Results tagged ‘ Roy Halladay ’
Their pipeline of Minor League talent is not exactly dry, but the Brewers do not have enough top-level prospects to get into the Roy Halladay derby at next week’s Winter Meetings.
The Blue Jays are listening to offers for their ace, who, with apologies to free agent John Lackey, will be the most sought-after pitcher on this winter’s market. Starting pitchers are at the top of Milwaukee’s wish list, but it’s clear to club officials that they won’t be able to match other teams’ offers to Toronto.
“The Eric Arnett’s and Kentrail Davis’ of the world are too far away,” said Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash, referring to the Brewers’ top two picks in last year’s First-Year Player Draft. “They [the Blue Jays] are going to be looking for Double-A and Triple-A help.”
And at those two levels, the Brewers are admittedly thinner, especially in the pitching department. It’s widely believed that the Blue Jays want at least one Major League-ready pitcher in a Halladay trade, and that’s why Ash believes that Halladay more likely will land with a team like the Phillies or the Yankees or perhaps the Red Sox, all of whom have young pitching studs either in the Majors or the top levels of the farm system.
There’s also the matter of Halladay’s no-trade powers. He has the right to veto any deal, and Ash is convinced that he would do just that if presented with a chance to move to Milwaukee. Halladay, who is set to earn $15.75 million in 2010 in the final year of his contract, has more starts than any other active pitcher without a postseason appearance.
“He has control of his destiny, and we’re not a part of his criteria.” Ash said. “For one, we’re not a Florida [Spring Training] team. I also don’t think he’s looking for a chance to win, he’s looking for a guaranteed win.”
The Phillies and Yankees train in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, mere minutes from Halladay’s house.
So the Brewers are looking for pitching help elsewhere, and club officials have been huddling for weeks pouring over every free agent possibility. If they seek pitchers via trade, then that Minor League pipeline could come into play.
For more on which prospects could come into play in 2010 for the Brewers, see my story on Brewers.com later today.
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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.”
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?
If the Brewers are indeed “basically out” of the running for Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay, as one national baseball writer wrote on Twitter, it would be news to Milwaukee’s general manager.
“I haven’t been told that we’re out,” Doug Melvin said Friday, when the Brewers began a homestand that takes them to within 24 hours of the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline. “I was never told that we’re in, either.
“I don’t want to get into who we’re talking to and when we’ve talked. It’s all part of the negotiations.”
After acquiring second baseman Felipe Lopez from the Diamondbacks on Sunday — Lopez missed a second straight start Friday because of a hamstring strain but will be installed as the everyday leadoff hitter once he’s healthy — Melvin’s focus is bolstering a shaky starting rotation that ranked 15th of the 16 National League teams and 27th of the 30 Major League teams with a 4.96 ERA entering the weekend. Young left-hander Manny Parra entered his Friday start against the Braves riding a series of successful starts following a demotion to Triple-A Nashville, but right-hander Dave Bush remained sidelined by a right triceps injury and fellow righty Mike Burns has been too inconsistent.
Burns is lined up to start on Tuesday against the Nationals, but the Brewers are poised to bump him from the rotation. If Melvin doesn’t make a trade before then, right-hander Tim Dillard will be promoted from Nashville.
The Phillies are widely considered the chief suitor for Halladay, a right-hander who started for the Blue Jays on Friday night. Philadelphia ranked just three spots above the Brewers among NL teams with a 4.74 starters’ ERA. The Dodgers and Red Sox have also been mentioned as suitors.
According to CBSsports.com’s Danny Knobler, the Brewers fell out of the running for Halladay because they were unwilling to part with Mat Gamel or Alcides Escobar — considered Milwaukee’s top two prospects — to land Halladay. Knobler also reported that scouts from the Brewers and Red Sox left Toronto ahead of Halladay’s start against the Rays at Rogers Centre while Phillies special assistant Charley Kerfeld stayed to watch.
Asked to characterize the market one week before the deadline, Melvin called it, “quiet.” That’s probably because the top available pitchers either have one year left on their contract or an expensive option following this season — Halladay, Cleveland’s Cliff Lee, San Diego’s Jake Peavy and Arizona’s Jon Garland all fit that category — and thus will command extra in a trade. The list of pending free agents is shorter, and it includes Arizona’s Doug Davis and Seattle’s Erik Bedard and Jarrod Washburn.
Melvin has been in contact with Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, who until last fall was Milwaukee’s amateur scouting director, but Zduriencik is hesitant to deal because Seattle is a surprising contender; seven games over .500 and 5 1/2 games out of first place in the American League West entering play Friday.
Brewers officials, meanwhile, have debated internally whether it’s worth digging into the farm system for a second straight season — CC Sabathia cost four prospects last year including 2007 first-round Draft pick Matt LaPorta — to acquire a front-line pitcher. That debate is ongoing, Melvin said.
“It depends what you get, and what you give up,” Melvin said. “That’s what it really comes down to. What you get, what you give up, and how you’re playing at the time that you do it. …
“We’ve still got a good team,” Melvin added. “We just have to put it together. We have to put some consistency together and have a little winning streak.”
Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi says he will listen to offers for ace right-hander Roy Halladay. Might Brewers GM Doug Melvin, who is once again looking to trade for a pitcher, make a call?
“I’m open to talking about anybody,” Melvin said on Tuesday. “I’m also realistic to know that not everybody is available all the time.”
Here is what our MLB.com Blue Jays beat writer, Jordan Bastian, wrote today on that topic:
Halladay’s name has been floated in trade rumors in the past, but this is the first time Ricciardi has openly admitted that he’s willing to consider dealing the right-hander. Halladay is signed through 2010 and Ricciardi has maintained that the Jays plan on discussing a contract extension with the pitcher this coming offseason. …
After learning about Ricciardi’s comments, Halladay met with the media prior to Tuesday’s game against the Rays at Tropicana Field. Halladay wanted to address the issue once, getting it out of the way with the hope that the development would not become a distraction.
Asked if he was more open to potentially being traded now than in the past, Halladay grimaced and hesitated before answering.
“That’s tough. That’s a tough question to answer, honestly,” Halladay said. “I want to stay here, but I think when an organization is kind of thinking that maybe we kind of want to go this direction, and it’s a situation that suits the team and yourself, then you have to evaluate that and say, ‘Maybe this is the best thing.’ I’m really not in that situation yet.”
Halladay is under contract this season for $14.25 million and is scheduled to make $15.75 million next year in the final season of his current contract. His deal also includes a full no-trade clause.
Melvin wasn’t sure about that last point when he spoke via telephone on Tuesday evening.
“I don’t know his situation, if he has a total no-trade [clause],” Melvin said. “I’d have to get more information.”
Does the fact Halladay would not just be a two- or three-month rental, like CC Sabathia was for the Brewers last year, make him easier or more difficult to discuss?
“What made the CC thing easier was that he didn’t have a no-trade clause and you knew he only had a half-year left on his contract,” Melvin said. “When guys are traded in the middle of long-term deals, they can demand a trade the next year. Those questions all have to be cleared up.”