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- East Notes: Ibanez, Phillies, Mathis
- Blue Jays To Exercise J.A. Happ’s Option
- Central Notes: Maddon, Dirks, Giambi, Indians
- Alex Rios Hires Scott Boras
- Dodgers Decline Option On Chad Billingsley
- West Notes: Sandoval, Lewis, Ethier, Angels
- AL East Links: Chavez, Yankees, Breslow, Jays
- Angels Likely To Trade Kendrick Or Freese
- Rockies Exercise LaTroy Hawkins’ Option
- Mets Outright Satin, Rice, Eveland, Carlyle
- Cubs Hire Joe Maddon As Manager
- Yankees To Extend Qualifying Offer To David Robertson
- Rangers Decline Rios’ Option; Outright Adcock, Lucas, Figaro
- Brewers Exercise Mutual Option On Aramis Ramirez
- Rays Exercise Ben Zobrist’s Option
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Doug Melvin Rumors
Brewers GM Doug Melvin indirectly shed some light on the philosophical differences which led to trading Brett Lawrie to the Blue Jays. Lawrie's name came up when Melvin told Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the plan is to keep second base prospect Scooter Gennett in Triple-A for the full season instead of being promoted because of the struggles of Rickie Weeks. "The plan worked for (Prince) Fielder and Corey Hart and all those guys," Melvin said. "Spend your time at each level. That's the part I couldn't get through with Brett Lawrie. He wanted to go past everybody. That model works if you're a freak like Ryan Braun, but he did play at every level. I always say to go out and prove you're too good for the league. If you do that, we'll consider moving you up." Instead Melvin, moved Lawrie out to Toronto. In other news from the the NL Central:
- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told reporters, including MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, there is no plan to send Corey Hart, recovering from right knee surgery, on a minor league rehab assignment before June 1. This means Hart, who is eligible to be activated from the 60-day disabled list on May 30, will not join the Brewers until mid-June, at the earliest.
- The number of years and not money will be the issue for the Reds in trying to re-sign Shin-Soo Choo, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Choo ranks second on MLBTR's 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings.
- If Choo does re-sign with Cincinnati, a payroll casualty could be Bronson Arroyo. In a second tweet, Fay says the Reds' payroll is a big puzzle and there are lots of factors involved in trying to retain both Choo and Arroyo.
- Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch opines merit is not behind the Cardinals' decision to replace the injured Jaime Garcia with fellow left-hander Tyler Lyons, but a desire to delay the service clock of their top pitching prospect, Michael Wacha. This is the second time Wacha, owner of an 1.89 ERA in eight Triple-A starts, has been bypassed to fill a rotation opening. Miklasz further believes the Cardinals, owners of the best record in the National League, don't have the best 25 players in their system on the active roster citing top prospect Oscar Taveras toiling away in Triple-A while Shane Robinson and Ty Wigginton are struggling offensively.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak disagrees with Miklasz's assessment. "I’m not worried about the clock," Mozeliak was quoted as saying by the Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold (via Sulia). "The media is making a lot of the clock. Other people who read the media are making more of it. To me it’s like that’s not what is making our decisions. It’s managing our decisions for what’s best for the club and what’s best for the individuals in their own silo of development."
- Chris Carpenter is continuing to make progress in his recovery from nerve trouble in his neck and back soreness and could make a rehab start in early June, Goold reports. "I’m not going to push myself back," Carpenter said (as quoted by Goold on Sulia). "I’m going to make sure that I’m healthy and that I know everything is going to work and that I can go out there and take that grind of the amount of pitches and innings it takes to go the rest of the year." Carpenter threw three simulated innings Saturday, will throw a side session Monday, and throw another four simulated innings Thursday, according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch and Chad Thornburg.
If Ryan Dempster signs with the Red Sox, the Brewers might not pursue other free agent starters, Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Melvin indicated free agent starters have shown limited reciprocal interest, according to Haudricourt. "This may be one of those years when we don't do too much,” the GM said. “We're still looking at relievers but we might see if we get a surprise in Spring Training.” Here are the details on the team’s search for starting pitching…
- Though Shaun Marcum recently indicated he’d consider returning to Milwaukee, Melvin said he hasn’t talked to the right-hander’s agent. Marcum hadn’t been on the Brewers’ radar, Haudricourt reports. “I always thought he'd engage in talks with a team and get something worked out, and he probably will," Melvin said.
