MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers' contract negotiations with starter Zack Greinke and closer John Axford won't end with the start of regular season, two top officials said before Friday's season opener. General manager Doug Melvin confirmed that talks would continue with Greinke and Axford. Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio added that the same goes for Melvin himself, manager Ron Roenicke, COO Rick Schlesinger and executive vice president-finance and administration Bob Quinn, all of whom, Attanasio said, are up for extensions. "I know in our sport there is this demarcation of Opening Day, like everything needs to be done by Opening Day," Attanasio said. "We certainly don't operate like that."
Said Melvin: "I think we have to get away from the [concept] that there's a deadline on Opening Day on contracts. I don't think there is. ... In my mind, I don't necessarily believe in deadlines unless they're implemented by the Commissioner's Office. I think you can just go with the flow of it. If it happens, it happens, and if it doesn't, we still have the opportunity at the end of the year with any of our players."
The Brewers would prefer to lock up Greinke before he gets that far. He re-hired agent Casey Close this week, and Close and Melvin had a talk on Thursday evening. They plan to talk again Monday, Melvin said.Greinke is entering the final year of his contract and would be the top right-hander on the free-agent market. "There's no timeline on it," Melvin said. "I know players sometimes say they want to focus on the season, and that's fine. I respect that. It doesn't mean the GM and the agent can't talk behind the scenes. We want [Greinke] to go out and have a big year." Axford's situation is different. He will qualify for salary arbitration next winter as a "Super 2" player, and will be under club control for the 2013-16 seasons. The Brewers have discussed a deal with Axford's agent, Dan Horwits, that would buy out some or all of those seasons, and could extend into free agency. Melvin, the Brewers' GM since September 2002, has a contract that expires after this season. Roenicke is in the second season of a two-year deal, but he has a club option for 2013. Attanasio said talks were "progressing nicely" with Melvin and Roenicke.