Arbitration Eligibles: Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series.  Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.

The Brewers' arbitration class includes four relievers: Axford, Loe, Parra, and Veras.  Axford was removed from the closer role in July, but was soon worked back into save situations.  Saves pay in arbitration, and Axford still amassed 35 of them in 2012 (and 106 for his career).  At $5.1MM, he'll already be expensive for a reliever after his first time through arbitration, but Axford will be back in 2013.  

Earlier this month, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel noted that the Brewers' bullpen will be "extensively retooled" behind Axford and Jim Henderson, so it's possible Loe, Veras, and Parra are all removed one way or another.  Loe struggled this year but would get credit in arbitration for 51 career holds.  Veras' already-shaky control slipped in 2012, but he still racks up strikeouts.  Parra missed all of 2011 with an elbow injury and returned in 2012 with 58 2/3 relief innings.  He remains tough on lefties and still throws hard, so he might be worth a $1.6MM investment.  On the other hand, with a 5.06 ERA and tons of baserunners, it's possible the Brewers have seen enough.  My guess is that Brewers GM Doug Melvin will shop this trio prior to the November 30th non-tender deadline.  

Starters Estrada and Narveson are first-time arbitration eligible.  Estrada posted a 3.76 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, and 1.18 HR/9 in 23 starts, so he has a rotation spot locked up for 2013.  Narveson was serviceable in 2011, but he missed almost of all 2012 due to rotator cuff surgery.  If, as we're projecting, that keeps him under a million bucks for '13, the Brewers will probably tender him a contract.

The Brewers have three arbitration eligible position players: Morgan, Ishikawa, and Gomez.  Morgan lost his effectiveness against left-handed starters, and won't be worth his projected arbitration salary.  Ishikawa was decent in limited action, but there's still some danger of a non-tender.  Gomez hit a career-high 19 home runs, and is locked in as the Brewers' center fielder for next year.

The Brewers have a lot of borderline non-tender candidates in the bullpen, so it's tough to pin down a total salary estimate.  If only Axford, Gomez, Narveson, and Estrada are retained, that'd be a projected $10.9MM for four arbitration eligible players.

Matt Swartz's arbitration projections are available exclusively at MLB Trade Rumors.  To read more about his projection model, check out this series of posts.

11 Responses to Arbitration Eligibles: Milwaukee Brewers Leave a Reply

  1. daveineg 3 years ago

    There will be a fan revolt if Parra and Loe are back. Neither is worthy of being tendered. Nor is Nyjer Morgan. I don’t expect any of those guys back.

    All the others are virtual locks including Veras who is on much sounder ground than the other two relievers. Ishikawa may not be a total lock but at his projected amount, he’s still a decent value.

    • davbee 3 years ago

      I don’t see Veras back either. His hits and walks were both way up in 2012. I just get the sense the Brewers view him as someone who can’t be trusted. Of the three (him, Loe and Parra) he is the most reliable, but not enough so that he’s a lock to be around unless it’s a sweetheart deal for the club.

      • daveineg 3 years ago

        Veras didn’t allow a run in his last 14 appearances. His stuff is just too good to not bring back (79 K’s in 67 IP). He’s certainly capable of a rebound and they can’t gut the entire pen.

        Loe has times where his stuff is good, but when he’s off, he’s really hittable. Parra’s had way too many chances already.

        • SumatranRatMonkey 3 years ago

          Well said. This is exactly my assessment of the three pitchers. I wish they could nontender Parra and offer him a minor league contract but I bet someone else would pick him up then. I just have a hard time completely giving up on his potential, but he probably shouldn’t be in the Brewers major league pen next year, at least not to start the season.

      • Michael Smith 3 years ago

        There’s definitely a chance that Veras won’t be back, but they will probably at least offer arbitration, and wait and see how relief pitching is valued at the winter meetings… It’s too soon to tell, but 2.6MM doesn’t look like a deal over FA or a total ripoff at this point. Arbitration contracts aren’t guaranteed anyways, so the Brewers don’t really have much to lose by hanging onto him for now.

    • AaronAngst 3 years ago

      Loe has had periods in which he was extremely effective, and almost as many this year where he couldn’t get an out. I’d be okay with him returning in the hope that the second half of this season was just a bump in the road. Parra and Morgan should be gone for sure. Veras, Narveson, and Estrada will be tendered, with Ishikawa being a toss-up. If they’re comfortable with him playing a corner OF spot at times, I think he still makes sense for them.

      I hope Axford agrees to a lesser price based upon his struggles this year – $5.1M seems steep for a first year.

      I’d try to get a three year deal done with Gomez – maybe 3/$18M?

    • Maybe there’s a fan revolt, but Parra is relatively inexpensive, throws left-handed, throws hard, and was somewhat reliable in the first half of the season. Plus, he has been solid as a reliever before being hurt.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Melvin decides to just stick with Parra for 2013, for those reasons, and for the fact that Parra likely just wore out by the end of the year because he didn’t pitch at all in 2011.

      • AaronAngst 3 years ago

        A career 5.12 ERA and WHIP of 1.645 – those are the type of numbers that another team might overlook because of his stuff on a minor league deal, but he’s not worth north of a million to the Brewers.

      • Michael Smith 3 years ago

        Assuming the Brewers only retain Axford, Gomez, Narveson, and Estrada for a projected 10.9 million dollars, their payroll obligations for ’13 would be under 64 million. Call me crazy, but with 20+ million to spend this off-season, I think we can do a bit better than Parra. Maybe they will even get a lefty that’s been consistently good over the past couple of years… J.P. Howell???

  2. Douglas Bath 3 years ago

    pitching below replacement level gets you over 5 million for first time eligibility as a relief pitcher? I’m in the wrong business.

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