The Winter Meetings are underway in Nashville. Hopefully you read my preview column so that I don’t have to re-reference a lot of reasoning behind my forthcoming comments, but if you didn’t you can definitely do so and then come right back.
The first official day of the Winter Meetings is complete and while much talking and negotiating takes place “after hours”, there is daily availability from Doug Melvin to recap the day for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Today, Melvin pulled back the current a bit to confirm that he has made contact regarding a pair of free agent relief pitchers. He also, as I said he would and already basically did, retreated from his previous comments stating that they would not go over two years for a starting pitcher. He reminded those that needed reminding that for the right player at the right dollars, he’d go longer than two years.
Melvin was asked about the team’s reciprocal interest in free agent starting pitcher Ryan Dempster. He said that he hadn’t met with Dempster’s agent yet but that he “might as well” discuss the right-hander while they’re all here. He was quick to note that it might simply be time to let their young pitchers earn their keep. He listed the same group of in-house options that I’ve mentioned more than once in this space, so no reason to list them again. He did state that he feels the top level of the organization’s depth at starting pitcher currently features Tyler Thornburg and Hiram Burgos.
The relief pitchers with which Melvin has made contact are righty Jason Grilli and lefty Sean Burnett. Melvin was clear that he wants to get a left-handed relief pitcher but through free agency rather than a trade. He also said that while he spoke to Grilli’s agent, former big leaguer Gary Sheffield (yes, that Gary Sheffield), there is still a long list of available relievers. Those names on Milwaukee’s radar include Jason Frasor, Kevin Gregg, and Jon Rauch. Melvin noted that he has no interest in Matt Capps or Daisuke Matsuzaka. There’s always a group of recent additions to the organization that will get an opportunity to fill a bullpen spot or two including Michael Olmstead, Fautino De Los Santos, Jairo Ascenio, Arcenio Leon, et cetera.
More specifically on the if any negotiations are underway or any ideas are “down the road”, Melvin said that he had no active trade talks and that the trade market was pretty quiet right now while the top free agents determine the locations of their new home offices.
As for current Brewers, Melvin was asked about Corey Hart and responded that he hasn’t talked to Hart’s agent about an extension yet and also had not fielded any recent trade ideas for the longest-tenured Brewer. In other words: nothing to report.
Melvin was also asked about their current catching situation. He made it sound like he’d prefer to keep Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado in place but has been asked more a couple of times about the availability of half of the catching duo. He did also say, however, that someone would have to come with a strong offer to pry one away (likely Maldonado would be more available than Lucroy, in my opinion) so that’s not an untouchable situation by any means.
Finally, the subject of the big fish Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton was broached. Melvin said that he didn’t foresee getting involved on either player because they appeared to be “getting market value” which means too pricey for Milwaukee.