The Brewers’ talks with the agent for second baseman Rickie Weeks might have been the big news on Day 2 of the Winter Meetings, but Milwaukee officials also continued the search for another starter. It could lead in any number of different directions, but general manager Doug Melvin indicated Tuesday that he was not ready to dip into the pool of players looking to bounce back from injury.
That list includes some known names like Jeff Francis, Brandon Webb, Chris Young, Rich Harden and Brad Penny.
The Brewers have been linked to Francis this winter, but on Tuesday Melvin said, “I haven’t even called his guy.” Ditto for Webb, though the Brewers scouted Webb in the instructional league.
“I think some of those guys have a chance of bouncing back, but how many of them have?” Melvin asked. “There may be a point where we get involved later on. … I’m not saying we won’t go back that path, but we’re not focusing on it now.”
Melvin would prefer a pitcher without the immediate injury past, and didn’t rule out looking at his unproven, in-house options. He’d like prospects Mark Rogers, Wily Peralta and Amaury Rivas to report to Spring Training aiming for a spot in the Opening Day rotation. Jeremy Jeffress is more likely ticketed for relief.
The Brewers plan to meet Wednesday or Thursday with Michael Moye, the agent for left-hander Chris Capuano. The Brewers have already extended Capuano an offer to return in 2011.
But Melvin is also looking at trades. The Brewers have had contact this week with two teams in a position to trade young pitchers — Atlanta and Baltimore — but Melvin downplayed those talks. The Orioles have already traded away two pitching prospects to get third baseman Mark Reynolds from Arizona, lessening the chances of a deal with Milwaukee. Talks between the Brewers and Braves have not gone very far.
“We’ve had talks with them, but it doesn’t seem to be a fit for us,” Melvin said. “I’m not sure they have guys that they’re really pushing to move, other than the Japanese guy [Kenshin Kawakami].”
The Braves are willing to assume a large part of the $6.67 million owed Kawakami next season in the final year of his contract. Melvin said he “couldn’t say” whether he was interested in the right-hander.
“We don’t have anything ongoing with” the Braves, Melvin said.
The Chicago Tribune cited sources in reporting the Brewers had asked the Rays about right-hander Matt Garza, who earned $3.35 million during a 2010 season that included 15 wins, a 3.91 ERA and a July 26 no-hitter against the Tigers. He’s arbitration-eligible for three more seasons.
Garza would fetch a high price, but that’s nothing new for Melvin this winter. He’s not surprised that other teams are hanging tightly to their pitching.
“Teams aren’t motivated to move the pitchers,” Melvin said. “For them to move them, I have to overwhelm them with something. Teams don’t have excess pitching.”