Melvin speaks about Gamel, Greinke, Marcum on WTMJ | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

Doug Melvin made an appearance on 620 WTMJ Tuesday night with Greg Matzek and Trenni Kusnierek, addressing everything from pitchers and catchers reporting to his plans for possible extensions with Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum. As an added bonus, he added a Jeremy Lin reference. You can listen to the full interview yourself on 620’s website (h/t to Jim Goulart), but here are the highlights.

On if he’s disappointed there’s been no Braun decision yet:

“I haven’t been informed on anything at this point, so you just continue to have patience and understand when a decision comes down, we obviously can move forward from that point on. But yeah, at some point disappointment does start to set in in that regard, but I do know that the time is probably coming real close.”

On the rotation:

“The thing I’m very impressed with is the condition and work ethic our pitchers put in in the offseason. You know, having all five starters back is something that’s never happened in my 16 years as a general manager. Everybody’s come into camp in great shape and Ron [Roenicke] emphasized that I see much liver arms and uh, better arms in this spring training than he did even last year.”

On position players in camp already:

“There’s a few. Mat Gamel’s here, obviously the catchers are here, Nyjer Morgan’s been here for well over a week, he’s been over at the minor league site working out every day. Cesar Izturis came in today. That’s pretty well the group at this point, but I think with our season extending longer last year because of the playoffs, I think players recognize that spring training can be long, too. We played 203 games in 227 days last year, so I think the guys are taking the extra two days whereas in the past positional guys may have been filtering in here a few days when the pitchers and catchers are here, but I think the length of last season has prevented them from coming in and saying, ‘hey, I’m going to take those extra two days,’ just rest and relax and they’ll be here in camp on the weekend.”

On Don Money’s infamous comments on Mat Gamel’s professionalism, and what’s changed:

“Yeah, Mat’s here in camp, and very quiet, going about his business, physically in the best shape he’s ever been. You know, we just see someone who’s performed well at the minor league level and never been given the opportunity at the big league level. You know, I’ve seen it enough through my years sometimes the one extra year of patience with a player pays off and I know I keep using the analogy that David Freese got traded from San Diego to the Cardinals and you look at players like that and wonder if one extra year of patience with a player would’ve helped him. You gotta even look as far back as Brett Favre and wonder if the Atlanta Falcons were more patient, one more year with a young player that didn’t have a great attitude, if they had one more year of patience if Brett Favre’s career would’ve been as an Atlanta Falcon. So I’m always as an individual a little more guarded and take that extra year of being patient. But Mat’s always hit and I don’t want him hitting with someone else without us exhausting all our efforts and he knows his opportunity and can capitalize on it.”

On possible Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum extensions:

“I’d like to sit down with Mark Attanasio during spring training here and map out or plan out if we want to engage in long-term contract negotiations with some of our players. Marcum and Greinke are the free agents, but we have some younger players that we have some interest in possibly looking at tying up earlier on, the same way we did with Yovani Gallardo in that regards. And you know, some of the players, the closer they get to free agency, the harder to keep them. But we’ll sit down and map this out as soon as the Braun decision comes down and I can get Mark Attanasio to come into spring training to focus on it, we’ll put a plan together and attack it at that point. But it’ll be more during spring training as opposed to in-season.”

On bench possibly being younger than in years past:

“Yeah, it’s a possibility. When our players were younger and not making money, we were paying Craig Counsell $3 million a year at that time and paying Jason Kendall, a veteran catcher, to work with our pitchers. So but now that our younger players are more established and they’re making money, they don’t necessarily need that clubhouse leader as much as we did in the past when we had younger players and it was important to have that clubhouse leader. My expectations are that Ryan Braun and Corey Hart and Nyjer Morgan…they’ve all been experienced enough, they’re all 27, 31 years of age so they’re experienced enough, they don’t necessarily need the clubhouse leadership as much as they did in the past. So there’s a possiblity you could have younger guys, although it’s tough for young guys to perform as a back-up on a part-time basis. But we’ll wait and see. You know, Cesar Izturis is in camp here, a veteran in a back-up role so… we have 24 players with playoff experience, so it’s an experienced ballclub but it isn’t an old club.”

On whether having more money to spend makes things easier, or leads to tougher decisions:

“Sometimes it’s a little tougher, when teams see you’re at that level and you’re a piece or two away from getting to the postseason, it’s always tempting to go out there and spend that money and sometimes it’s not necessary. You know, Marco Estrada wasn’t even in camp last year and was an important piece for us. Nyjer Morgan was like $475,000 last year and he was a trade piece on the last week of spring training. So sometimes having the money, you feel like you can go get that veteran still out there and still available and other times there’s a player you have in camp. You know, I said there’s a Jeremy Lin somewhere in our clubhouse and you have to try to find him.”

On plans for Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley this spring:

“They probably won’t pitch a lot of innings here, maybe one or two outings will probably be enough, and they’ll be sent across the parking lot to the minor league side and from there get active with the minor league teams they’ll be going to. They haven’t pitched any professional innings yet at this point, so just to get a little exposure to the big league side, to know what it takes, the work ethic, to work with our coaches, and give us the chance to see them. But they won’t be that active in the games, probably two outings at the most and then we’ll get everybody else ready for the season.”

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