Results tagged ‘ Doug Davis ’

Brewers eye free agent pitching market

Surprise, surprise. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin spent his time at this week’s General Managers Meetings in Chicago focused on pitching.

Melvin spoke this week with agent Arn Tellem, who represents free agent left-hander Randy Wolf, and Steve Canter, the agent for free-agent left-hander Doug Davis, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. At some point he also expressed interest in left-hander Jarrod Washburn, Washburn’s agent Scott Boras told the newspaper.

According to a Major League source, Melvin also met with Steve Hilliard, who represents righty John Lackey, the top available pitcher. In a chat with the Journal Sentinel before heading home to Milwaukee, Melvin downplayed the Brewers’ chances of landing Lackey. 

“It depends what they’re asking for,” Melvin said. “I don’t know if it could fit or not. I might have to make some other moves to make it fit.” 

The Brewers may have jumped to the top of the list of teams expected to pursue Lackey last week, when Melvin brought up Lackey’s name in a discussion of his plan to bolster a pitching staff that ranked next-to-last in the National League in 2009. 

Melvin said he would have to focus on bounce-back candidates coming off poor- or injury-plagued seasons, and indeed he has already checked in with the agent for Mark Mulder, who missed all of 2009 with shoulder woes. At some point Milwaukee could also check in with former Brewer Ben Sheets, who never pitched in 2009 after undergoing elbow surgery.

But at the same time, Melvin would not rule out a look at the top shelf of free agents. 

“There’s one guy that stands out and it’s John Lackey,” Melvin told reporters on a conference call last Friday. “He’s head and shoulders above the others. … You look at the consistency of pitchers who are out there and John Lackey is a great competitor, but we’ll have to take a look at that and see.” 

Since Melvin raised Lackey’s name without being asked, he was pressed on the matter. Is he a free agent of interest to the Brewers? 

“We’ll leave that discussion internally for ourselves,” Melvin said. “When you get involved in free agency and you talk about people, then all you’re doing is letting people know you’re interested and it drives the prices up. So I’m not going to say who we’re interested in or who we’re not.” 

It’s a two-way street, said Melvin, who believes most free agents enter the market with a short list of teams they prefer. 

“It’s our job to find out if we’re on that list of teams,” Melvin said.  

If the Brewers are on Lackey’s list, then Melvin might have to move some more payroll, as he suggested to the Journal Sentinel on Wednesday. 

Melvin has already said he won’t pursue center fielder Mike Cameron, who earned $10 million last year, and has hinted that Jason Kendall’s $5 million salary might not fit next year, either. His highest-paid returning players are starter Jeff Suppan (due $12.5 million in 2010, the final year of his four-year contract), first baseman Prince Fielder ($10.5 million), closer Trevor Hoffman ($7.5 million) and reliever David Riske ($4.5 million in the final year of his three-year deal). 

More decisions are coming. The Brewers have until Saturday to exercise their half of starter Braden Looper’s $6.5 million mutual option, and pitcher Dave Bush (who made $4 million in 2009), outfielder Corey Hart ($3.25 million) and second baseman Rickie Weeks ($2.45 million) head the list of arbitration-eligible players whose salaries could jump again. 

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Brewers, D-backs not talking Davis

Doug Davis back to the Brewers? Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin doesn’t see it happening.

Following Major League rules, Melvin wouldn’t confirm a report that the Brewers had put a waiver claim on Davis, the Arizona left-hander who pitched for the Brewers from 2003-2006. But Melvin did say that he spoke Tuesday with D-backs GM Josh Byrnes, and didn’t expect the sides to be able to work out a trade.

“I’m not engaged in conversations with Arizona,” Melvin said.

If it’s true that the Brewers put in a claim, the teams would have 48 hours to negotiate a trade. If that window expires and Arizona isn’t willing to let Davis go, he would automatically be pulled back and would remain a D-back.

Davis is owed about $3 million over the final six weeks of the season and will be a free agent at year’s end. He is expected to be a Type B free agent, so if Arizona hangs onto him and he signs elsewhere over the winter, the D-backs would receive a second-round Draft pick as compensation.

Melvin was asked whether Byrnes was asking for too much in return for Davis.

“I’m not saying that,” Melvin said. “He’s asking for what I would probably ask for if we had the same thing. I’m not going to accuse them of asking too much. Teams want to keep their own guys, and Davis has an attachment there because he lives [in the Phoenix area]. It’s not that we haven’t tried.”

Especially with injured starters Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan nearing returns from the disabled list, Melvin is wary of giving up a top prospect for a second-half rental.

