In the News (12/11)

Right Field BleachersCorrespondent IDecember 11, 2008

Brewers News

- OK, so everyone knows the big news of the day… CC Sabathia signed with the New York Yankees for seven years and $161 million. There is an opt out clause after the third season. The Brewers were the only other confirmed offer. They offered a five-year $100 million contract. It was reported that the team’s contract offer included “unique clauses to maximize Sabathia’s post-tax paycheck, plus two club options that could have pushed it to a seven-year contract.” The source that revealed that information said the Brewers offer would have been within $1.5 million annually of the original NY offer when all factors were considered. I will  spare you the hundreds of other links on CC. I wish him luck and I will always be a big fan, but he is a Yankee now. Moving on…

- The team is moving on as well.

- Doug Melvin was on “The Big Show” on 1250 WSSP:

  • They were disappointed to hear Sabathia was signing with NY, but are ready to move on.
  • Wishes CC the best of luck with the Yankees.
  • He thinks it was just the Yankees and Brewers competing for Sabathia.
  • In the end, they were just too far away on the money.
  • Had five-year offer on the table and were looking at offering sixth year with Mark A. and financial people.
  • The Brewers were not offered a chance to beat Yankees’ offer.
  • Cannot blame CC for taking offer.
  • Have some money to spend.
  • Needs pitching, left-handed hitting.
  • Have not talked with Lowe or Burnett.
  • Visited with Ben, but it was casual. It appears Sheets will have opportunities on multi-year deals with other teams.
  • Will be looking at “a number of different pitchers.”
  • Goal is still to get to postseason this season.
  • “We’re pretty well set at every position.”
  • Negotiating contract with Chris Capuano, believes he wants to come back to Brewers.
  • Teams have asked about Fielder, Hart and Hardy, but no substantial talks.
  • No one is untouchable.

- Melvin was also on with Homer of ESPN 540 Milwaukee:

  • Had plans in place for if Sabathia did not sign with team.
  • Had heard CC was not real interested in going to New York so they felt they had a chance.
  • Never made six-year offer.
  • Felt he was a special player and felt the team had to make him a substantial offer. It would have been tough to fit that contract onto team.
  • Gallardo and Parra need to take the next step forward in their development. “If they don’t, it’ll be a long season and someone else will have to step up.”
  • Have discussed Mike Cameron trade with Yankees, but nothing is imminent.
  • Looking at free agent pitchers, not trades, right now because they do not want to give up players.
  • Mat Gamel has a chance to make team out of spring training.
  • Defense is an area Gamel will have to continue to work on, but he is a “professional hitter” already.
  • Have discussed Escobar at SS and Hardy at third. Have not made a decision yet.
  • Fuentes’ price range is “pretty high,” but they are discussing it.
  • They will probably pass on Hoffmann.
  • McClung could be fifth starter or closer.
  • DiFelice will be long guy, does not have good enough secondary pitches to start.
  • Carlos Villanueva could be a sleeper in the closer role. He is “better served in the bullpen” than as a starter.
  • “I still like Rickie.” Second most walks on club. Sounds like he will hit leadoff again.

Rumor and Speculation

- Milwaukee needs a starting pitcher or two now and a closer.

- Melvin said there is a trade offer on the table from one team (not the Mariners or Giants) that would not be resolved before the winter meetings end.

- He also said the team may take pitching in tomorrow’s Rule Five draft.

- The team was reportedly interested in Hoffman, but cooled on him and are still considering Fuentes. Fuentes would require a pretty big contract, at least a three-year deal and a first round draft pick (since he is a Type A free agent). 

- The Brewers are talking to the Rangers about starting pitchers Vicente Padilla and Kevin Millwood. Ironically, the Rangers are trying to make room for a Ben Sheets signing. Melvin later said the Brewers were “going to look elsewhere” though.

- The Brewers are reportedly interested in Randy Johnson. It makes sense since they need a starter and Johnson will not command the big money, long-term deals other guys will. Johnson wants to play out West though… More HERE.

- Melvin has indicated the team will likely not make offers to Sheets or Shouse.

- Bill Hall’s hometown paper says the Yankees might be interested in him. I guess it makes sense since it has been reported that they want a utility infielder, but it is hard to believe they would pick up Hall’s big contract since his last two seasons have been less than stellar.

- Al at Al’s Ramblings points out that former Brewers Gabe Gross may soon be a free agent and could be of interest to the Brewers as a reserve outfielder with a lefty bat.

- The annual “Jarrod Washburn could be traded to the Brewers” rumor has arrived. I know the guy is from Wisconsin and the Brewers are pretty much always in search of starting pitching, but it seems like I have heard the Brewers connected to him every year for a half dozen years now.

Minor Leagues

- Minor League Ball lists the top 20 Brewers prospects.

- Brewers prospect Lorenzo Cain was on Baseball Prospectus radio. (Hat tip Brew Crew Ball)

- The new owners of the Nashville Sounds have reached a new deal on the lease of Greer Stadium. They will start working on plans for upgrades to the stadium. This is good, long overdue news. More HERE.

NL Central

- Roy Oswalt is willing to restructure his contract to help the Astros sign a starting pitcher. He has been vocal that he would like to see Houston sign Ben Sheets.

- The Pirates traded Ronny Paulino for a minor-league catcher.

- Fuentes is a top priority for the Cardinals.

Other News

- J.J. Putz is no longer an option for the closer spot. The Mets traded for him in a three-team trade with the Mariners and Indians today. I would have though Jack Z could have got more for Putz, but I guess with the down economy and glut of closers on the market, he took what he could get…

- Could former Brewer Nelson Cruz finally stick in the Majors? The Rangers are hoping so, going as far as penciling him into the cleanup spot in their batting order. We will see how long that lasts…


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