Melvin was unmoved by Aug. 31 offers

By about 7 p.m. CT on Monday, four hours ahead of the deadline for teams to acquire players and have them eligible for postseason play, it became clear to general manager Doug Melvin that he would not be parting with any of his pending free agents.

“We had some activity, but in the end it just didn’t work out,” Melvin said on Tuesday, as the Brewers sat in third place, 12 games behind the first-place Cardinals ahead of a three-game series in St. Louis. “If you look at the players that [other] teams got, they didn’t get prospects, really.

“If you want to move the money on players, you can do that. But I wasn’t into that. I want to give the benefit of the doubt to our players, to keep the team together. Unless I thought I could do something that would really be beneficial to us this year or next, I wasn’t going to make a trade just to make a trade.”

Melvin wouldn’t say which of his players drew interest in the hours before the Aug. 31 deadline. But it makes sense to guess about players like center fielder Mike Cameron, who is due about $1.67 million in September and reportedly was getting interest on Monday. Cameron projects as a Type B free agent who could bring Draft compensation if he declines an arbitration offer from the Brewers signs elsewhere this winter, but because he earned $10 million this year, the Brewers probably won’t be inclined to extend the arbitration offer.

Craig Counsell is another plausible guess, since is is versatile defensively, would have come cheaply (Counsell is making $1 million this year) and could be considered expendable by the Brewers because he doesn’t qualify for Draft compensation, and because the team has plenty of infielders on hand with September call-ups. Teams may have also asked about right-hander Braden Looper, whose contract calls for a mutual option next year.

Melvin said that non-baseball factors, like the team’s robust attendance this season, or the fact that manager Ken Macha is only signed through 2010, had no bearing on his decision to keep the team intact.

“It all comes down to, are you going to get a player back?” Melvin said. “If not, I’m not going to make our club weaker for the next 30 days just to get a Minor League player that I don’t think is going to someday help the Major League club. … I didn’t have to move players because of salary and I didn’t want to move players because of that. I have respect for our players because they are good. And unless I felt I was getting something back that was worthy, I wasn’t going to make that kind of deal. A lot of deals on Aug. 31 are based around salary more than the quality of the prospects. 

“I want to play out the year,” he added. “There weren’t any trades out there that would have helped our team this year or next year.  As far as young players we want to see play, [Alcides] Escobar is already up here.”

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