Could Brewers’ new pitching coach Rick Peterson mean an A’s reunion?

When Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin hired former A’s pitching coach Rick Peterson, Melvin was no doubt well aware of Peterson’s success in 2003 with the A’s with #1-#3 starters Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, and Barry Zito…not to mention Rich Harden. Some or all may be targets for the 2010 Brewers’ rotation. Tom Haudricourt of JSOnline.com reported in his blog last Friday that Mulder, who sat out 2009 still recovering from surgery to his shoulder, worked with Peterson and his new company throughout this year. Peterson has up-to-the-minute information on how well Mulder is doing, and would seem to have an inside edge in persuading him to consider Milwaukee. Of course, the Brewers would want some assurances that Mulder is still effective. Mulder’s asking price would also be relatively affordable–an incentive-laden one-year contract with a club option for ’11 is very possible. Also…pitching deep Atlanta has been rumored to be interested in dealing Tim Hudson. The Braves are reportedly trying to sign Hudson to a 3-year extension through 2013, but if the deal falls through–or if the Braves just want to have a bargaining chip for trading–Hudson could also be available. The Giants may also be ready to deal Barry Zito. Zito, who has 4 years left on his seven-year, $126 million contract. A 10-13, 4.03 is hardly spectacular, and the Giants may be willing to dump his contract for some hitting. Of course, the only way that Melvin & Co. would entertain this is to get some salary relief from the Giants, either in the form of money or them taking Jeff Suppan off their hands. And Peterson would want to sign off on the deal and need to convince Melvin that he can improve Zito’s delivery. Lastly, Rich Harden is a free agent and may be swayed a bit with the prospect of working with Peterson again. Harden may be had for around $14 million per year without sacrificing any hitting talent, making him yet another former A’s pitcher from 2003 that has been with both Macha and Peterson. Mulder and Harden remain the most probably additions…but if Peterson was the link that turned all four of these into the pitchers that they were, Zito and Hudson may also wish to join the reunion party.

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