Kevin Mench Rumors

Odds and Ends: Mench, Patterson

Some random rumors for this evening…

Kevin Mench DFA’d

The Brewers designated Kevin Mench for assignment today to create room on the roster for Salomon Torres.  They’ve now got ten days to trade, release, or place him on waivers.  Tom Haudricourt says the Brewers tried to trade Mench at the Meetings but no one was interested.

Mench turns 30 in January.  He hit .267/.305/.441 for the Brewers in 288 ABs this year, at least showing some power.  He’s a lefty-killer, with a .924 career OPS against them.  He’d be a nice match with Shawn Green or Kenny Lofton in a platoon.

ESPN’s Latest: Barrett, Ensberg, Mahay

Who said the Meetings are over?  ESPN’s Peter Gammons, Buster Olney, and Jerry Crasnick are still running down rumors.

  • The Rays want Michael Barrett, according to Gammons.
  • Looks like Kevin Mench will be non-tendered.
  • Crasnick says the Marlins may go after Morgan Ensberg, who is also likely to be non-tendered.  The Phillies aren’t much interested in him.
  • Gammons says Ron Mahay is down to the Yanks or Royals.
  • He also says the Padres’ Milton Bradley signing won’t get in the way of their Kosuke Fukudome pursuit.
  • Olney backs up the rumor about the Giants’ interest in Hideki Matsui.

Scott Rolen To Milwaukee Rumors

Apparently intra-division trading is no problem for John Mozeliak and Doug Melvin.  Here are two takes on the rumored Scott Rolen to Milwaukee deal.

  • Tom Haudricourt talked to Doug Melvin and learned that nothing is imminent with the Cards.  What’s more, Melvin hasn’t talked to the Cards for weeks. Hmmm.  This trade would require the Cards eating some salary.  Theoretically Ryan Braun would move to left field to accomodate Rolen.  The Brewers could send over Chris Capuano and might try to act like Kevin Mench would sweeten the deal.
  • Buster Olney said this morning that the Cards "have had their most extensive talks with the Brewers" regarding Rolen.  He also names Capuano as the likely target.  Olney ponders whether the Cards would be compelled to pursue Miguel Tejada to replace Rolen at third base.

Brewers Rumors: Rolen, Andruw, Mench’s Adam McCalvy posted a Brewers article yesterday that’s worthy of discussion.

  • One reliever Doug Melvin has considered that I hadn’t heard before: Eddie Guardado.  Hey, at least he’d come cheap.
  • Players like Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy, and Corey Hart won’t be moved.  No surprise there.
  • McCalvy says Melvin confirmed having internal discussions about Scott Rolen.  Would John Mozeliak trade him within the division?  More importantly, would the Brewers take on the money and injury risk?  The obvious match would be to send a starter over to St. Louis for Rolen.
  • Which starters are available?  Though you can never have too much pitching, Dave Bush, Chris Capuano, or Claudio Vargas might be considered expendable.  Their salaries will all be rising as they are arbitration-eligible.  None will be non-tendered.
  • Aside from Rolen, another unlikely possibility is Andruw Jones.  Melvin did at least speak to Scott Boras about him.  Moves for Rolen or Jones would of course involve moving Ryan Braun and/or Bill Hall to other positions, something Melvin prefers not to do.
  • If Melvin can’t trade Kevin Mench at the Winter Meetings, he’ll probably be non-tendered.
  • By the way, Tom Haudricourt echoes the Rolen and Jones rumors in his blog this afternoon.

Random Rumors: Erstad, Gagne, Podsednik

Here’s a smattering of random rumors.

  • The Twins have tried and failed to acquire Mike Piazza, Jermaine Dye, and Kevin Mench.  Instead of Dye, the White Sox offered up 33 year-old outfielder Darin Erstad, he of the .671 OPS. The Twins passed.
  • Eric Gagne will apparently earn Type A status as a free agent, despite pitching only two innings in 2006.  Rob Bradford has the details.  This was apparently a big factor for the Red Sox in making the deal.
  • The Chicago Sun-Times debunks a rumor that the Cubs are trying to trade for Scott Podsednik.  How come I wasn’t told about this rumor previously?  Who started it?  I feel left out. 
  • The Pirates and Tigers are still talking about Jack Wilson.  Apparently the deadline version of the deal died when the Bucs asked for Craig Monroe.  Really?  The deal died over that guy?
  • Gordon Edes has a Major League source indicating that the Orioles are "the kind of team that might have interest" in Wily Mo Pena.  That’s not the same as saying that they do have interest, however.

Angels Interested In Garrett Atkins

Last year, Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins was the second-best hitter at his position, behind only Miguel Cabrera.  Atkins isn’t set to reach free agency until 2011, making him a very valuable commodity.  The Rockies had talks with him this offseason about a deal covering his arbitration years and first year of free agency, but no agreement could be reached.

