If they cannot reach a compromise, the team can renew a player's salary at a figure of its choosing, as long as it represents at least 80 percent of what the player was paid the previous season. In March 2008, for example, the Brewers renewed Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and Corey Hart all on the same day.The Brewers attempt to take the subjectivity out of such negotiations by paying pre-arbitration players based on a system of performance- and awards-based criteria. The sticking point with Gallardo, according to Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash, who handled negotiations with Gallardo's agent, former Major Leaguer Bobby Witt, was that one criterion for the club's pay scale is the Elias rankings system, which takes into account a player's past two seasons. Since Gallardo missed most of 2008 with knee injuries, he lost points and is compensated slightly less than some Brewers who have gone through the system before him. "We talked the past couple of days but nothing came of it, so we proceeded [with a renewal]," said Ash, who handled discussions with Gallardo's agent, Bobby Witt. "I spoke with both Bobby Witt and Yovani, and while both don't agree with our decision, they were very professional. I don't sense any negativity right now at all." Gallardo is on track to be arbitration-eligible following the 2010 season and would be one of the Brewers' key cases. Fellow starter Manny Parra projects as a first-time eligible player, and Fielder, Hart and second baseman Rickie Weeks will be eligible for the final time before hitting the free-agent market following the 2011 season. The Brewers could re-engage with Witt at some point about a multiyear deal to buy out some of Gallardo's arbitration seasons, but if they do, Ash said club officials would not talk about it publicly.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.