- Melvin confirmed that he offered Dempster a two-year contract and said he hasn’t heard back from the right-hander’s agent. "It doesn't appear that he'll be coming to Milwaukee," Melvin acknowledged.
- There’s “some intrigue” with respect to right-hander Edwin Jackson. The Brewers spoke with Jackson’s agent, though it doesn’t sound as though talks developed from there.
The Brewers announced that they have extended the contracts of their general manager and field manager. Doug Melvin, the club's GM since 2002, receives a promotion to president of baseball operations under his new contract, which runs through 2015. Manager Ron Roenicke obtains an extension runs through 2014 and includes a club option for 2015.
Brewers owner Mark Attanasio explained that the team's recent postseason berths give him confidence in Melvin, "one of the most respected leaders in the industry." Melvin said Roenicke's leadership has also been instrumental to the team's success. “He and his staff have worked tirelessly to put us in a great position to win, and he has been very supportive of everything we are looking to accomplish," Melvin said via press release.
MLBTR's Transaction Tracker offers a look back at the moves Melvin has made since joining the Brewers a decade ago. Melvin, Baseball America's 2011 Executive of the Year, became the Rangers' GM following the 1994 season and has been running teams ever since.
Roenicke led the Brewers to the NLCS last year, his first full season as an MLB manager. The club won 96 games in 2011, but is off to a 12-17 start this year. The club appeared to be nearing extensions with Melvin and Roenicke over the weekend.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin said he talked to Casey Close about Zack Greinke yesterday and will speak to the agent again Monday. There's no deadline for talks between the Brewers and Greinke, Close's new client.
- Melvin doesn't see "major weaknesses" on his team.
- Owner Mark Attanasio suggested the club will have the flexibility to add payroll midseason if necessary.
- Attanasio said the club is progressing nicely toward extensions for Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke. Melvin's contract expires after the 2012 season and the Brewers hold a 2013 option for Roenicke.
- Melvin confirmed extension talks will also continue with closer John Axford, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports.
Brendan Bianowicz continues to update the GM Trade History series, covering the NL Central today. Click below to download Excel spreadsheets chronicling trades, free agent signings, and top draft picks for each GM.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has the latest on the Brew Crew's off-season maneuvering….
- As reported earlier today, the Brewers are expected to pursue veteran starters Jarrod Washburn and Doug Davis. Scott Boras, Washburn's agent, said that he hadn't met with Brewers management yet, but expected the team to "resume their interest" (via Twitter).
- Haudricourt tweeted that the Brewers have already made contact with Davis' agent. Milwaukee could be battling with (among other teams) the Mariners over Davis' services, as FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi noted that Seattle "may be keen" on Davis themselves.
- Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin said he didn't ask the Red Sox for Clay Buchholz or Daniel Bard in exchange for the now-departed J.J. Hardy, but those names did surface in trade talks with Boston last summer (via Twitter).
- Melvin said the club may go with prospect Jonathan Lucroy at catcher next season, either as part of a platoon or perhaps as an everyday player should Lucroy perform well in spring training. Lucroy hit .267/.381/.418 in 506 plate appearances at Double-A Huntsville last season, and has an .844 OPS over his three minor league seasons. Another catching prospect, Angel Salome, will be given a long look in the spring as well.
- Lucroy's elevation could spell the end of Jason Kendall's time in Milwaukee, though Haudricourt noted that Melvin met with Kendall's representatives to see if the free agent catcher would be willing to return. If the veteran does come back to the Brewers, it will surely be at a lower price than Kendall's $5MM salary in 2009.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is speculating that Mat Gamel might be a candidate to be traded in the offseason based on comments made by Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash during their end-of-season press conference on Wednesday.
The Brewers' management team said that Casey McGehee has "taken the bull by the horns" for the starting third base job next season in the wake of McGehee's .301/.360/.499 performance in 394 plate appearances as a rookie last season. Gamel, in contrast, posted a .242/.338/.422 line in 148 plate appearances.
