Brewers next SS target is Barmes
The Brewers will explore another potential shortstop on Wednesday when general manager Doug Melvin meets with the representative of free agent Clint Barmes, a player the team has looked at before.
The Brewers had some interest in Barmes, 33, last July, but backed away because of a well-times hot streak by incumbent shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and indications from the Astros were disinclined to move Barmes. He wound up playing the whole season in Houston, and batted .244 with 12 home runs and a .312 on-base percentage.
Barmes’ agent is Barry Meister. He also represents veteran Craig Counsell, who may play in 2012 but will not play a seventh season in Milwaukee. Melvin has indicated to Meister that the Brewers will not offer Counsell another contract.
“We want to be open-minded and look [for alternative bench options],” Melvin said.
He is open to giving a utility-type player a two-year deal, but only if it fits into the rest of the payroll puzzle. Melvin has been in contact with Casey Close about bringing back Jerry Hairston Jr. on the heels of Hairston’s solid second half in Milwaukee.
“We don’t want to spend $3 million on a guy who’s going to be a part-time player,” Melvin said. “You can’t do that; not with where our payroll is.”
— Outfielder Mark Kotsay called Melvin personally on Monday night to say he was accepting a one-year offer from his hometown Padres. Kotsay reportedly will earn $1.25 million. The Brewers had some interest in bringing him back for a second season, but talks were only in the preliminary stages.
Kotsay lives just north of San Diego with his wife and three kids.
“He called and said he appreciated the opportunity and he couldn’t turn down [the Padres’ offer],” Melvin said. “He wanted to jump at it in case it wasn’t there later. … He wanted to call and say thanks for bringing him here last year. He had a blast, his family loved it and he would have considered coming back if it was any place other than San Diego.”
— Infielder Josh Wilson and left-handed reliever Mitch Stetter have elected free agency. Both were outrighted to Triple-A last month, freeing space on the 40-man roster, and had the right of refusal.
The Brewers told Stetter, represented by Rex Gary, to test the market. If he does not find an acceptable offer, the Brewers may be open to bringing Stetter back.
— Pitchers Cody Scarpetta and Mark Rogers were granted fourth options, as expected. Rogers, who will begin the 2012 season on the sidelines because of a drug suspension, has recovered from carpal tunnel syndrome on both wrists and may depart in the coming days to pitch at the Brewers’ new academy in the Dominican Republic.
Follow Brew Beat on Twitter.