Estrada signs; only Hall left

Catcher Johnny Estrada inked a one-year deal Friday, the fourth of five players offered arbitration in the second round to sign before a hearing (Vargas agreed to the midpoint about a week ago). Estrada was the first player to sign below the midpoint (Capuano, Mench, and Vargas all signed for the halfway point between the clubs offer and their submitted figure), but Estrada’s contract includes an “incentive” clause that would bring his $3.4 million base up to the $3.45 million midpoint should he either start 125 games or get 500 plate appearances, the latter being a virtual certainty unless he gets hurt.

Tom Haudricourt is also reporting that Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin, down to one remaining unsigned arb player, is actively pursuing a multi-year deal with Billy Hall and his agent. Melvin is reportedly pursuing at least a 3-year deal, as Hall has all three years of arbitration-eligibility remaining. If a multi-year deal cannot be reach, the Crew is only on the hook for $4.125 million, at most, and that is only if the case goes to arbitration and the panel opts for Hall’s figure. If that arbitration figure weren’t in play, Hall would likely command at least $20 million over a 3-year deal, and probably closer to $7-$8 million per season…so, the question then becomes, does Mark Attanasio give his blessing to pay Hall around $6 million this year in exchange for two more years at a locked-in rate…more likely is a 2-year deal with incentives, plus a club option for a third year.

David Hannes
Copyright 2007

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