PHOENIX -- Brewers closer John Axford is one of three Brewers still unsigned for 2011, and he revealed his negotiating strategy on Friday. "I'm holding out for a billion dollars," Axford said. He was kidding, of course. In reality there is little negotiating between the Brewers and their so-called zero to three players -- those without the Major League service time necessary to qualify for arbitration. The team uses a fixed formula to determine salaries for such players based on the annual Elias rankings and other factors, including awards.
It's why Zach Braddock, who spent most of last season in the big leagues, signed for $424,000, September call-up Mike McClendon would earn $416,000 in the Majors and Pat Egan, who has yet to throw a Major League pitch, signed for the league minimum of $414,000. If a player opts not to sign the Brewers' offer, the team can renew his contract for the salary of its choosing beginning Wednesday. Besides Axford, third baseman Casey McGehee and pitcher Mark Rogers remain unsigned. "It's not like I'm worried about it, by any means," Axford said. "As long as I get to play baseball, I'm cool with it." Axford said that he was about four days away from throwing against hitters for the first time. He was bumped back a bit by a bout of food poisoning early in camp, but has steadily worked his way back. Off the field, Axford is letting his Facebook friends choose his entry music for 2011. Fifteen songs are in the running, and Axford said he would eventually whittle the list down to several finalists.