MILWAUKEE -- Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy and right-hander Dave Bush are each seeking about $3 million in arbitration according to figures filed Friday, the day on which eligible players and teams swapped contract proposals. Hardy, who made the National League All-Star team last season while earning $400,000, filed for a $3.05 million salary in 2008, and the Brewers offered $2.4 million. Bush, who made $450,000 in 2007, filed for $3 million while the Brewers offered $2.25 million. Teams and players can continue negotiating until each player's arbitration hearing, which will take place between Feb. 1 and Feb 20. Since taking the reigns following the 2002 season, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash have avoided going to a hearing with any player, though they came close in February 2006 with outfielder Brady Clark before agreeing to a last-minute deal.
"But that doesn't mean we wouldn't go," Melvin said. The Brewers are not discussing multiyear contracts with either Hardy or Bush, Melvin said. The sides often settle near the midpoint of proposals to avoid what can be contentious hearings; in Hardy's case the midpoint is $2.725 million, and in Bush's it is $2.625 million. Both players are arbitration-eligible for the first time. Melvin declined to say whether the gaps were manageable. "We don't really want to say much, because you're negotiating," Melvin said. "You're sort of playing poker now." The Brewers avoided arbitration with left-hander Chris Capuano late Thursday night. Earlier, the team inked similar deals with right-hander Claudio Vargas and left-hander Brian Shouse. Anderson out: The Cincinnati Reds claimed outfielder Drew Anderson off waivers on Friday, a player who was squeezed out when Milwaukee signed free agent Mike Cameron last week. The Brewers designated Anderson for assignment after inking Cameron to a one-year free-agent deal. Anderson, 26, was 1-for-9 in nine games with the Brewers last season and spent most of the year at Triple-A Nashville, where he hit .273 in 108 games with four homers, 28 doubles and three triples. Had he cleared waivers, Anderson could have served as insurance at Triple-A Nashville. He's not the only Brewer to be plucked away of late. Since late in the 2007 season, the Brewers have also lost pitchers Dennis Sarfate (Astros) and Greg Aquino (Orioles) to the waiver wire. "We've had a few guys claimed lately," Melvin said. "As you become a better team, roster spots become tighter. You run that risk when you're adding veteran players." Arctic tailgate: The Brewers announced that single-game tickets will go on sale at 9 a.m. CT on Saturday, Feb. 23, and for the second straight year the team will mark the occasion with an "Arctic tailgate party" at Miller Park. The first 2,000 people in line will receive free merchandise and food. The World Famous Klement's Racing Sausages, Bernie Brewer and Brewers alumni players will be on hand to greet the fans. Coffee and donuts will be served to the early arrivals, and Friday's Front Row will open at 8 a.m., with food service beginning at 9:30 a.m. The FanZone Store will also open at 8 a.m. The Brewers also announced plans for a lottery system for fans interested in attending the April 4 home opener against the San Francisco Giants. Through noon on Feb. 14, fans can visit Brewers.com and register for a chance to purchase four tickets. Those selected will be notified on Feb. 18. Additional standing-room-only tickets will be available for purchase at the Arctic Tailgate. For individual ticket buyers, the lottery and Arctic Tailgate event at Miller Park will be the only opportunities to secure seats for April 4. Fans can also score free Opening Day seats by purchasing a Brewers 9-Pack.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.