The Brewers kicked off winter meetings season a bit early last week, trading outfielder Norichika Aoki to the Royals for lefty Will Smith. There is still plenty to potentially be done for the Crew, though. The club needs to address the first base situation, almost certainly will add some relief pitching help at some point and figures to be in the market for a veteran or two who can play off the bench before it’s all said and done. That isn’t all going to happen over the next few days, but the rumors will still be flying and you never know what can happen at the winter meetings when so many roster decisions are made across the whole game.
Check back to this post throughout the day for updates, and we’ll try and help sort through all of the noise.
Reports on Twitter are including the Brewers and Red Sox among the teams talking with former Cubs closer Carlos Marmol. As we’ve referenced before, the Brewers are looking to bolster their bullpen. Over his eight-year career, Marmol has a 11.66 K/9 and a 6.15 BB/9, which, if signed by Milwaukee, would make Francisco Rodriguez’s ”20 minutes of terror” look like child’s play.
Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel just posted a quick blog about Tom Gorzelanny having what assistant GM Gord Ash is calling a “clean up” procedure in his left shoulder. The southpaw swingman is not expected to be ready in time for spring training to start, but should be ready “shortly thereafter.” In the same post, Haudricourt mentioned that the rehabs of both Aramis Ramirez and Rickie Weeks are on schedule. None of this figures to change much in the team’s offseason strategy, but it is noteworthy.
- Ryan Topp
As expected, the Marlins are trying to move Logan Morrison after finalizing their deal with Garrett Jones, and are telling teams they’ll move fast, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has the Brewers as one of the teams interested in the 26-year-old first baseman/outfielder. Others teams being linked to Morrison include Pittsburgh, Toronto and Baltimore, with conflicting reports on whether or not Tampa Bay is interested.
As mentioned earlier, though, Hart remains the Brewers’ clear choice at first base. Tom Haudricourt gets the feeling that the Brewers would only look to the trade market if they feel like the bidding for Hart gets out of control. By then, it may be too late to make a move on Morrison.
- Jaymes Langrehr
While Hart may be the Brewers’ “priority” at first base, it appears they’re still doing their due diligence on fallback options. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News says the Brewers are showing a “renewed interest” in Ike Davis, who was briefly discussed during last month’s GM meetings.
The left-handed-hitting Davis was once a highly-touted prospect, but has fallen out of favor in New York after a few disappointing, injury-filled seasons. The Mets need a shortstop, but that’s an area where the Brewers are unlikely able to provide help. New York could still use some outfield help, even after signing Curtis Granderson.
- Jaymes Langrehr
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel posted a story from his conversation with Corey Hart’s agent, Jeff Berry.
According to Berry, the Brewers have plainly made Hart “a priority,” but Berry is obviously doing what he can to drive up Hart’s market by talking to other teams.
Reading between the lines, Hart may still be serious about taking a discount for returning to the Brewers, but to avoid taking a discount off a discount, he will first ensure that his agent has assessed his maximum value. That’s an entirely sensible thing for him to do, but hopefully the Brewers are able to get some certainty on his final demands in the near future.
- Jonathan Judge
Two items on the Brewers 1st Base situation both per: mlbtraderumors.com
1) Corey Hart and the Brewers will start to talk soon (per Tom Haudricourt). While he has many suitors, Hart has expressed interest in staying in Milwaukee and for now seems the most likely fit for him.
2) Marlins sign Garret Jones , (RF/1B) to a two year, $7.5 Million deal. While this takes away one of Brewers free agent targets, it does make Logan Morrison more available via trade.
- Vineet Barot
Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) tweeted this morning that the Pirates intend to meet with Bronson Arroyo’s agent about the opening in their rotation that remains unfilled while A.J. Burnett decides if he wants to keep playing.
The prospect of Arroyo (a/k/a “Saturn Nuts”) joining the Pirates is something that would probably excite his many haters among NL Central fans. Arroyo has a definite problem giving up home runs, but has otherwise consistently demonstrated excellent control, pitched a ton of innings each year, and maintained a low BABIP, something I attribute to the way he consistently stays ahead in the count. (Kyle Lohse seems to benefit from a similar approach). This has allowed Arroyo overall to consistently beat his FIP; for his career, his ERA is over .3 of a run better than one might expect. Although this is just a meeting, not an offer, the Pirates must think he would benefit from playing in PNC park, which has tended to restrict home run hitting.
The larger problem for Arroyo may be getting a contract that he feels represents his fair value. Oliver currently projects Arroyo to offer less than a win of value in 2014, and a decline from there. That would suggest an average annual value of $5-7 million a year at most, and not for long duration. Coming off a year in which he was paid $16.4 million, Arroyo may find that hard to swallow. Then again, Fangraphs and Oliver base their WAR projections entirely off FIP, which Arroyo has consistently outperformed. Thus, some team may bet Arroyo will be able to do so again in 2014 and beyond, perhaps allowing him a richer contract.
- Jonathan Judge
- There seems to be some interest on GM Doug Melvin‘s part in getting the first base situation wrapped up at the meetings, though he was careful to say they would be forcing anything.
- Perhaps most interesting was this quote:
“We’re always looking to improve the team, but if it’s not the right deal we’re not going to do it. We’re not going to sacrifice younger players for one-year or two-year fixes. We’re not at the level that we think we need to be to do that.
“We still want to win as many games as we can. But we want to give some of our young players a chance. Over a period of time, they can perform.”