The Brewers were one of the teams to meet in person Tuesday with free agent right-hander Carl Pavano, general manager Doug Melvin said.
The Twins are pushing to sign the 34-year-old, according to multiple reports, and the Nationals have also been linked. Pavano attended the Winter Meetings in person to join agent Tom O’Connell for meetings with clubs.
The Brewers are looking at the free agent market with a cautious eye and it remains to be seen whether the club gets deeper into talks with Pavano. But Milwaukee’s interest makes sense if you follow a line of thinking like this:
— Melvin already made a splash by acquiring Shaun Marcum from the Blue Jays but has been clear he wants at least one more starter.
— Melvin is aiming higher than the list of pitchers coming off injuries, like Brandon Webb and Jeff Francis and Chris Young. That means he’s either pursuing pitchers via trades, or has softened his stance about trying to stay away from big-ticket free agents.
— The Marcum deal aside, trade talks have been tough. Melvin knew going into the Winter Meetings that teams were placing a very high value on their young pitching, and this week has only reinforced that.
— If the trade market isn’t there, and your own pitching prospects (Mark Rogers, Wily Peralta, Amaury Rivas) aren’t quite ready yet, you start looking at free agency.
— If you’re a general manager looking at free agency and you don’t have nine figures to throw at Cliff Lee, you start looking at Pavano.
Outside of Lee, Pavano is near the top of the list of free agent pitchers still available after going 17-11 with a 3.75 ERA and seven complete games last season for the Twins. After a couple of injury-shortened years with the Yankees, he’s stayed healthy for two straight seasons with at least 199 innings. He turns 35 next month.
The Twins are pushing hard to re-sign Pavano this week, according to multiple reports. The Nationals also have been linked to him.
When Melvin was asked Monday about the Brewers’ potential interest, he declined to say.
“I’d rather not get into that,” Melvin said. “I’ll leave that up to the rumors. When you get down to the end, you’re talking about certain people, and you don’t want to tip your hand about who you’re talking to.”
What would it cost to sign Pavano? Consider three recent re-signings: Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa with the Rockies for two years and $21.5 million with a third-year option that could boost the value to $32.5 million. Ted Lilly (who, like Pavano, is 34) with the Dodgers for three years and $33 million. Bronson Arroyo with the Reds for three years and $35 million.
Last year at the Winter Meetings, Melvin signed left-hander Randy Wolf for three years and $29.75 million.