The Brewers are focused mostly on pitching at these Winter Meetings, but they’re also dabbling in other areas.
Catcher appears to be one of them. Manager Ron Roenicke hinted that the Brewers were looking for a backup to 24-year-old catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who made strides as a rookie in 2010.
“I think Doug is looking at a lot of different things, and I think any time you have a veteran catcher with a young guy, especially if it’s the right veteran, it’s really going to bring that young guy along,” Roenicke said.
He offered Bengie Molina as an example of the type of player he likes. Molina happens to be a free agent and he was in Anaheim with Roenicke from 2000-05, but Roenicke didn’t specifically say that the Brewers were making any overtures.
The Rockies are reportedly interested in Molina, who played for the Giants and Rangers last season.
Roenicke said he sees Lucroy catching 100-120 games next season.
“The other guy, whoever his backup is going to be, is going to get some playing time,” Roenicke said.
Having a veteran “will just help that young guy understand what it takes to be that total package catcher,” Roenicke said. “It’s not just blocking balls. It’s not just throwing out runners, but it is about game calling and it is the communication that you have with a pitcher and when he’s struggling and in between innings you walk over to talk to him about what’s going on and try to get him back on the right track.
“That takes a lot of experience. But when you have an experienced guy out there helping you with it, it makes it a lot easier.”
At the moment, Milwaukee has three catchers on the roster in Lucroy, George Kottaras and Minor Leaguer Martin Maldonado. Kottaras is out of options and batted .203 with 10 home runs last season in 212 at-bats. He threw out four of 48 would-be base stealers, or 8.3 percent.
The Brewers also are looking at utility men. General manager Doug Melvin said the club at some point had reached out the agent for Delwyn Young, who became a free agent Nov. 29 after he was designated for assignment by the Pirates. Assistant GM Gord Ash said the Brewers have not heard back from agent Matt Colleran.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was first to report the Brewers’ connection to Young. It’s an interesting one; In July 2009, Young called Ryan Braun a coward after a series of plunkings in a Brewers-Pirates game at PNC Park, prompting Fielder to respond, “Who the [heck] is Delwyn Young?”