Now, both the Denver Post and L.A. Times are reporting that the Angels are interested in trading for Atkins.  Troy E. Renck of the Post says Atkins’s name first came up during the Winter Meetings when the two clubs were discussing a Todd Helton deal.  Renck writes that Ervin Santana would be a must in any trade and that the Angels also have interest in Brad Hawpe and Jeff Baker.  He also says Atkins is still considered a core member of the team, so a deal is unlikely.  I wonder if Bill Stoneman is trying to take advantage of a subpar start for Atkins – his defense hasn’t been pretty and his power has been MIA.

From the L.A. side, Mike DiGiovanna adds several players on the Halos’ radar:  Kevin Mench, Jacque Jones, Pat Burrell, Emil Brown, Morgan Ensberg, and Edwin Encarnacion.  DiGiovanna agrees that Santana is the top trading chip.  Santana could really blossom in the National League.  With Freddy Garcia and Adam Eaton struggling and Brett Myers in the pen, the Phillies probably have the strongest need.  Starters Joe Saunders and Dustin Moseley could be used if the Angels want to make a smaller deal.

As long as the Angels are making an all-out blitz for a third baseman, let’s speculate on some other possibilities.  Mike Lowell, Chad Tracy, Hank Blalock have all been rumored in the past; the Rangers clearly have the biggest need for a starter.  Santana, however, could be Brandon McCarthy all over again with his flyball tendencies.

Machinations for Mench

There’s been surprising interest in Kevin Mench, according to Doug Melvin, and one of the teams who are known to be looking at the right-handed outfielder is the Philadelphia Phillies.  One deal that was rumored a few weeks ago was Aaron Rowand for Mench and, perhaps, Damian Miller.  The money is about even and Melvin seems to think he needs a proven center fielder, so that seemed plausible, but the Brewers may have balked at including Miller.

So this is interesting: the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (perhaps optimistically) speculates that Mench could be part of a deal for Jon Lieber.  If speculation can lend credence to other speculation, here’s some: the Philadelphia Inquirer mentions that the Phillies could deal Rowand to the White Sox for one of Chicago’s surplus starters, freeing up Lieber for a different deal. 

This all makes plenty of sense: it’s essentially a three-way trade in which the White Sox get the CF they want and make room in the rotation for Brandon McCarthy; the Phillies get the corner bat they want, improve the rotation, and open up center for Shane Victorino; and the Brewers take on a bit of payroll (which they have room for, a least a few million’s worth) and fill their one need at the meetings: a mid-rotation starter to take the pressure off of some combination of Claudio Vargas, Carlos Villanueva, and Zach Jackson.

By Jeff Sackmann, Brew Crew Ball

Kevin Mench for Rodrigo Lopez?

Rodrigo Lopez has been on the trading block for what seems like years.  And anyone who has taken the time to count the Brewers outfielders know that some of them–including Kevin Mench and Geoff Jenkins–will be on the block this offseason.  So, it’s only logical that the Brewers and Orioles have chatted about Lopez for Mench.

I wrote about Lopez in a post on my blog when it was first reported that the Brewers had inquired after him–he had a disastrous year last year, posting a 5.90 ERA, but he’s not too old, he’s been a reliable innings eater, and he has had a couple of decent years pitching in the brutal AL East.  A switch to the NL Central, with a steady diet of the Pirates and Astros, could do wonders for his fantasy value.

Contract-wise, the deal makes sense: both are entering their final year of arbitration, and both are coming off of years that could make a case for non-tenders.  Rosenthal points out in the article that having Lopez would free up the Brewers to trade Doug Davis, another innings eater coming off a so-so year.  Their contract situations are the same, but Davis probably has more trade value than Lopez (if only because Davis’s ERA wasn’t near 6 last year).

Posted by Jeff Sackmann

ESPN: Carlos Lee To Rangers

Breaking news from ESPN’s Keith Law:

"The Milwaukee Brewers are trading slugger Carlos Lee to the Texas Rangers as part of a multi-player deal, learned Friday.

The Brewers are sending Lee, minor-league outfield prospect Nelson Cruz and a player to be named later to the Rangers for relief pitcher Francisco Cordero and outfielders Kevin Mench and Laynce Nix."

Initial opinion: Jon Daniels got the best of Doug Melvin here.  Daniels gets a player comparable to Mench in Cruz, only cheaper.  He adds a huge addition to the middle of the lineup for the stretch run in Lee.  Mench is at a crossroads, Cordero is really just an OK 31 year-old reliever with saves under his belt, and Nix has been long on promise but short on results.  It seems that Melvin is trying to stay competitive and get some players for the future for Lee at the same time, so Brewers fans have to respect that.

Interesting side note: according to Baseball Prospectus, Kevin Mench‘s most comparable player is Carlos Lee.  I wonder how often a player has been traded for the player most similar to him? 

I’ll have fantasy analysis of the trade on RotoAuthority sometime this afternoon.