Devin Williams to Miss Three Months Due to Stress Fractures: Impact on Brewers Bullpen

The news that Milwaukee Brewers closer Devin Williams was diagnosed with two stress fractures in his back and is expected to miss around three months comes as a significant blow to the National League Central champions. The Brewers were already dealing with a lack of high-end starting pitching, following the trade of All-Star starter Corbin Burnes and the season-ending shoulder surgery for All-Star starter Brandon Woodruff. The team was relying on their deep bullpen to make up for these losses, with Williams being a key piece of their relief corps. With Williams now sidelined for an extended period, first-year manager Pat Murphy will have to find alternative options to close out games.

Dr. Robert Watkins, a back specialist, diagnosed Williams with stress fractures on both sides of his T12 vertebra. While surgery is not required for his recovery, Williams will be shut down from throwing for six weeks and will then start a slow buildup to return to full strength. The back issues initially began for Williams in September, but he chose to pitch through them during the team’s push for a playoff berth. After taking a month off in the offseason, Williams appeared to be in good health heading into spring training. However, the back pain resurfaced during his bullpen session, leading to the diagnosis of stress fractures.

Despite having a deep bullpen, including talented relievers like Abner Uribe, Joel Payamps, Trevor Megill, Bryse Wilson, Elvis Peguero, and Hoby Milner, Devin Williams’ absence leaves a significant void. Williams, a two-time NL Reliever of the Year and a two-time All-Star, has been a dominant force out of the bullpen for the Brewers. His Airbender changeup is considered one of the best pitches in baseball, and his performance on the mound has earned him accolades like the NL Rookie of the Year award in 2020 and the Trevor Hoffman Award for the best reliever in the NL.

Williams, who was the subject of trade rumors during the offseason, is set to earn $7 million this season and will become a free agent after the 2025 season. The timing of his injury raises questions about the impact it may have on his future contract negotiations and his long-term viability as a closer. The financial implications of his extended absence will also need to be factored into the Brewers’ plans for the upcoming season.

Devin Williams’ injury presents a significant challenge for the Milwaukee Brewers as they look to defend their NL Central title. The team will need to rely on their depth in the bullpen and the emergence of other relievers to fill the void left by Williams’ absence. The impact of his injury on the team’s performance and long-term plans remains to be seen, but it is clear that the Brewers will need to adjust their strategy moving forward.

MLB

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