Buried in Adam McCalvy’s article on GM Doug Melvin’s rebuttal about the poor ’09 rotation, was the line that J.J. Hardy is now no longer going to be called up on September 1:
The Brewers do not intend to recall shortstop J.J. Hardy from Triple-A Nashville before Sept. 1, and as a result, Hardy will not have the Major League service time he needs to qualify for free agency following next season. Instead, he’ll have an extra arbitration year before reaching the open market in the winter of 2011.
Moot point, as Hardy would be guaranteed at least $2.6 million in 2010 if offered arbitration (or the maximum 20% reduction from his ’09 salary of $3.25 million)…odds are Melvin will try to find a team that is willing to agree to go to arbitration with him and take on at least $2.6 million. I doubt Melvin will find any takers, so look for the Brewers to not offer him arbitration and try to negotiate will him as a free agent, probably to take Craig Counsell’s spot…and look for Hardy to sign a 2-year deal for around $3 million somewhere else.
McCalvy also reported:
Manager Ken Macha met with Melvin on Friday afternoon to discuss September callups. The plan calls for three pitchers, two infielders and one outfielder, but those promotions will be staggered through the first week of September, because the Triple-A Nashville Sounds are bidding to make the playoffs. The Sounds’ regular season ends Sept. 7.
My guess is the three pitchers will be closer Chris Smith (on 9/01), Mike Burns (on 9/06), and Tim Dillard (on 9/08, of after the Sounds’ playoffs end). The two infielders will be Mat Gamel (on 9/01, so Casey McGehee can fill in at second, and Craig Counsell would fill in at shortstop) and J.J. Hardy (after the Sounds’ season ends and to showcase him a bit), which would leave Hernan Iribarren off the roster. The outfielder will likely be Corey Patterson (again, after the Sounds’ season ends). Of course, Melvin and Macha hope to activate Jesus Colome from the DL in early September, and Seth McClung and Corey Hart soon afterwards.
The Brewers’ elimination number is down to 22 (the number of Brewers’ losses and Cardinals’ wins needed to be mathematically eliminated from winning the division), so the Brewers can only afford to lose about 11 more games, at most (and only one or two of the nine against St. Louis). Eleven more losses would mean the Crew finishes 85-77–probably not good enough to make the playoffs, but a respectable finish to a mediocre season.