Marco Estrada, Juan Francisco tendered contracts | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

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The Brewers had a quiet non-tender deadline day Monday, but that sort of thing will happen when you spend the past few months cutting loose anyone you likely would have non-tendered, anyway. They ended up tendering contracts to the only two arbitration-eligible players they had left, Marco Estrada and Juan Francisco.

Estrada, projected by MLB Trade Rumors to make around $3.5 million after arbitration this winter, figures to be a lock to join Kyle Lohse, Yovani Gallardo and Wily Peralta in the starting rotation. After missing two months with a hamstring injury, Estrada was one of the Brewers’ best starters — he held opponents to a line of .165/.207/.260 over his last nine starts and struck out 56 while walking just 11 over 58.2 innings. In 53 career starts, he has a 3.94 ERA and carries a K/BB ratio of 4.28. In a world where Phil Hughes is going to make $8 million a year for the next three years, you give Marco Estrada $3.5 million without batting an eye.

So while it sounds like tendering Estrada a contract was a no-brainer, apparently there was some debate when it came to Francisco. While flashing tons of power (13 home runs in only 270 plate appearances), he struggled to make contact (striking out in 35.2% of his plate appearances) and struggled even more adjusting to a new defensive position. His defense was so bad at first, FanGraphs had his WAR in Milwaukee at -1.3 in just 89 games as he struggled to do things like catch the baseball.

Still, even as a defensive liability, Francisco could still provide a decent amount of value to the 2014 Brewers in a bench role. His raw power may be unrivaled by anyone else on the roster, and his ability to backup both first and third base is a plus when you consider Aramis Ramirez’s age and injury history. At the very least, you could do worse for the $1.5 million or so he’s projected to earn through the arbitration process. It seems pretty clear that the Brewers won’t be content going into next season with Francisco as the starting first baseman, but it’s hard to mind him being Plan B or C. It’s also hard to give up on that kind of power.

As for the guys the Brewers let go before even getting to today’s deadline — John Axford, Mat Gamel and Burke Badenhop — they’ve seen mixed results. Badenhop was not among the non-tenders announced by the Red Sox Monday, while Gamel was non-tendered. Axford was still waiting on official word from the Cardinals a couple hours before the 11 p.m. central time deadline, but previous reports had him unlikely to be tendered, facing a payday north of $4 million in arbitration.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Chad says: December 3, 2013

    I would personally love to see Gamel back as a minor league FA and give him another shot

    • dbug says: December 3, 2013

      It’s hard to know where he might fit at this point. With Morris and Rogers in the minors and presumably a FA at 1st base in the majors, it would be hard to find a place for him. If they strike out with all other options, would anyone really feel good with a Gamel/Francisco/Halton combination at 1st base?

  2. joe abraham says: December 3, 2013

    If they get Marco for $3.5M it is a steal compared to what other teams are paying for starters much worse than Estrada. A good #5. Francisco is another story. Why would the Crew even want to offer him anything, much less an increase in pay? His occassional power is far and away offset by his Ks and horrific glove work. Only reason I can see is if they are going to use him as a throw-in DH type in a trade to an AL team.

  3. tom moses says: December 3, 2013

    I like the Estrada thing if they can get him for the 3-4 million. Francisco is a joke. Why-why-why? I am hearing rumors from WhiteSox fans about a trade for Gallardo (Quintanna and prospect) I would love that trade because it brings a good, young lefty to the brewers and rids them of about 10 million in salary.


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