Brewers Notes: Attanasio, Garza, Lohse, Duke

Earlier, we learned that the Brewers are reportedly considering whether to offer young shortstop Jean Segura a contract extension, and if so on what terms. MLBTR's Steve Adams recently broke down the team's offseason moves. Here are more notes out of Milwaukee:

  • In a fascinating interview, Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio spoke with Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports about a host of topics, including the inside stories of his purchase of the club and the signings of Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza. Explaining that the club has gone away from its once "very rigid budgets" in favor of general fiscal responsibility while stretching the budget when it makes sense, Attanasio said that the Garza signing was a reflection of the organization's desire to add an impact pitcher at the MLB level. The ball got rolling during a conversation at Ryan Braun's wedding between the owner and agent Nez Balelo. Per Attanasio: "So the next morning, I called [GM] Doug [Melvin] and said, 'How about Matt Garza?' Doug's first question was, 'Isn't he too expensive?'"
  • Attanasio explains that the Lohse signing came together quite differently; afterward, he says, agent Scott Boras remarked that he'd set a personal record in call volume to ownership to complete the deal. Attanasio said the complicated decision came down to his desire to "bring up the quality of the product we were giving our fan base," even if it was not going to change the team's destiny for 2013.
  • In the case of Lohse, moreover, Attanasio saw a chance to take advantage of a reluctant market. He rightly echoed his GM in noting that the value of draft picks lies in the drafted players' trade value as well as their ultimate MLB production. But, he indicated, their value is not limitless: "What happened with Kyle, the new CBA had this rule about giving up a draft choice. And giving up a draft choice evolved in our sport from giving up a lottery ticket to giving up your first born." As I wrote in two recent pieces – contextualizing and assessing the qualifying offer system — organizational reluctance to give up picks, potentially even going beyond teams' internal valuations, could have a major impact on how a compensation free agent's market develops. 
  • Now that the club has put together a potentially solid rotation, and overseen the return of Ryan Braun, Attanasio says the club is looking to be a winner, tweets David Laurila of Fangraphs from the ongoing SABR Analytics Conference in Phoenix. The club is prepared to be aggressive at the trade deadline rather than adhering to a budget, Attanasio indicated. 
  • Meanwhile, down at camp, southpaw Zach Duke is making a good impression as he looks to make the squad as a non-roster invitee, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel"He's doing a great job of letting us know that he's definitely a guy we should look at," said manager Ron Roenicke. "He's got better stuff than I thought, maybe because I saw him so much as a starter. Now that he's a reliever, maybe his stuff is different. I like what I see." Indeed, Duke has continued to work on honing his repertoire for a pen role. Of course, with Will Smith now clearly locked in as the top lefty in the pen after losing his chance at a rotation spot through the Garza signing, the well-travelled 30-year-old still faces an uphill battle to crack the Opening Day roster.

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