Williams will be out for about three months with back injuries


Brewers star closer Devin Williams has been diagnosed with two stress fractures in his back, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN (X link).
He’ll be shut down entirely for six weeks and is expected to be out of MLB action for around three months.
It’s a massive hit to the Milwaukee bullpen two weeks before Opening Day.
Williams made two appearances this spring before pausing his work as he battled back soreness.
He visited a spine specialist this afternoon.
That examination revealed the fractures.
Fortunately, Passan indicates that Williams is expected to make a full recovery.
That the injury shouldn’t affect Williams throughout his career is a positive, but there’s no question it’s a significant loss for the first half of the upcoming season.
The two-time All-Star is among the best relievers in baseball.
He has turned in a sub-2.00 ERA in consecutive years, including a sparkling 1.53 mark over 58 2/3 frames last season.
Williams shut down 36 games in 40 attempts in his first full campaign as a closer.
He rode his patented wiffle ball changeup, the so-called Airbender, to a massive 37.7% strikeout percentage.
Williams was named the National League’s Reliever of the Year for the second time in his career.
As is the case with virtually every Milwaukee player approaching free agency, Williams found himself in trade rumors during the offseason.
That speculation returned after they dealt Corbin Burnes to the Orioles, but Milwaukee didn’t find a deal to their liking.
They elected to keep him at the back of the bullpen instead.
Williams should eventually return to the ninth inning, but he’ll now begin the season on the 60-day injured list and will be out of action at least into the middle of June.
It’s unclear if Milwaukee skipper Pat Murphy will go with a committee approach to the ninth inning or pick a defined closer while Williams is on the shelf.
If they go the latter route, any of Joel Payamps, Abner Uribe or Trevor Megill could be candidates.
Payamps was somewhat quietly one of the more productive relievers in the NL last season.
The secondary piece acquired in the William Contreras/Sean Murphy three-team trade, Payamps turned in a 2.55 ERA with plus strikeout, walk and ground-ball numbers across 70 1/3 innings.
Uribe has more traditional closing stuff.
One of the hardest throwers in the sport, he averaged a blistering 99.4 MPH on his sinker as a rookie.
Uribe turned in a 1.76 ERA behind a 53% grounder percentage and a 30.7% strikeout rate over his first 30 2/3 MLB innings.
It’s eye-popping stuff, but his command could keep him out of the ninth inning.
Uribe walked more than 15% of opponents last season.
Megill, acquired in a minor trade with the Twins last April, struck out nearly 36% of batters faced as a Brewer.
He worked to a 3.31 ERA through 32 2/3 frames.
Megill averaged 99.1 MPH on his heater, which he paired with a wipeout curveball in the mid-80s.
Having that trio of power arms means Murphy should still have a good relief group with which to work, yet there’s no one who can be expected to replicate the production that Williams posts on an annual basis.
Milwaukee controls Williams via arbitration through the 2025 season.
He’s making $7MM this season.
Milwaukee has a $10MM option for next year but could retain him in arbitration even if they opt for a $250K buyout instead of the option value.
If Williams progresses as expected, he should be back on the mound before the deadline.
There’s a chance he’d be a midseason trade candidate if the Brewers unexpectedly fall out of contention in the NL Central, but the offers they receive could be complicated by other teams’ trepidation about the injury.

Two stress fractures in Devin Williams’ back have been diagnosed, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN (X link), the star closer for the Milwaukee Brewers. He is anticipated to miss three months of MLB action after being completely sidelined for six weeks.

Two weeks before Opening Day, it’s a serious blow to the Milwaukee bullpen. Williams battled back soreness to make two appearances this spring before halting his work. He went to see a spine doctor this afternoon. The cracks were discovered during that examination. Thankfully, Passan says Williams should recover fully.

Williams’ injury shouldn’t have a lasting effect on him, which is encouraging, but it will undoubtedly be a major setback for the first half of the next season. One of baseball’s best relievers is the two-time All-Star. In the past few seasons, he has recorded an ERA under 2.00, with a standout performance of 1.00 over 58 2/3 frames in the previous campaign. In his first full season as a closer, Williams shut out 36 games in 40 attempts. His trademark wiffle ball changeup, known as the “Airbender,” propelled him to an astounding 37.7% strikeout rate. Williams received his second career award as the National League’s Reliever of the Year.

Williams was the subject of trade rumors in the offseason, as is the case with almost every Milwaukee player heading toward free agency. Following the trade of Corbin Burnes to the Orioles, there was more conjecture, but Milwaukee was unable to come to a satisfactory agreement. He was instead kept at the rear of the bullpen by their decision. Although Williams will now start the season on the 60-day injured list and be sidelined until at least the middle of June, he should eventually make his way back to the ninth inning.

In the ninth inning, it’s unclear if Milwaukee manager Pat Murphy will choose a designated closer or stick with a committee approach while Williams is out. Any of Joel Payamps, Abner Uribe, or Trevor Megill could be a contender if they choose the latter course. Payamps was one of the NL’s more effective relievers last season, albeit in a rather understated way. Payamps, the secondary player acquired in the three-team trade involving William Contreras and Sean Murphy, recorded a 2 point 55 ERA over 70 1/3 innings while also recording plus strikeout, walk, and ground ball numbers.

Uribe’s closing remarks are more conventional. As a rookie, he averaged a scorching 99.4 points per minute on his sinker, making him one of the hardest throwers in the sport. After 30 2/3 innings in MLB, Uribe recorded a 1:76 ERA with a 53 percent grounder percentage and a 30 point7 percent strikeout rate. Although it’s astounding material, his command might prevent him from playing in the ninth inning. Last season, Uribe walked over 15% of opponents.

Megill struck out almost 36% of batters faced during his time with the Brewers after being acquired in a minor trade with the Twins in April of last year. He pitched 32 2/3 frames at a 3 point 31 ERA. Using a wipeout curveball in the mid-80s, Megill combined his heater to achieve an average speed of 99.1 mph. Having those three power arms means Murphy should still have a solid relief group to work with, but nobody can be expected to match Williams’ yearly production.

Through arbitration, Milwaukee will have control over Williams until the 2025 campaign. This season, he’s making $7 million. Milwaukee has a $10 million option for the following season; however, they may choose to keep him in arbitration if they choose to accept a $250 thousand buyout in lieu of the option value. If Williams continues to pitch as anticipated, he ought to return to the mound prior to the deadline. If the Brewers unexpectedly lose their NL Central lead, he might be a trade candidate in the middle of the season, but other teams’ concerns about the injury might make it difficult for them to accept offers.

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