“Other than Cliff Lee, who else had made a difference?” Melvin asked. “We tried, but people know the value of pitching. They have the right to ask for your top guy. But is it right to give up a top guy for a [pitcher] who’s going to make seven, eight, nine starts?”

Davis: 'Going back to Milwaukee would be fun'

According to sources of SI.com, the Brewers put a waiver claim on D-backs left-hander Doug Davis on Tuesday or Wednesday, giving the teams 48 hours from the time of the claim to work out a trade.

Davis told MLB.com Wednesday night that he heard reports of the Brewers’ claim but had not received an official word from either team.  A free agent at the end of the season, Davis said he is seeking a long-term deal.

“Going back to Milwaukee would be fun,” he said. “I know the fans would be behind me.”

Unfortunately, it’s not up to him. The Brewers showed some interest in the 33-year-old ahead of the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline but never came close to a deal. At that time, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said he didn’t think Arizona GM Josh Byrnes would move Davis at all.

In 24 starts this year, Davis is 7-10 with a 3.62 ERA. It’s his best mark since he posted a 3.39 ERA for Milwaukee in 2005.

Now 33, Davis pitched for the Brewers from 2003-2006 before he was packaged in
an ill-fated deal with the D-backs that brought catcher Johnny Estrada
and pitchers Greg Aquino and Claudio Vargas. The Brewers have already
re-acquired Vargas this season to plug a hole on an injury- and
slump-ridden pitching staff that earlier Wednesday cost pitching coach
Bill Castro his job.

Davis would cost about $3 million over the rest of the season and is eligible for free agency in October. But, for the right price, he could provide insurance for the Brewers in case injured starters Dave Bush (triceps) and Jeff Suppan (oblique) continue to stall on the disabled list.

Melvin typically does not comment about players on waivers. Asked Tuesday whether any pitchers of interest to the Brewers had been waived, Melvin responded vaguely, “Not anyone I want to talk about.” 

Davis also spoke earlier in the day, before the report emerged identifying Milwaukee as the team of interest.

“It’s a win-win situation,” he said of the possibility of being dealt. “I go to a team that’s probably contending, this team gets something they probably need and I still become a free agent at the end of the year and can possibly come back here.”

Pitching in the playoffs is a big carrot for Davis.

“I could get a couple of starts in the playoffs and you’re one game away from a huge contract,” he said. “That’s pretty much what it is. You hit a big home run and you pretty much play for the rest of your career based on that one home run. Just that one big game, you end up showing you could get that big hit or pitch a big game.”

Brewers were close to three-team deadline deal

The Brewers were so close to completing what general manager Doug Melvin called a “big,” three-team trade for a pitcher ahead of Friday’s nonwaiver Trade Deadline that Ken Macha tuned into the MLB Network in the visiting manager’s office at PETCO Park and waited to see the news break.

It never did.

The deal fizzled, and the pitcher in question wasn’t traded. Because of that fact, Macha and Melvin refused to talk about the blockbuster that wasn’t — Melvin did assure reporters that the pitcher in question wasn’t Toronto’s Roy Halladay — and the Brewers were left to soldier on with a weakened starting rotation that will be re-joined Saturday by right-hander Mike Burns.

Macha didn’t sugarcoat the factors that brought back Burns, who was bounced from the rotation and then returned to Triple-A Nashville after going 2-3 in five Brewers starts.

“We have kind of depleted all of the options,” Macha said.

Melvin wanted to bolster those options. He talked extensively to the Mariners about left-hander Jarrod Washburn, who instead went to the Tigers on Friday. Melvin also showed interest as recently as Thursday in Royals right-hander Brian Bannister, but Kansas City held onto him. He called on D-backs left-hander Doug Davis and, to a lesser degree, Jon Garland, both of whom stayed put. Melvin never got serious about the Padres’ Jake Peavy, who went to the White Sox, because he knew Milwaukee couldn’t put together the package of pitchers necessary to get him.

The Brewers will face one of those pitchers, lefty Clayton Richard, on Saturday at PETCO Park.

The trouble, Melvin said, is that San Diego wasn’t the only team seeking young arms in the high levels of the Minor Leagues. All of Milwaukee’s pitching prospects are lower in the system including right-hander Jeremy Jeffress, who might have been an interesting chip were he not serving a 50-game suspension. At the same time, Melvin made it clear early that he was hesitant to trade his top offensive prospects: Third baseman Mat Gamel and shortstop Alcides Escobar.

“Most teams are looking for one or two guys who are closer to the big leagues,” Melvin said. “We’ve been a team that’s drafted real well on the positional side.”

