Melvin: Few Arms Available in Trades
By Jay Sorgi
With a little more than one full day left until the Major League Baseball trade deadline, general managers like Brewers GM Doug Melvin often find their ear attached to their phone, as they listen to and make trade offers to improve their team.
The Brewers' greatest immediate need for improvement stands right now with a debilitated starting pitching rotation.
However, Melvin admits the available stock of potential starters out there for trades is not very plentiful.
"There's not many teams out there wanting to give up their pitching," Melvin said on 620WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."
"They know that when they give up their pitching, they're also looking at next year, with what are they going to have with pitching. Pitching is so valuable."
The high value of starting pitching means a high cost, one that has been too steep in most instances for Melvin to stomach.
"There's players available that can make us better for this year and for the future, we're willing to do that. The risk we have to look at is 'do we want to give up quality guys for two months, or for twelve starts?' That's the tough part for us.
"There's no longer the CC Sabathia there, the Halladay trade does not appear to be available anymore, and Cliff Lee is off the table. We just have to gauge that. It's the same thing you do every year, gauging your risk and reward for the short term and for the long term."
Additionally, a Wisconsin native and World Series champion pitcher won't be coming back to the land of cheese for this year.
"We've talked with Seattle about (Jarrod) Washburn. It appears they may just keep him."
Cleveland dealt a pitcher that was potentially on the Brewers' radar, Cliff Lee, to the Phillies in a six-player trade including top prospects - something Melvin hasn't been willing to jettison.
"You have to look at players, and when is a time to give up a player," said Melvin.
"Our level of prospects with Gamel and Escobar, our very premium guys, and after that, we have certain levels of prospects. We never really did get engaged in the Cliff Lee trade, because of the number of players we would have had to give up. Sometimes, team match up better because of positions, and Philly matched up with Cleveland in that deal."
How To Solve Current Problems?
Milwaukee, now on a stretch of 37 runs given up in four games (1-3 record vs. Atlanta and Washington), has to quickly solve its issues with the starting pitching staff if it wants to remain in the NL Central hunt.
"We definitely have some nicks in our rotation," said Melvin.
"Once we get into our 7th and 8th inning, the DiFelice's and Hoffman's, we feel pretty good about it, but we've struggled early on in games, so we'll see what we can do with the trade deadline, knowing you can't get someone after. After the trade deadline, some players get put on waivers, and we'll take a look at that one, too."
"The injury bug has hit us here, and some inconsistencies, but we still are positive as we move forward. A lot of things have to happen for us, with the Cardinals and Cubs. There's a lot of baseball left, and you just have to keep going out there, hoping you can score some runs in key opportunities and give our pitchers some run support."
The pitchers, though, have to hold down the opponent, and an inconsistent, but sometimes solid-performing Jeff Suppan is now the latest to have to step aside due to a strained oblique.
"It just happened in the game the other day, swinging the bat," explained Melvin.
"It was a mild strain, but it's enough to prevent him from going out there and pitching at this time. There is a good possibility he could end up on the DL. I'd say a higher percentage of that happening. The doctor will see him today. Again, we go day-by-day with him until we need the pitching. There's probably a higher possibility of him making the DL."
Such a move may force the Brewers' hand to bring more pitchers on the roster and avoid calling up Alvides Escobar before the September 40-man rosters happen.
"Not at this time. You'd have to take someone off the roster. We're trying to just let him keep playing. Before September, it probably won't happen, but you never know. Right now, we're focusing on patching up our starting pitching."