Melvin ruled out Gamel moving to the outfield and Ash said that the Brewers will "probably have to be higher risk taking than we have been in the past" in terms of dealing prospects, thus making it appear that Milwaukee will at least listen to offers for their slugging prospect. Gamel is a year removed from an overall .923 OPS between Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville in 2008 and is an attractive option for a team looking to shed payroll and give the Brewers one of the starters on their winter wish-list. An American League destination might be the ideal spot for Gamel, who made seven errors in 61 chances at third base last season.
All but eliminated from the playoffs, the Brewers are focused on 2010. A few notes about their future…
- Speculation about GM Doug Melvin being fired is "ridiculous," owner Mark Attanasio told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Attanasio added that he's not pressuring Melvin to make significant changes. He'll also leave the decision on manager Ken Macha up to Melvin.
- Attanasio said trading Prince Fielder for pitching "seems like a cop-out." He's right in saying it makes for "great Internet fodder and speculation." Realistically, Fielder will not be on the market this winter.
- When Braden Looper made his 30th start on September 11th, his mutual option for next year increased to $6.5MM. His 4.89 ERA matches his 4.87 xFIP, so there's no hidden story about Looper's performance. Still, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy thinks the Brewers "will almost certainly exercise their half of the option." Looper said returning to Milwaukee is his first choice, but notes that "the option gives me a little bit of leverage."
- My opinion: for a net of $5.5MM guaranteed, the Brewers should seek a pitcher with more upside than Looper. Erik Bedard, Brett Myers, and even Brad Penny might fit the bill. Looper didn't sign until mid-February this year, and the guarantee was only $4.75MM. The Brewers can find another Looper if they need an innings-eater, so why not decline the option and see how the market plays out?
Some food for thought, even though you shouldn't be snacking so close to bed…
- With Jesus Flores undergoing surgery for a torn labrum, putting his 2010 start date into question, Washington manager Jim Riggleman said the Nationals may have to seek another catcher. According to MLB.com's Bill Ladson, Rod Barajas may be a good fit, "because he is an excellent handler of pitchers." Barajas also has a bit of power, and would be a decent fit. Phil Wood of MASN speculates that Brian Schneider could return to Washington, noting that Schneider is "just 32, and would likely have multiple offers", though anyone who has seen Schneider hit this season would assume those offers won't be to play baseball. A shame, since Schneider is one of the best clubhouse guys in the game, has been a tremendous mentor to the younger Mets' players, and will be a tremendous manager if he pursues it.
- Brewers' owner Mark Attanasio strongly denied that General Manager Doug Melvin's job is in jeopardy. "It seems like a cop-out to me to blow everything up and start from scratch," Attanasio told MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. "We've built this team around a good core of players now for five years and we took a step back [this year]. We'd like to take two steps forward next year."
- Dan Uggla is sad that the Marlins are likely going to trade him this offseason.
- Carl Crawford and Pat Burrell "had words" in Tampa Bay clubhouse, and not polite ones like "please" or "thank you."
A nice helping of links to get us going here Wednesday night…
- According to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago, Jake Peavy is doubtful to make his White Sox debut on Saturday. The newly acquired right-hander was unable to throw a scheduled side session Wednesday afternoon due to lingering elbow soreness.
- Anthony Witrado of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel agrees with Dave Cameron's philosophy that the Brewers should trade first baseman Prince Fielder if they have no intention of improving their starting rotation through free agency this offseason. "I understand the team would take a PR hit if they traded a star like Prince," writes Haudricourt,"but for the betterment of the organization, it makes sense to deal him if you can't improve around him."
- FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal says evidence suggests that the Mets, who have sent 19 men to the DL this season, are not taking care of their players. "The Mets can say what they want, writes Rosenthal. "After a while, the disabled list does not lie."
- Larry LaRue of the Tacoma News Tribune thinks the Mariners are finally moving in the right direction, and gives a good chunk of the credit to general manager Jack Zduriencik. "Wait 'til next year now means something again for Mariners fans," says LaRue.