MLB non-tender deadline: Brewers have until midnight ET to make decisions on Francisco, Estrada

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

One of these decisions is much easier than the other.

After roughly two months in limbo, today the Brewers must make a decision on their two arbitration-eligible players: either tendering them a one-year contract and beginning the arbitration process or non-tendering them and allowing them to become free agents.

The first decision is a pretty easy one, as the Brewers will almost certainly elect to keep Marco Estrada around. Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors predicts Estrada will receive $3.5 million for next season. Estrada is 30 and made 21 starts for the Brewers last season, posting a 3.87 ERA with two walks and 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings.

The second decision is a bit more challenging, and I wouldn't be shocked if the Brewers go right down to the wire before announcing their intentions regarding Juan Francisco. Francisco is arb-eligible for the first time after posting a .227/.296/.422 line in 2013 (including .221/.300/.433 in 89 games for the Brewers), and is still only 26 years old. Francisco has also appeared in 33 games for Licey in the Dominican Republic this winter and is hitting .276/.373/.422 there. Swartz predicts it'll cost the Brewers $1.4 million to keep him for 2014.

The Brewers entered the offseason with three arb-eligible players, but have since traded Burke Badenhop to Boston.

Any player tendered a contract today will have until March to reach an agreement on a new contract before potentially facing arbitration in March. Non-tendered players will immediately become free agents.

UPDATE: Both Francisco and Estrada will be tendered contracts, according to Tom Haudricourt.

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