Melvin heard back from Mulder's rep
Some quick hits about the Brewers’ quest to improve their pitching:
– There remains dialogue between Brewers GM Doug Melvin and the agent for Mark Mulder, the former A’s and Cardinals left-hander who has been limited to four starts since 2006 because of injury. The Brewers are intrigued by Mulder as a bounce-back candidate, and he has worked as recently as this past summer with incoming Brewers pitching coach Rick Peterson, so Melvin placed a call after the season to agent Gregg Clifton, who represents Mulder. At some point within the last week, Clifton returned that call, though Melvin wouldn’t say much about it.
Mulder would be the ultimate high-risk, high-reward pick-up, and the Brewers would only be interested at the right price. Given that there is ongoing communication, he’s a name to watch.
– The Brewers might have been in better position to trade for Tigers right-hander Edwin Jackson before J.J. Hardy went to Minnesota in a trade, but Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday that has been in contact with Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski. The Tigers may be shopping Jackson in a move to manage their own payroll.
– Another potential trade partner is Atlanta, as the pitching-rich Braves field offers for either Derek Lowe or Javier Vazquez. Mark Bowman, our MLB.com Braves reporter, speculates that the Brewers or Angels would make sense for Lowe, though Melvin may be turned off by the three years and $45 million left on the sinkerballer’s contract. Lowe was 15-10 with a 4.67 ERA in his first season in Atlanta and has made at least 32 starts in all eight seasons since he converted from relief. Melvin loves durability.
But as Mark points out, there are indications that Brewers would almost certainly favor Vazquez, who is owed $11.5 million in the final year of his contract. He should get some Cy Young Award votes after going 15-10 in 2009 with a 2.87 ERA and a remarkable 238-to-44 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. Melvin loves strike-throwers.
As for what the Braves would seek? Pure speculation here, but they are looking at corner outfielders with power and Corey Hart could fit the bill if the Braves are convinced he can bounce back from a season marred by inconsistency and then an appendectomy. Hart has been involved in trade rumors with the Braves before. Perhaps the Brewers could also dangle one of their third base prospects as a future replacement for Chipper Jones, who has three years remaining on his deal. Melvin has previously resisted trading Mat Gamel, but the emergence of Casey McGehee and Adam Heether in 2009 at least gives the Brewers more options. I hear that Braves scouts are split on Gamel’s worth. Taylor Green is also a good prospect despite some recent injury troubles.
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