Alcides Escobar Rumors

Brewers Hope To Add Two Starters

Brewers GM Doug Melvin spoke to reporters today, and Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has quotes.  A few highlights:

  • Melvin feels that re-signing closer Trevor Hoffman early will aid the Brewers in attracting free agent starting pitchers.  Melvin hopes to add two starters.
  • When asked about trading Prince Fielder or Ryan Braun, Melvin responded, "I don't see that happening."  Might as well close the book on those rumors.
  • The Brewers view Rickie Weeks as their starting second baseman, which implies they'll let free agent Felipe Lopez leave. 
  • Melvin told Haudricourt it would "be very difficult" for the Brewers to keep both J.J. Hardy and Alcides Escobar.  Hardy could be a great pickup given the scarcity of shortstops.  Also, Haudricourt thinks Mat Gamel could be available in trade.

Brewers Face Plenty Of Roster Decisions

After a tremendous run last year that resulted in the club's first playoff berth in a quarter-century, the Brewers sat 13.5 GB of a playoff spot coming into today's action, and sport the National League's worst starting rotation thanks to their 5.22 ERA. As Adam McCalvy of writes, the club has a ton of roster decisions to make this offseason, although GM Doug Melvin says "We've got a lot of decisions, and none of them will be discussed until the end of the season."

Some of the issues facing the Brew Crew this offseason are…

  • Impending Free Agents: Trevor Hoffman, Claudio Vargas, Mike Cameron, Felipe Lopez, Jason Kendall, Craig Counsell, Frank Catalanotto, and Corey Patterson will all be free agents after the season. The clubs holds a $3.7MM option for David Weathers next year ($400K buyout), and there's a $6.5MM mutual option for Braden Looper ($1MM buyout) that McCalvy says the club "will almost certainly pick up."
  • Arbitration Eligibles: Dave Bush, Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks, Seth McClung, J.J. Hardy, Jody Gerut, and Todd Coffey are all eligible for salary arbitration. Coffey, who's been the club's primary setup man, figures to get a nice raise over his current $800K salary.
  • Starting Pitching: As I mentioned earlier, Milwaukee sports the NL's worst starting staff. McCalvy reports that "Melvin promised this week that he would be much more aggressive this winter in his search for answers," and that the club might take a "little more chances and risks" than they're accustomed to taking.

The Brewers also have questions about the key up-the-middle positions. They have to sort out the Hardy-Alcides Escobar situation at short, and decide whether to try and retain Lopez or give Weeks another shot at second base duty. Cameron and Kendall have both made it clear they'd like to return, but those decisions will have to wait until the winter.

Milwaukee also must figure out third base, and whether Mat Gamel or Casey McGehee deserves the job. Prince Fielder has the other corner infield spot locked down, and is under contract for $10.5MM next year before being arbitration eligible in 2011, his final year before free agency. McCalvy also mentions that manager Ken Macha faces a lame-duck year next season, and that Melvin is fielding questions about whether another managerial change may be in order.

Odds And Ends: Hardy, Johnson, Mets

More links as we await the next waiver trade…

  • The Brewers put off J.J. Hardy's free agency until after 2011 by keeping him in the minors for 20 days, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out. This should boost Hardy's trade value after the season, when the Brewers will presumably listen to trade offers, now that Alcides Escobar is contributing in the majors.
  • Randy Johnson expects to return to the Giants as a reliever, according to the AP (via FOX Sports).
  •'s Marty Noble suggests Jayson Werth and Derrek Lee would be good fits for the Mets this offseason.  

Perrotto’s Latest: Twins, Damon, Franklin, Penny, Dye

John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus brings us his latest from around the leagues:

  • When they come off the DL, Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins will be used in relief. So, the Twins are hoping to add a starter who can pitch in the playoffs. This means they have until tomorrow at midnight to do so.
  • The Yankees would like to re-sign Johnny Damon to a one year deal and give Austin Jackson a second year to develop at Triple-A, while pursuing Matt Holliday and Jason Bay in the offseason.
  • The Marlins and Giants are frontrunners to land Brad Penny.
  • The Cardinals expect to exercise Ryan Franklin‘s $2.75MM club option and then sign an extension with their closer for 2011.
  • The Royals want to extend G.M. Dayton Moore who is signed through 2010.
  • Perrotto says the Cubs are likely to deal Milton Bradley this winter, even if it means eating a large portion of the $21MM owed to him through 2011.
  • Jermaine Dye will more than likely not see his $12MM option exercised by the White Sox after a dip in production in tandem with the salary demands of Alex Rios and Jake Peavy.
  • For the postseason, the Dodgers are seeking “a left-handed bat with power” for their bench.
  • The Nats are auditioning Livan Hernandez as a veteran innings eater for 2010.
  • The Diamondbacks may non-tender Conor Jackson.
  • Brewers manager Ken Macha said G.M. Doug Melvin “scoured the area for pitching” before the deadline but was unable to add a starter because he refused to trade Mat Gamel or Alcides Escobar.
  • After making seven trades this year, the Pirates are the youngest team in the MLB.

