Hot Stove Report: Brewers Focusing In

jphowellThe Winter Meetings came and went with the Milwaukee Brewers not exactly making headlines. No agreements were made during the week though the meetings were hardly without action by Doug Melvin, Gord Ash, and their contingent.

It was reported last week Wednesday that Doug Melvin had met with Greg Genske, representative of several free agents this off-season. While Melvin confirmed the meeting, he wouldn’t state the nature of the discussions.

I learned last night that the Brewers have begun to “kick the tires”, to use the phrase, on one of Genske’s charges. By that I mean that they’ve looked into the player a bit more closely as of late. That player is free agent left-handed relief pitcher J.P. Howell.

Howell, 29, threw 50.1 IP in 2012, posting a 3.04 ERA while limiting left-handed hitters to a .200 AVG (17-for-85). He has made 101 appearances over the past two years as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.

No offer has been made. It didn’t even sound like any terms had been discussed. The Brewers aren’t the only team interested in Howell. It was reported some time in the last few days (the specific tweeter escapes me) that Howell was being looked at by the Washington Nationals since they had lost Sean Burnett to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California, PST. The Nationals “involvement” on Howell was confirmed to me last night as well.

Also of note, after the talk at the Winter Meetings about how the Brewers “would listen” on offers for Corey Hart, I was told that there aren’t any trade talks about any Brewer past the early stages. That does not mean that there are any in the early stages, just that none are advanced past that point if any are underway at all.

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