Results tagged ‘ Dick Groch ’

Brewers have worked waiver wonders

casey-mcgehee.jpgThe addition of Marco Estrada on Wednesday had me thinking back to some of the Brewers’ notable waiver wire additions, from GM Doug Melvin’s first-ever acquisition (Scott Podsednik) in 2002 to a Cubs castoff-turned-Brewers starter (Casey McGehee) in 2008. 

The waiver wire is especially important to lower-budget teams like the Brewers, and Melvin, assistant GM Gord Ash, head pro scout Dick Groch and the rest of Milwaukee’s front office has fared pretty well over the years. 
Here’s a look at their pick-ups, organized into three tiers. Who would you rate as Melvin’s best find? What about the biggest disappointment?
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Brewers tried, but didn't see Pedro pitch

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin confirmed a report that he sent a scout to watch free agent right-hander Pedro Martinez work out in the Dominican Republic on Friday.

The Brewers sent two scouts, in fact. But they never saw Pedro pitch.

“This was twice [this week],” said Dick Groch, the Brewers director of pro scouting. “The second time we sent people there, his publicist was there and the publicist says, ‘He’s on his way.’ He was already 45 minutes late. … We had other workouts to do. We can’t wait forever. We [told the scout], ‘Go. You can’t stay there forever.'”

The scouts were Bruce Seid, Milwaukee’s amateur scouting director, and Fernando Arango, the club’s Latin American coordinator. They were already in Santo Domingo for a series of showcases with amateur players ahead of the July 2 international signing date. Melvin, who is on the lookout for pitching help, figured it made sense to swing by for a look at Martinez.

Groch’s understanding was that the handful of scouts from other teams left at the same time. That contradicted a report from Hoy, a major newspaper in the Dominican Republic, that said Martinez threw 75 pitches Friday at Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo in front of reps from Yankees, Rangers, D-backs, Nationals, Cubs, Indians and Angels.

A separate report from SI.com’s Jon Heyman that said six teams, including the Brewers, watched Martinez “perform a pitching demonstration.” ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wrote on his blog that, “At least several teams walked away from Pedro Martinez’s throwing session unimpressed and uninterested in signing him.”

The Brewers didn’t walk away unimpressed, because they never saw Martinez at all. Martinez’s longtime agent, Fernando Cuza, was not immediately available to clarify his client’s situation.

“He might have worked out at a different time,” Melvin said. “We don’t know that. All I know from our people is he wasn’t there when we were told to be.”

The Brewers, who are operating with four starters at the moment but will need to add a fifth on Saturday, have not ruled out Martinez if he comes at the right price. But they are not going to jump in and make an offer if they can’t see him throw, Melvin said.

“I don’t know what the demands are, but it doesn’t matter what they are,” Melvin said. “If you can’t watch him throw, it doesn’t matter what his demands are. Would you go put an offer on a house without looking at the house?”

The Brewers have been actively scouting the top talent available in the Dominican Republic, where young players aren’t subject to the just-completed First-Year Player Draft. They have made splashy signings there before, including Roque Mercedes in 2004 and Rolando Pascual and Wily Peralta in 2005. Mercedes has a 0.95 ERA in 21 relief appearances at advanced Class A Brevard County, and Peralta has a 3.68 ERA in 13 appearances this season at Class A Wisconsin. Pascual is working with the Brewers-Orioles co-op affiliate in the Dominican Republic.

Might they add another player after July 2?

“We’re looking at it,” Melvin said.
 

Trade talks? Brewers' Groch in town with Melvin

Ah, to be a fly on the wall in the lobby of the Brewers’ hotel in Detroit on Friday morning, when manager Ken Macha met with GM Doug Melvin and Dick Groch, head of the team’s pro scouting operation. The men talked over coffee for nearly two hours, a sort of “State of the Brewers” discussion.

“We covered just about everything,” Macha said. “The bench, position players, starting pitchers, bullpen.”

They talked about Manny Parra, who was demoted to Triple-A last weekend and made his first start there on Wednesday. Then they discussed the options to take Parra’s place in the rotation when the Brewers need a fifth starter again.

And yes, the conversation turned to what Macha deftly referred to as, “what may be going on out there in baseball at this time.” Translation: Free agents or trade targets who could help the first-place Brewers, most likely to bolster the pitching staff.

“For you guys,” Macha told reporters, “There’s a lot of club’s still in it. That’s the way they feel. Every team in the National League Central feels like they’re in it, as in the American League Central.”

Another translation: Few teams are willing to talk about trading away the type of top-flight arm the Brewers are seeking.

Did Macha and Melvin discuss specific targets?

“He did mention a few names,” Macha said. “Are you going to get me in trouble with tampering?”

One name that wouldn’t get the manager in trouble is Pedro Martinez, a free agent who reportedly worked out for teams on Friday. SI.com’s Jon Heyman wrote on his Twitter account that the Brewers were among the teams in attendance, but Melvin has consistently downplayed his interest in Martinez to this point.

Does Macha feel good that Melvin will make a move?

“Let me put it this way: [Melvin] is keenly aware of avenues that would make our ballclub stronger,” Macha said. “But almost every Major League team is still either buyers or they consider themselves [contenders]. There’s no fits, like a jigsaw puzzle, where ‘You guys need X, we’ve need Y. You have Y, we have X. Let’s do it.’ There’s not a whole lot of that.”

It’s still early in the season for serious trade talks. Last year, the Brewers struck very early to get CC Sabathia, and that deal wasn’t official until July 7.

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