Brewers Rumors: Hardy, Escobar, Sheets

Lots of Brewers news this Wednesday morning. Here's the latest:

  •'s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers fired pitching coach Bill Castro and demoted J.J. Hardy to Triple A. The Alcides Escobar era begins in Milwaukee.
  • In a different article, McCalvy writes that the Brewers are still looking for a starter on the waiver wire, though no top arms are available.
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin has not heard from Casey Close, who represents Ben Sheets and wonders if the agent's silence means Sheets won't pitch this year: "I think he would call clubs if [Sheets] were going to pitch, wouldn't he?" 
  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel files the team's moves under the "What Have We Got to Lose?" category.

Brewers GM On Trades, Free Agents, Draft

Brewers GM Doug Melvin said on 1250 WSSP in Milwaukee that he's glad he didn't go after some of the free agent arms that were available last offseason. Here's the clip and here are the details:

  • Melvin admits that pitchers like John Smoltz and Oliver Perez were tempting, but says he's glad he resisted.
  • The Brewers were interested in Jarrod Washburn at the deadline, but didn't have enough young pitching to complete a deal with the Mariners. 
  • The Brewers were in on the Roy Halladay sweepstakes, but were reluctant to give up Alcides Escobar and Mat Gamel 
  • Melvin sounds hesitant to experiment with Rickie Weeks in center field.  
  • The Brewers will have some "some flexibility" to add free agents this offseason. 
  • Melvin expects the Red Sox to pursue free agent position players aggressively. 
  • As of today, Melvin says he's not motivated to move J.J. Hardy, but hints that the Brewers could move him after the season to make room for Alcides Escobar.
  • Melvin's pleased with the progress 2009 first rounder Eric Arnett has made.

Failed Deadline Blockbusters

Today was hectic, but imagine how much wilder it would have been if these two deals had gone through:

  • Via Twitter, Jon Heyman of reports that the Padres almost dealt Heath Bell and Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers for James Loney, Russell Martin, Blake DeWittJames McDonald and Ivan Dejesus. Wow.
  • Danny Knobler of CBS Sports confirms that the division rivals considered a blockbuster deal involving those players.
  • Knobler also says the Rangers and Angels both pursued Heath Bell aggressively this afternoon. The Angels and Padres were discussing Jose Arredondo, Sean O'Sullivan and Sean Rodriguez
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin says his team was involved in a "big one that didn't happen," according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • The Crew also had interest in Jarrod Washburn and Brian Bannister.
  • Melvin says everyone asked the Brewers for Mat Gamel and Alcides Escobar. Since the Brewers didn't want to deal either prospect and don't have the young pitching to offer rival teams, they had limited options.

Deadline Roundup: Mets, Washburn, Nats, Rays

Two Cy Young Award winners were traded this deadline and neither one of them was Roy Halladay. It's been a wild few days. Here's a recap of the action and here are some more details and reactions:

FOX Sports On Red Sox, D’Backs, Bell

12:59pm: FOX Sports reports that Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski is aggressively looking for a hitter.

The Brewers are reluctant to trade Alcides Escobar and would probably hesitate to move him for Brandon Morrow and two months of Jarrod Washburn.

12:14pm: The Red Sox are "in" on Roy Halladay, but finding offense is the team's top priority, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Here are a few more rumors:

  • There hasn't been much interest in Doug Davis or Jon Garland so far, but D'Backs officials are optimistic that interest will pick up later in the week.
  • Minnesota has more interest in Freddy Sanchez than any of his other suitors do.
  • The Padres will listen on Heath Bell and Adrian Gonzalez, but aren't likely to deal either player. The Tigers had interest in Bell earlier in the month.  

Heyman On Halladay, Holliday, Indians, Nats

9:34am: Heyman says the Yankees inquired about Cliff Lee and were told they'd have to give up Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes, plus other players.

8:34am: Jon Heyman of has the latest on the biggest stars available:

  • The Phillies are the frontrunners to acquire Roy Halladay. Heyman says the Jays are expected to ask for one of J.A. Happ and Kyle Drabek, one of Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor, plus others.
  • The Brewers may be the Phillies' biggest threat, but they'd probably have to part with Alcides Escobar, and maybe Mat Gamel, too. 
  • The Mets bowed out of the Halladay talks once Fernando Martinez's name came up. 
  • There's a "good chance" the Cardinals trade for Matt Holliday, according to one of Heyman's sources.  
  • Indians GM Mark Shapiro wonders if teams are holding onto their prospects too tightly: "It's almost to the point where there's an over-evaluation of these guys. There's almost an over-correction."
  • Heyman says the Nats should trade Nick Johnson, Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham.