.

Brewers add Jake McGee

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

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

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.

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.