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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Brewers Arbitration Updates

Yesterday clubs exchanged salary figures with arbitration eligible players for 2011. Remaining arbitration eligible Brewers include Rickie Weeks, Shaun Marcum, and Kameron Loe. Significant gaps persist between the club and all three players, Weeks being the largest.

I previously noted that the Brewers and Rickie Weeks had been discussing a multi-year deal. After exchanging figures yesterday the two sides' expectations for Weeks' salary in 2011 ($7.2 million vs $4.85 million) differed so widely that they decided to shelve the multi-year talks and instead focus on a one-year deal for 2011. So, the two sides will first work out Weeks' 2011 salary, and then likely proceed with talks on a multi-year extension throughout the 2011 season.

The Brewers will continue to negotiate with representatives for Weeks, Marcum ($5 million vs $3 million), and Loe ($1.65 million vs $1.055 million), hoping to reach agreement before arbitration hearings begin in February. Marcum is in line for a hefty raise after a solid season for Toronto in the difficult AL East (13-8, 3.64 ERA) in which he made $850K. But, a history of injuries should keep his salary closer to the Brewers' $3 million.

Despite the seemingly small difference between the figures for Kameron Loe, club officials say that his salary may be the most difficult to work out. Loe made $650K in 2010, coming to the Brewers after working for a year in Japan. He became an important part of the bullpen once he joined the team midway through the year. His salary request may be expected for a solid bullpen arm, but his lack of time logged at the major league level works against him.

Manny Parra settled with the Brewers for $1.2 million for 2011. Both he and Loe pitched well out of the bullpen last year, but Parra has pitched at the major league level (with mixed results, to say the least) for several years now. In determining salary in these situations, a player's entire major league career is taken into account (hence Prince's significant raise after an "off" year by his standards). It may not be a budget buster, but Assistant General Manager Gord Ash said yesterday that "it becomes a matter of principle" and that "we're prepared to pay the market rate." It's entirely possible that Loe ends up at an arbitration hearing. If so, I'm sure club officials hope to win this one, having lost last year to Corey Hart.

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