Tomorrow is the deadline for teams to decide if they're going to tender major league contracts to their arbitration eligible players. For the Brewers that includes Martin Maldonado, Brandon Kintzler, and Gerrardo Parra.
Once the decision is made to tender a player a contract, the team has until February to agree to salary terms with that player. Should they not be able to come to an agreement, an arbitration hearing will be held at which time an impartial arbiter will assign a salary figure.
Also it's possible, though unusual, for teams to later DFA or release players they've tendered contract to. When this happens, the team still pays a prorated portion of the previously agreed upon salary for that season. This happen at the end of spring training 2014 when the Brewers chose Lyle Overbay instead of Juan Francisco. They paid Francisco $331,967 as a result.
Martin Maldonado is an easy decision. He is entering his first year of arbitration and as such he doesn't stand to get a huge raise. Previously making at or near the league minimum, he can expect to make anywhere from $750,000 to $1 million. While his bat has been all over the place, his defense is top notch. He has a cannon for an arm and pitch framing that is excellent. The Brewers will tender him a contract.
Brandon Kintzler's fate is less certain. In 2013 he was the Brewers best reliever with 2.69 ERA in 77 IP (1.4 fWAR). In 2014 he was nowhere near as effective. His 3.24 ERA was still low, but his 1.23 HR/9 was absurd. Fangraphs pegged him as a negative contributor (-0.7 fWAR). He was hurt coming into the season and had surgery on his knee after the season ended. It's possible injuries were responsible for the downswing. Like Maldonado, Kintzler is entering his first year of arbitration. He too could make anywhere from $750k to $1 million. I do believe the Brewers will tender him a contract.
Gerardo Parra represents the Brewers toughest decision. Acquired in August, the former gold glove winner took over the 4th outfielder role previously occupied by Logan Schafer. Parra hit 268/318/390 (93 wRC+) and was worth 0.5 fWAR. It's not flashy, but by comparison it was a huge upgrade from Schafer's 181/278/276 (49 wRC+) and -0.1 fWAR. Parra is at least a full win better than the in-house alternative. He's clearly worth rostering. The question surrounds whether or not the Brewers feel his salary is worth it. Gerardo Parra will be entering his 4th and final year of arbitration. In 2014 he made $4.8 million and it's entirely possible he could see his salary rise to between $6 and $7 million.
Considering the rest of the team is almost entirely intact, I think the Brewers will tender him a contract. I think the question comes down to if they believe he'll help the team the most or if going after David Robertson or Andrew Miller would help the team more. However the Brewers haven't given a big time contract to a reliever in years and there is no indication that will change. Also, they do have money to pursue other relievers so it's not Parra or a reliever. It's Parra or the most expensive reliever. Again, I think the Brewers will tender him a contract.
The deadline for this decision is tomorrow December the 2nd at 10:59 pm CT. I'm actually mildly surprised the Brewers haven't taken care of this business already. Hopefully we'll get a decision by today, but if not then tomorrow night for sure. Of course it could be another 2 months before we finally learn these players' salary figures (though it should be noted the Brewers are very successful at avoiding arbitration hearings).
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs