With just over a month to go in the season and the Brewers 11 games out of the NL Central lead and 10.5 games out of the wildcard, it appears that Doug Melvin is ready to call it quits on the 2009 season. According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Brewers have placed a number of veterans on the waiver wire to gauge interest in possible trades.
Rosenthal’s source says that Trevor Hoffman, Mike Cameron, Craig Counsell, Jason Kendall, Braden Looper, and Felipe Lopez were all put onto waivers on Tuesday. All six players could potentially be free agents following the season, so they would likely be one-month rentals for their new teams. As a result, it doesn’t seem like Melvin is likely to actually make a deal — anything he would get in return would have to be better than what he could get from the possible compensation picks in next year’s draft, and not many teams would be willing to give up a sandwich pick-level talent for one month’s worth of production.
Of the players listed, Hoffman would likely be the most attractive
option. There are a few playoff contenders whose bullpen situations
are less than stellar and might be interested in the all-time saves
leader for a playoff run. Philadelphia’s Brad Lidge has been horrible
most of the season, putting up a 7.33 ERA in 53 games. The Angels have
gotten 35 saves from Brian Fuentes, but the big offseason acquisition
has also put up a 4.10 ERA in 41 innings. Fernando Rodney’s been solid
all year, but the Tigers are always looking to upgrade their bullpen.
With the Red Sox acquiring Billy Wagner the other day, perhaps the
Texas Rangers would be interested in shoring up their own bullpen for
the hyper-competitive AL Wildcard race.
While Hoffman likely has the most interested suitors, it also makes the
least amount of sense to deal him. With his production this year,
Hoffman will likely be a Type A free agent in the offseason, possibly
netting the Brewers two compensation picks. With so few games
remaining, there’s next to no chance of Melvin getting that kind of
value in a trade. The Brewers would be better off keeping Hoffman the
rest of the season and offering him arbitration — even if he decides
to accept arby instead of becoming a free agent, the Brewers would
probably love to have him back next year, anyway.
Mike Cameron probably won’t be a Type A free agent, but would still net
a sandwich pick as compensation if he decided to sign elsewhere in the
offseason. Like Hoffman, the Brewers would love to have Cameron back
next year due to his outstanding defense and above-average bat in
centerfield. There are quite a few contenders that would likely want
to add Cameron to replace an under-performing outfielder — most
notably the Yankees, who supposedly tried to get Cameron for Melky
Cabrera and Kei Igawa in the offseason.
The only players I wouldn’t mind missing the compensation are Counsell,
Looper, and Kendall. Counsell’s shown an extreme devotion to his
hometown club, so if he was traded to a playoff club to finish the
year, there’s still a chance he’d come back to Milwaukee next year on
another 1 year, $1 million deal. Trading Looper would help the Brewers
avoid paying the buyout if they don’t want to exercise his 2010 option,
while trading Kendall would eliminate the danger of him accepting
arbitration in the offseason.
Kendall’s said that he wants to finish his career in Milwaukee, but
also play 2 to 3 more years. I’d like to think that Melvin doesn’t
have much of a problem with the first statement, but has a big problem
with the second. Personally, the only way I’d like to see Kendall on
the 25-man roster next year is as the back up, and that probably won’t
happen if Ken Macha is still managing the team. It’d be better to
trade Kendall to a team looking for a back up, even if the deal is for
a bag of baseballs and a dinner at Red Lobster. Heck, even Ivan
Rodriguez was able to net something for the Houston Astros.
Knowing Melvin, I wouldn’t expect him to make any trades between now
and the waiver trade deadline. Small market teams need to get the most
value possible from their current assets, and Melvin’s done a pretty
good job of maximizing value over the years. Trading Hoffman or
Cameron for 75 or 50 cents on the dollar would be extremely unlike
Melvin, unless he gets a nugget or two that he’s had his eye on for
quite some time.