Uncertain offseason begins as Brewers get knocked out of the postseason

The Milwaukee Brewers season is done.

The team fell 5-2 to Arizona Wednesday night, as the Diamondbacks finished off the quick two-game sweep at American Family Field, ending the year for the Crew and potentially the tenure of manager Craig Counsell.

The story was very much like a night earlier in a 6-3 loss. Milwaukee jumped out to an early lead, managing to score a pair of runs in the first thanks to a Sal Frelick sac-fly and a Willy Adames single. But the offense failed get anything more going and the pitching eventually faltered.

Freddy Peralta didn’t allow a hit through four innings before Arizona’s Alek Thomas hit a solo home run in the fifth. The floodgates opened in the sixth, with the Diamondbacks scoring four runs, including a two-run single from Ketel Marte to give them the lead for good.

Peralta’s final line saw him go five innings, allowing four runs on three hits while walking two and striking out five.

Milwaukee appeared to have Arizona starter Zac Gallen on the ropes early, forcing him to throw a bunch of pitches and putting together five hits against the All-Star in the first three innings. But he regrouped and rolled the rest of the way, going six innings and allowing just the two runs.

The Crew did put some pressure on the Arizona bullpen, loading the bases in the bottom of the eighth with just one out. But a couple of ground ball outs ended any hope of a rally. It was the third time in the series Milwaukee failed to score with the bases loaded, as the team finished 6-for-19 with runners in scoring position and left 18 runners on base in two games.

The Brewers are now 1-9 in their last 10 postseason games and haven’t won a series in the playoffs since the 2018 NLDS.

The loss also sets off an uncertain period for the club. That’s because Counsell’s contract expired the moment the final out happened in the bottom of the ninth. The all-time winningest manager in team history, Counsell reportedly turned down an extension during the season and said he wanted to take time and see what life had to offer before making a decision on his future.

There are decision to make with players on a number of fronts. That includes with first baseman Carlos Santana and catcher Victor Caratini set to be free agents, and trade deadline acquisition Mark Canha having a $12 million club option that needs to be addressed.

There are also potentially uncomfortable arbitration situations with pitchers Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff, along with shortstop Willy Adames.

Burnes can become a free agent after 2024, and after an ugly arbitration hearing last February, an extension is unlikely. It means he could be traded this winter or at some point next season as Milwaukee wouldn’t want to lose him for nothing, instead choosing to bolster a talented young nucleus already in the organization.

Woodruff can become a free agent after next year, so he also could be on the block if the Brewers decide they don’t want to spend what it’s going to take to keep the soon-to-be 31-year-old, especially after he pitched in just 11 games this year and missed the postseason because of an injury.

As for Adames, coming into the 2023 season he appeared on his way to a huge deal, whether with the Brewers or elsewhere. But a tough season at the plate clouds his future as well.

All of these decisions are on President of Baseball Operations Matt Arnold to figure out as he oversees one of the more pivotal offseasons in recent memory for the club.