With the deadline to tender players a contract coming up on Thursday, I was planning on posting about who was likely to be tendered (or more accurately, non-tendered) sometime in the next couple days. Looks like Tom Haudricourt beat me to the punch on that one, though, breaking down the Brewers' seven arbitration-eligible players into "guaranteed tenders," "possible tenders," and "possible non-tenders," so I'll shift gears a bit and talk about what should happen, not necessarily what will happen.
2010 Salary: $440k
The Manny Parra Starting Experience is probably dead and buried, unless Ron Roenicke thinks Rick Kranitz can find something to "fix" him. I'm not exactly optimistic Parra's results as a starter will improve until the defense behind him improves. Since it'll be easier to just put Parra in the bullpen and let him enjoy success pitching 1 or 2 innings at a time, I don't see him back in the rotation. With that said, the bullpen is a great place for high-K, high-BB guys like Parra. He was good in the role last year, so I see no reason to non-tender him in his first year of eligibility.
2010 Salary: $410k
The addition of Brandon Boggs and interest in Eric Hinske may mean the Brewers are looking to move on, but Inglett was at least a good bat off the bench in 2010 (even if he couldn't stay healthy enough to play the field). I wouldn't count on him having as much success in 2011, but as a first-time arby player, you should at least tender him the contract. If you get to spring training and realize Boggs and whoever else are better, you can always release him without having to pay the full 2011 salary.
Decision: Tender, possible spring release
2010 Salary: $650k
I would argue Loe was more valuable to last season's bullpen than John Axford was, considering he was the team's go-to man when things got dire in the middle innings. Without him, Axford simply doesn't get many save opportunities. While giving money to relievers is always risky, he's shown enough that the Brewers shouldn't be afraid of a modest raise to around $1 million. Give him a contract and don't think twice.
2010 Salary: $1.15MM
Probably the most interesting case to me. It certainly appears that he's being muscled out of the team's plans, with Lorenzo Cain the likely starter in center heading into spring training, Boggs and Chris Dickerson able to play center, and Gomez's own general lack of improvement. I'm sure there are plenty of people who want to see the Brewers just wash their hands of him and cut him loose, but he shouldn't make much more than he did last year and still has a minor league option left. Granted, Gomez doesn't strike me as someone who would take a demotion well at this point, but his defense makes him worth keeping around. The fact he finished last year with a fWAR over 1 despite being putrid with the bat should tell you just how good that D was.
Decision: Tender, possible spring release
2010 Salary: $950k
Like Gomez, I can understand why some would want him gone, but to me he's still a valuable part of the bullpen. He had major problems keeping the ball on the ground last season, but he did finish the year with a FIP of 3.74 (normalize the home run rate, and his xFIP was 3.39). His 2010 K/9 of 11.45 was simply incredible, and from a non-statistical standpoint, I like how his stuff varies from the rest of the fireballing bullpen. Even if you have to pay him a little over $1 million, you're still going to get some bang for your buck.
2010 Salary: $10.5MM
Obviously tender a contract, and hope Scott Boras is at least willing to negotiate a one-year contract rather than actually taking the case to arbitration. That doesn't seem likely, though...everything seems to point to Fielder looking to make as much cash as possible in his last arby year.
Decision: Tender, and pray for the best
2010 Salary: $2.75MM
Like Fielder, you obviously tender him, but there at least seems to be hope for a long-term extension here. He'll likely be in line for a large raise either way, which means finding a potential midpoint for a one-year contract could be tricky. Still, it appears that the club wants to keep him long-term, and he still wants to stay long-term. Wouldn't be surprised to see something hammered out eventually.
Decision: Tender, Sign This Man.
2010 Salary: $2.025MM
I think we were all expecting some regression from Coffey in 2010, but I don't know if anyone was expecting a FIP over 4. His K/9 actually improved from 7 in 2009 to 8.1 in 2010, but the BB/9 also went up from 2.3 to 3.3. The hits also increased, leading to a scary jump in WHIP from 1.159 to 1.412. Just like I didn't think Coffey was as good as he was in 2009, I don't think he's as bad as he was in 2010. The fact that this is Coffey's last year of arby eligibility and the Brewers have so many young arms that could produce similar numbers for probably close to $2 million less than what he'd make in 2011 leads me to believe that the Brewers should seriously consider non-tendering him. He was a nice scrapheap find for Doug Melvin, but it's getting to the point where the team has better options that will allow them to save money.