Melvin on the dangers of megadeals
For those holding out hope that the Brewers will re-sign free agent first baseman Prince Fielder, read on for some very interesting comments from GM Doug Melvin.
Melvin knows well the good and bad of free agency. He was, after all, GM of the Rangers when that club’s ownership gave Alex Rodriguez a record-setting $252 million contract in 2000. Ten months later, the Rangers had finished last in the American League West and Melvin was out of a job.
“You have to keep in mind what your club is going to look like two or three years down the road,” Melvin said. “That’s the danger teams get into when they get into this free agency thing. I’m surprised that this stuff isn’t written more — the teams that get into free agency are the teams that are all in trouble.
“The Minnesota Twins, they sign Joe Mauer. The Seattle Mariners were the winners and the losers of the Winter Meetings one year with Chone Figgins. The Red Sox with Carl Crawford [at the 2010 Winter Meetings] and John Lackey [in 2009] — they were the winners but now they’re the losers. The Cubs were the winners when they signed [Alfonso] Soriano, and now they’re the losers. I don’t understand why that’s not written more. All the teams that are the big winners at the Winter Meetings are always the losers three years from now. Everybody wants to spend the money.
“So that’s why we’re just trying to be disciplined enough to know if you do something, it’s not about winning headlines for two days and then being a bad ballclub for three years and trying to get rid of players.”
Melvin made his comments amid a Winter Meetings dominated so far by the Marlins, who agreed to a $106 million deal with shortstop Jose Reyes on Sunday and reportedly offered a 10-year deal to first baseman Albert Pujols on Tuesday worth north of $200 million.
The Brewers meanwhile, are trying to fill holes with dramatically fewer resources. And that budget could theoretically get much tighter on Wednesday, the deadline for free agents who were offered arbitration last month to decide whether to accept. The Brewers extended such offers to Fielder and reliever Francisco Rodriguez, so-called “Type A” players who would net Draft compensation should they decline the Brewers’ offer and sign elsewhere. With relatively slow going on the market for closers, the possibility exists that Rodriguez could accept, meaning he would be back for 2012 at a salary somewhere at or above the $13.5 million he earned in 2011.
Asked about that scenario, Melvin said, “It hasn’t been part of our thinking. It probably should be.”
The silver lining is that Rodriguez would fill a hole on the roster. But he would also have major consequences for the rest of the Brewers’ offseason.
As of dinnertime, Melvin had not met with any agents on Tuesday, the Brewers had no free agent offers on the table and no active trade talks.
“We’re not ready to do anything at this point. There’s nothing that suits our desires at this point with the financial situation that we have,” Melvin said.
Follow Brew Beat on Twitter.