No surprises for Brewers at Deadline
Club secure with Sabathia, Durham; relievers too costly
MILWAUKEE -- By mid-afternoon Thursday, it became clear that no one would be pulled over while speeding to catch the Brewers' charter.The first of Major League Baseball's two Trade Deadlines passed Thursday, and the Brewers were quiet, content with their mid-July acquisitions of starter CC Sabathia and infielder Ray Durham and unwilling to pay the high price required for an additional relief pitcher.
The Deadline to swap players without requesting waivers passed at 3 p.m. CT on Thursday. Teams can still make trades through Aug. 31, and have those players eligible for postseason series, but they must first clear waivers."We didn't have conversations with anyone today," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said Thursday. The inaction spared some poor player what happened to infielder Russell Branyan last Aug. 31. He had been designated for assignment by the Phillies and was waiting at home in Nashville for word of his fate when the Cardinals came calling. Then-GM Walt Jocketty wanted Branyan at Busch Stadium in time for that night's game, so Branyan raced to St. Louis only to be pulled over by a state trooper about 30 miles short of his destination. "I could see the city from where I was at," Branyan said. "Luckily, the guy was a baseball fan." Branyan has been traded three times to pennant-chasers, once in a pre-waiver Deadline deal and twice in August, when teams can still trade players but must first pass them through waivers. On June 7, 2002, he was dealt from Cleveland to a Cincinnati team that was in first place. On Aug. 24, 2006, the Rays traded Branyan to the Padres, who won the National League West but bowed out in a first-round postseason series against St. Louis. Then, last Aug. 31, he went from the Phillies to the Cardinals, a team that was two games out of first place on that date. "All three times it was a surprise," Branyan said. "I think that made it easier. The guys in the rumors yesterday and today, those are all bigger names. That's got to be tough." The Brewers had been scouting relievers over the past few weeks, including the top available arms, but Melvin would not part with one of his top two shortstops -- J.J. Hardy or Alcides Escobar -- to get Baltimore's George Sherrill and would not give up the three prospects it would have taken to land Oakland's Huston Street. Sherrill is a left-hander, an area of particular interest to the Brewers, who also scouted San Francisco's Jack Taschner and Seattle's Arthur Rhodes and Eddie Guardado. Currently, Brian Shouse is the Brewers' only lefty reliever, though Mitch Stetter has pitched in two separate stints with the team. "I had heard they were looking for a power-type left-hander," Shouse said. "But I have not heard anything about it for a while." Shouse, who is finally a free agent at season's end, just after his 40th birthday, would welcome another southpaw. "I like to get out there as much as I can, but it's nice to have that second guy for the days when I need a rest," said Shouse, who figures to get a steady diet of work in next week's three-game series against a Reds club stocked with lefty sluggers, even though it traded Ken Griffey Jr. on Thursday. "We'll see what happens, but I also think we have some good lefties here," Shouse said. "Stetter can come up here and do a really good job, also. He's kind of the future here, one of the guys who will fit into the plans of this team over the next few years. "We'll see what happens." The Brewers do not have an obvious candidate to take over the closer's role should Salomon Torres suffer an injury, and earlier in the week, Melvin left open the possibility of making trades in August if a need presented itself. Melvin will not be with the team on a seven-game road trip that begins Friday in Atlanta. Instead, he will tour some Minor League affiliates, including prospect-rich Double-A Huntsville.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.