Results tagged ‘ Mark Mulder ’
The Brewers aren’t the only team showing some interest in rehabbing left-hander Mark Mulder, according to a FoxSports.com report.
Two sources said that right-hander Kevin Gregg and left-hander Mike Gonzalez are among the relievers being at least internally discussed by the Brewers, who were also reportedly to meet Tuesday with representatives of free agent starter Mark Mulder.
Gregg or Gonzalez are among a number of names being debated by Brewers officials as they look to bolster a bullpen that will be without injured right-hander Mark DiFelice next season. The Brewers already have their closer in all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman, who finalized a one-year deal soon in the days following the regular season to return for a second year in Milwaukee, and a reliable right-handed setup man in Todd Coffey, who posted a 2.90 ERA while leading the NL with 83 2/3 relief innings.
The 31-year-old Gregg began last season as the Cubs’ closer and went 5-6 with a 4.72 ERA and 23 saves while pitching in 72 games, his third straight season of at least 70 appearances. He suffered seven blown saves before the Cubs lifted him from the closer’s role in August.
Gregg would probably not be the right-handed specialist that DiFelice was. Right-handed hitters batted .257 against him in 2009 with 11 home runs in 144 plate appearances. Lefties only hit him at a .195 clip, with two home runs in 118 at-bats. For his career, right-handers have batted .252 against Gregg versus .277 by left-handers.
Gregg was a Type A free agent but the Cubs didn’t offer him arbitration. That means Milwaukee would not have to forfeit a Draft pick to sign him.
They would, however, have to make that sacrifice for Gonzalez, who declined the Braves’ offer of arbitration to seek employment on the open market. Because the Brewers’ 2009 record put them in the bottom half of baseball’s 30 teams, they would only have to surrender a second-round pick.
Gonzalez split closer duties in Atlanta last season with right-hander Rafael Soriano and posted a 2.42 ERA and 10 saves in 80 games. He’s tough against hitters on both sides of the plate, holding left-handed batters to a .201 average and left-handers to .213.
The Brewers already have one in-house left-hander in Mitch Stetter, who had a 3.60 ERA in 71 appearances last year.
Another left-hander on Milwaukee’s radar for some time is Mulder, whose representatives were to meet with Brewers officials on Tuesday, according to SI.com. Mulder could be a bounce-back candidate to help Milwaukee’s starting rotation.
Mulder has been limited to four starts since 2006 because of shoulder injuries and did not pitch at all in 2009. He did work during a summer of rehab with his former Oakland A’s pitching coach, Rick Peterson, who was hired by the Brewers earlier this winter. According to SI.com, Peterson was to take park in Tuesday’s sit-down.
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin was to meet with reporters at the Winter Meetings after 4 p.m. CT.
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Some quick hits about the Brewers’ quest to improve their pitching:
- There remains dialogue between Brewers GM Doug Melvin and the agent for Mark Mulder, the former A’s and Cardinals left-hander who has been limited to four starts since 2006 because of injury. The Brewers are intrigued by Mulder as a bounce-back candidate, and he has worked as recently as this past summer with incoming Brewers pitching coach Rick Peterson, so Melvin placed a call after the season to agent Gregg Clifton, who represents Mulder. At some point within the last week, Clifton returned that call, though Melvin wouldn’t say much about it.
Mulder would be the ultimate high-risk, high-reward pick-up, and the Brewers would only be interested at the right price. Given that there is ongoing communication, he’s a name to watch.
- The Brewers might have been in better position to trade for Tigers right-hander Edwin Jackson before J.J. Hardy went to Minnesota in a trade, but Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday that has been in contact with Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski. The Tigers may be shopping Jackson in a move to manage their own payroll.
- Another potential trade partner is Atlanta, as the pitching-rich Braves field offers for either Derek Lowe or Javier Vazquez. Mark Bowman, our MLB.com Braves reporter, speculates that the Brewers or Angels would make sense for Lowe, though Melvin may be turned off by the three years and $45 million left on the sinkerballer’s contract. Lowe was 15-10 with a 4.67 ERA in his first season in Atlanta and has made at least 32 starts in all eight seasons since he converted from relief. Melvin loves durability.
But as Mark points out, there are indications that Brewers would almost certainly favor Vazquez, who is owed $11.5 million in the final year of his contract. He should get some Cy Young Award votes after going 15-10 in 2009 with a 2.87 ERA and a remarkable 238-to-44 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. Melvin loves strike-throwers.
As for what the Braves would seek? Pure speculation here, but they are looking at corner outfielders with power and Corey Hart could fit the bill if the Braves are convinced he can bounce back from a season marred by inconsistency and then an appendectomy. Hart has been involved in trade rumors with the Braves before. Perhaps the Brewers could also dangle one of their third base prospects as a future replacement for Chipper Jones, who has three years remaining on his deal. Melvin has previously resisted trading Mat Gamel, but the emergence of Casey McGehee and Adam Heether in 2009 at least gives the Brewers more options. I hear that Braves scouts are split on Gamel’s worth. Taylor Green is also a good prospect despite some recent injury troubles.
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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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