According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Brewers are talking to closer John Axford about a multi-year contract extension.
Axford, who will be 29 to start the season this year and converted 46 saves last season – a Brewers franchise record – will be up for arbitration after 2012.
Though he would not hit free agency until after the Brewers’ 2016 season, Axford will be arbitration eligible after this season and figures to have a case to be paid among the top closers in the league.
The Brewers are trying to buy out some of his arbitration years, avoiding the dreaded and sometimes contentious arbitration hearings – along with the costly judgments that would probably go in Axford’s favor. Or maybe the Brewers just feel they have had their fair share of processes involving independent arbitrators deciding on the fate of their players for one lifetime.
Given that the Brewers are already paying Francisco Rodriguez $8 million to be their setup man, an Axford extension figures to have the Brewers paying around $15 million at least for two bullpen pitchers.