Melvin was hopeful that he’d have a match with Seattle because Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik was Milwaukee’s scouting director until last fall, and he knows the Brewers’ farm system as well as anyone. For two months of Washburn, a free agent at season’s end, Zduriencik received two left-handers: Luke French, who was in the Tigers’ rotation, and Mauricio Robles, a top prospect who was at Class A.  

“I didn’t think on Washburn we were ever close,” Melvin said.

But Melvin was near to completing, “a much bigger deal,” that was so close to happening that within a half hour of the 3 p.m. CT deadline to deal players without first exposing them to waivers, Melvin had principal owner Mark Attanasio waiting near a phone, ready to approve a deal. When the three-team proposal fell apart, Melvin had another trade possibility in the works within 10 minutes of the deadline.

“It just didn’t happen,” Melvin said. “Both of them revolved around what another team was doing. Those are always tough.”

So who was involved in the mysterious big one? Macha would only reveal that it was not a pitcher who would have been available to start for the Brewers on Saturday. Melvin wouldn’t say, either, even when a reporter presented him with some possible names. One of them was Atlanta right-hander Javier Vazquez, who had just pitched on Thursday, but a National League scout offered assurances that the Brewers and Braves weren’t talking about Vazquez on Friday. 

The Brewers’ quiet Deadline day left fans, more than two million of whom have already packed into Miller Park this season, venting their disappointment on talk radio and Internet message boards.

“I talked to him an hour and a half before the [Deadline] and he told me had another thing that he thought he was going to get done,” Macha said of his midday chat with Melvin. “I’m sure that he’s just as disappointed as all the other people.”

On the other hand, Melvin received as many as 50 messages of support, many of them via e-mail from fans who were glad to see him thinking about the future by keeping Gamel and Escobar in the fold.

“How can people judge what’s there when they don’t know what was involved?” Melvin said. “Had we made a deal involving some of the players we talked about, I’m pretty sure they would have been disappointed, too. …

“With every deal you talk about, there’s some hurdle you have to get over. It’s not just as easy as, ‘Why didn’t you give up this guy for that guy?’”

Teams can still make trades in August, but players must pass through waivers first. Players must be on a team’s roster by midnight ET on Aug. 31 to qualify for postseason rosters.

Melvin will remain on the prowl, and he still has the postseason in mind.

“A lot of things have to go right,” he conceded. “A lot of teams still feel they are in races, and we feel we’re in the race. Teams could have injuries. But in our situation, we’re going to have to play very well and be consistent. … We can’t have anything else go wrong, and we have to have a few things go right.”

Brewers' Macha hints of pre-deadline trade

Tim Dillard joined the Brewers from Triple-A Nashville on Sunday, when manager Ken Macha wondered aloud whether the team, strapped for starters, might get even more help ahead of Friday’s nonwaiver trade deadline.

“The trading deadline is coming and Doug [Melvin, Milwaukee's general manager] is trying to help the club,” Macha said. “I don’t want to try to create expectations, but he’s trying to make the club better and I’m sure if he finds a starting pitcher who can help out, it’s something he would do.

“Here again, the starters that are available are kind of limited, and expensive.”

Macha was asked whether he’d be surprised if the Brewers failed to make an addition before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline.

“I just know how much effort has been put into trying to look at our needs as a whole and fill those needs,” Macha said. “Typically, when you get into this, the further away you are from the deadline, the higher the price is. The closer you get to the deadline, [prices drop]. It’s a bit of a waiting game.”

Of principal owner Mark Attanasio, who was in Milwaukee over the weekend to participate in trade talks, Macha said, “I think Mark is a very competitive guy, and he wants to win. Not only that, but we have a tremendous fan base here and the fans are supporting us. [Attanasio] is very appreciative of that. He showed last year that he’s willing to go out there [and make a trade].”

At the same time, Macha cautioned, Attanasio and Melvin want to field a perennially competitive team, and thus they are hesitant to gut the farm system.

“It’s a balancing act,” Macha said.

The Brewers have been linked oin published reports to all of the supposedly available arms, from Toronto’s Roy Halladay and Cleveland’s Cliff Lee at the top of the list to Arizona’s Doug Davis and Jon Garland, Seattle’s Erik Bedard and Jarrod Washburn and Kansas City’s Brian Bannister.

The deadline is at 3 p.m. CT on July 31. Teams can still make trades after that, but players must pass through waivers first.

UPDATE at 2 p.m. CT, when I noticed that Bedard went back on the disabled list with inflammation in his left shoulder. Will that make Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, whose club is a surprising contender, more or less likely to trade Wisconsin native Washburn? 

 

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