General Manager Doug Melvin and the Brewers will tender all three of their arbitration-eligible players contracts as the non-tender deadline approaches Tuesday night, reports Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.
McCalvy says the Brewers plan on keeping catcher Martin Maldonado, relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler and outfielder Gerardo Parra. The first two are arbitration-eligible for the first time this year while Parra is entering his last year of team control before free agency. Kintzler and Maldonado had been earning close to the minimum while Parra made $4.85 million in 2014 in a season split between the Diamondbacks and Brewers.
MLB Trade Rumors has the Brewers expected to pay an additional $8.3 million combined to the three players through arbitration. They have Parra earning $6.4 million, Kintzler at $1 million and Maldonado at $900,000. All three numbers, of course, represent raises to their current contracts.
Parra is expected to take a major role next year as the Brewers' fourth outfielder. After coming to Milwaukee via trade on July 31, he made 28 starts while appearing in 39 out of 52 possible games for the Brewers. Regarded as one of the best defensive outfielders in the league (a two-time Gold Glover and finalist this year), Parra hit a career-worst .261/.308/.369 with nine home runs in 2014, though those numbers improved a bit post-trade.
Maldonado, like Parra, is a defensive wiz, but his bat is questionable at best. In three seasons, he's actually had two above-expectations years at the plate but has a career .225/.291/.360 line in 200 games. He won't dazzle anyone, but his defensive abilities make him a fantastic backup to Jonathan Lucroy.
Kintzler had an up and down year in 2014, but finished with a very nice 3.24 to build on a breakout 2013 season that saw him post a 2.69 ERA. Kintzler isn't much for strikeouts (4.8 K/9 last year), but he'll get a ton of groundballs (57.3% ground ball rate in his career), which is something the Brewers covet. He won't be a bullpen ace, but he'll be a solid arm.
Though these three players will likely return, the Brewers could also non-tender other players under team control if they wanted. As none of those players are expensive, it's not a common strategy to cut them loose for nothing unless a roster spot is needed.
Arbitration dates for all three players will be set later in the winter. Doug Melvin rarely takes cases to arbitration, so it wouldn't be surprising to see deals worked out with all three before they get that far.