Brewers looking at Kenny Lofton?

I first heard about the rumor on Madison’s ESPN Radio’s Heller & Murphy show.
Then I did a Google search and found ESPN was reporting it…and then JSOnline’s Tom Haudricourt did a blog posting on it.
Some pluses and minuses to signing Kenny Lofton:
Pluses:

  • Lofton bats left-handed…something the Brewers sorely need.
  • Lofton has a decent OBP historically: .367 in ’07, and .386 vs. righties.
  • He can steal bases still–23 last year.
  • Lofton would bring that so-called “veteran” experience to a young team that lost its veteran leader, Geoff Jenkins, in the off-season.

Minuses:

  • Lofton is old–he’ll be 41 at the end of May next season.
  • Lofton played in the AL last year (after 5 straight years in the NL).
  • Lofton will be expensive–at least $4 million a season–something that the Brewers may not wish to spend on a platoon player.
  • Lofton would delay the development of Tony Gwynn, Jr. and mean Gabe Gross would be released or traded (or sent down to Nashville).

It is this last point that bothers me the most. I still want to see Tony Gwynn, Jr., get a shot at being an everyday outfielder and, barring a disasterous spring training, I think he will be the Brewers’ opening day starting left fielder.
Of course, Doug Melvin still has an extra pitcher–all 5 of last year’s starters return, plus Yovani Gallardo will push one of them out of the ’08 rotation. With Turnbow, Gagné, Riske, Mota, Torres, Villanueva and Shouse in the bullpen, and Manny Parra starting the year in Nashville, either Capuano, Bush, or Vargas would need to be either released or traded…unless Capuano or Parra can bump out Shouse for the situational lefty spot in the ‘pen.

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