Aug 16, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Juan Francisco (right) hits a solo home run in the 2nd inning as Cincinnati Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco (left) watches at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at arbitration eligible Brewers


Now that the offseason is here for the Milwaukee Brewers, they will have to deal with a few arbitration cases that may not last a long time. This season, the Brewers have three players that are eligible for arbitration, so will they strike a deal with them or will these players be walking?

Let’s take a look at the players.

Marco Estrada: 7-4, 3.87 ERA, 1.08 ERA, .229 BAA, 128 innings pitched (21 starts) 

Marco Estrada was lights out after his return from the disabled list. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Estrada had a season that was evenly split into what you would call a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” type scenario. Before going on the disabled list in June, Estrada was a mess with a bloated ERA of 5.32 and was just pounded in nearly each start. After his return on August 7, Estrada was dominant, posting a 2.16 ERA in his starts until the end of the season. He definitely was able to pick up the pace as the Brewers’ second half ended in a winning record despite the losing season.

As the Brewers try to craft next season’s starting rotation, they’ll want to keep Estrada in mind once the arbitration talks start. In 2013, Estrada earned $1.9 million and it’s realistic to think that he’ll be asking for a price around there again, if not maybe increased by a million or so. For the type of pitcher he can be, Estrada is worth every cent and $1-3 million is almost next to nothing for a guy who can not only post great numbers, but also be a guy who can go seven innings or more, something the team had struggled with. Hopefully the Brew Crew and Estrada agree upon a monetary value because he could be a big part of the rotation next season.

Juan Francisco: 89 games played, .221/.300/.433, 13 HRs, 32 RBIs, 26 runs

This season, the Brewers faced much adversary at first base when all three players went down due to injuries. Thus, the team traded for Francisco, whose season made more twists and turns than a Six Flags’ roller-coaster. When Francisco came to Milwaukee in June, he had a very hard time at the plate with a .200 batting average and an on-base percentage of .280 that month. September was even more abysmal for him as he was eventually replaced in the everyday line-up by Sean Halton, Yuniesky Betancourt and Jonathan Lucroy as Francisco hit a poor .121 in 33 at-bats (19 games).

Francisco did provide some solid power in the Brewers’ line-up, but much like what they had gotten out of the struggling Rickie Weeks, Francisco wasn’t really turning any heads. Heading into next season, I’m not so sure the Brewers will really have a use for him especially with general manager Doug Melvin talking about re-signing Taylor Green and Corey Hart. This season, Francisco made $496,250 and I can’t see him getting much more than that in 2014 should both sides agree to a contract. Francisco is an okay fill in option, but going forward, I don’t see how he can be utilized as his struggles completely overshadowed any success.

Burke Badenhop was called on quite a bit out of the bullpen. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Burke Badenhop: 63 games, 2-3,  3.47 ERA, 1.187 WHIP, 62.1 innings pitched, .266 BAA

As the Brew Crew wiped a good majority of the 2012 bullpen away, Badenhop was brought in to help clean up the mess for the 2013 season. Badenhop did well this season and aside from closer Jim Henderson and reliever Brandon Kintzler, he was one of the most called upon relievers from manager Ron Roenicke‘s bullpen. April was the roughest month for him as his ERA blew up to 5.82, but he would finish pretty strong with help from an electric month of May with an ERA of 1.13.

The Brewers know full well that the bullpen still will always face problems, but hopefully not like the disaster of 2012. Badenhop proved that in most cases, he’s a reliable pitcher to bring in and get outs, though he wasn’t as sharp as he was in 2012 with the Tampa Bay Rays. Regardless, Badenhop will more than likely be back in 2014 and there probably won’t be a huge jump in his contract numbers as he made $1.55 million this year.

So what do you think? Who should the Brewers try to strike a deal with and who should they let walk?

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