The Brewers came up short last night, and now one of the many concerns for GM Doug Melvin will be the status of his nine arbitration eligible players.
- First time: Casey McGehee, Nyjer Morgan, George Kottaras, Mitch Stetter
- Second time: Kameron Loe, Manny Parra, Josh Wilson
- Third time: Shaun Marcum, Carlos Gomez
Kottaras, Stetter, Wilson, and Parra appear to be non-tender candidates. Parra missed all of 2011, eventually needing elbow surgery, and he'd be owed a minimum of $960K if tendered a contract. The other three are in the $700-800K range, so a case could be made for keeping them. Kottaras was viewed as expendable by the Brewers when they outrighted him in April, though he ended up being useful in limited duty. Stetter missed most of the season with a hip injury, while Wilson didn't do anything noteworthy.
We can't rule out the possibility of a McGehee non-tender, but a trade seems more likely. The 29-year-old third baseman had a lost 2011 season, but he hit .291/.346/.477 over 1,064 plate appearances the previous two years. At a projected $3.1MM, some team will want to give him a shot.
Marcum is the team's most expensive arbitration eligible player at a projected $6.8MM. Peers such as Matt Garza, Jeremy Guthrie, John Danks, and Joe Saunders project in the $8-9MM range, so we'll have to see if they lift Marcum up a bit. Loe ($2.8MM), Morgan ($1.9MM), and Gomez ($1.8MM) should also be tendered contracts. Gomez had a rough year, missing time with a broken clavicle, but at $1.8MM his defense should make him worth retaining.
Including buyouts for Yuniesky Betancourt and Francisco Rodriguez, the Brewers have about $58.58MM in contractual commitments for 2012. If they retain McGehee, Morgan, Loe, Marcum, and Gomez, that'd add $16.4MM for a total of about $75MM. Assuming a steady payroll, that'd leave less than $9MM in 2012 flexibility before accounting for minimum salary players. McGehee's salary could be shedded, but without a payroll increase the Brewers do not have much room to spend this winter.