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.

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