(Could Brett Myers be a fit for the Brew Crew?)
The Brewers’ offseason took a detour from the frugality expressway yesterday with the signing of lefty reliever Tom Gorzelanny. I don’t want to jump the gun and say the Brewers are screwed next year, because we’re only about halfway through the offseason and anything could happen, including a trade for a decent starter. But it is disheartening to hear GM Doug Melvin say that this offseason could be one of those years during which the club doesn’t do much of anything in the free agent market. This could be a smokescreen but the dearth of activity so far this offseason makes one wonder if he’s serious. Also, the notion that the Crew needs to significantly reduce payroll to avoid losing money doesn’t exactly fortify confidence. In any case, when one sees the Twins sign starter Rich Harden to a minor league deal, one wonders why the Brewers couldn’t have done that. It’s not as if it’s about spending loads of money, which the Brewers apparently can’t do. It’s about making some opportunistic moves while those kinds of moves can still be made.
Sometimes it’s best to really carefully listen to what Melvin says and read between the lines. He talks of flexibility and on that point he should be believed. He was using the ‘flexibility’ line during the 2012 season when many people were wondering why the Brewers kept trotting out the same terrible bullpen guys, one failure after another. The Brewers were left high and dry when high-priced relievers K-Rod, Jose Veras and Kam Loe could not get the job done on the mound, all at once. Those guys, particularly K-Rod, were making too much dough for a team like Milwaukee because when they didn’t pan out, Melvin was handcuffed to them. He couldn’t cut them and leave the team on the hook for their salaries yet get none of the ‘production’ on the field, and he couldn’t trade them because their value bottomed out and everyone in baseball knew he wanted to get rid of them. Melvin seems to be stockpiling guys who, should they fail, will be easy to dispose of during the season. He will obviously take some risks with guys that are deemed more dependable, however, like Gorzelanny. Hopefully he will step out on a limb with at least one other recognizable free-agent reliever this offseason, perhaps one of the group he mentioned last weekend.
Another big thing to remember when debating players on the market versus homegrown, in-house options is the key issue of reciprocity. Apparently Milwaukee is such a small-market unknown commodity among professional baseball players that a lot of them either know little about the city or don’t like it very much (for whatever unknown reasons). Doug Melvin often talks about bringing in players who truly want to come to Brew City. I totally get that. Why would he want to bring in guys who are unsure of the location or the atmosphere in Milwaukee? But it remains a wildcard as to whether it’s just particularly difficult to find players who REALLY, REALLY want to come to Milwaukee, or if the Brewers are simply offering fewer dollars than other teams on the open market and thus lose on those players because they’re just as happy in, say, Kansas City, Baltimore or Denver.
Could Brett Myers be a good fit for the Brewers? I’m starting to like the idea. He’s had success as both a starter and reliever, but apparently wants to return to starting. We have a place for him, and if he’s willing to sign for a moderate salary, maybe a couple million fewer than Frankie Liriano did with the Pirates, I would be happy to see a bulldog like Myers in the Brewers’ rotation. That funky goatee would be a hit at Miller Park.