Inbox: Will Edmonds play if offered spot?
Beat reporter Adam McCalvy answers fans' questions
PHOENIX -- Two weeks shy of Opening Day, we empty the Inbox:What's this about Jim Edmonds not being sure whether he wants to play this year? That came out of the blue, especially since it seems like he was going to make the team.
-- Patrick K., Hugo, Minn. It came out of the blue to manager Ken Macha, who was asked on Sunday morning about the newspaper story to which you are referring. And it came out of the blue to Edmonds, too, when I asked him about it. In the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story, Edmonds says he would face a "tough decision" if the Brewers were to offer him a roster spot. The article speculated that Edmonds, who is in Brewers camp on a Minor League contract, might decline such an offer and spend another summer at home. He backed off those comments on Sunday afternoon. "That didn't come out right," Edmonds said. "Because that's not true." So let's assume that the Brewers indeed offer Edmonds the lone opening on their 40-man roster -- it would be something of a surprise if they did not -- and he accepts. How might he be used? Macha was posed that question the other day and he said it would be difficult not to use an eight-time Gold Glove center fielder in center field. But Edmonds has also seen action at both outfield corners -- he started in right field on Sunday -- and has also played first base. Since Casey McGehee is now a fixture at third, that would make Edmonds the primary backup to Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder. Macha cautioned that he is "still evaluating" Edmonds, but there were early signs that this was not going to be a replay of last spring's Trot Nixon experience. The first was in a March 3 intrasquad game, when Edmonds worked a long at-bat against Brewers left-hander Manny Parra. The bat speed, it was clear, was still there.
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"He still has his strike-zone discipline," Macha said. "He's drawn some walks. He's gotten on base. You know how I feel about guys getting on base in front of our [middle of the order] guys. If Rickie [Weeks] is going to be the leadoff man, it's nice to have a left-handed hitter there with the ability to put the ball in the hole and have some patience at the plate."Edmonds should get some more clarity this week. He can elect free agency beginning Thursday if he's not added to Milwaukee's 40-man roster. The Brewers happen to have one open spot. In the scenario that Carlos Gomez does not perform offensively as the Brewers would like (e.g. .230 BA, less than .280 OBP), does he have any more Minor League options to work things out?
-- Bret, Wauwatosa, Wis. Yes, Gomez has two options left. That was part of the draw for the Brewers when they traded J.J. Hardy for Gomez, who also came more cheaply and is under team control for four more seasons vs. Hardy's two. Gomez has been just as advertised so far this spring, playing a solid center field and flashing some speed on the bases (eight steals, twice as many as any other Brewer) while making a mistake here and there. Macha is not known for stomaching mistakes very well, so I could see Edmonds getting some significant time in center field this year, assuming he makes the club. What will the Opening Day rotation be for the Brewers' pitching staff?
-- Drew H., Milton, Wis. Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf, Doug Davis and then your guess is as good as mine. Jeff Suppan has been lined up all spring as the No. 4 starter, but it would sure be nice to see him cruise through an outing to make club officials feel better about bumping someone else. Parra has potential, Chris Narveson has overcome the injuries that have plagued his career and Dave Bush has a track record. It's a very tough call.
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Macha says the club won't make a decision until it has to, and that raises some very interesting scenarios. In one of them, the Brewers could keep all of those pitchers and send two of the rotation candidates to the bullpen along with closer Trevor Hoffman, LaTroy Hawkins, Todd Coffey, Claudio Vargas and Mitch Stetter. The odd man out in that permutation is Carlos Villanueva, who would have to be optioned to Triple-A in the interest of organizational depth.However it works out, the Brewers have some very interesting calls ahead. What is the latest on Mark Rogers? Is he going to be at Double-A this year? Fully recovered from his arm issues? Thanks!
-- Herb B., Freedom, N.H. Probably yes, and apparently yes. After a nice season at advanced Class A Brevard County last year, Double-A Huntsville would be the next logical step for Rogers, the former first-round Draft pick who was looking forward to pitching without the same restrictions with which he was saddled in 2009. And he says that his surgically-repaired shoulder felt great in camp. Rogers worked with pitching coach Rick Peterson to find a natural arm slot and it appeared to pay off. What are the chances that Prince Fielder could be traded during the regular season if it looks like the Brewers won't make the playoffs?
-- Josh M., Wauwatosa, Wis. First, contract negotiations would have to fall apart and then the Brewers would have to have some kind of catastrophe that took them out of contention. Otherwise, I think it's much more likely that they hold Fielder through this season and then plot what to do next in the offseason. If Rickie Weeks stays healthy, can you see him being one of the best second basemen in the league this year?
-- Zach C., Neenah, Wis. Yes, but I feel like I have written some form of that story for the past three years. I think the Brewers would simply like to see Weeks play a full healthy season to see what he can do. Chances are, he would be pretty darn good. On a completely different note, I have to thank the guys over at brewerfan.net for discovering that the garbage man, Joe Winkelsas, had signed with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the independent Atlantic League. The former Buffalo, N.Y., waste disposal specialist pitched briefly for the Brewers in 2006 and was quite the character.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.