HOUSTON -- Unmoved by the offers for their high-profile hitters and unwilling to make a non-impact deal just to appease the fan base, Brewers officials let the non-waiver Trade Deadline quietly come and go Saturday.
Milwaukee didn't make a single July trade for the first time since 2005, when general manager Doug Melvin did make a deal in June that sent second baseman Junior Spivey to Washington and opened the position for Rickie Weeks. This season marks the first time since 1987 that the Brewers didn't make at least one Major League trade between Opening Day and July 31, the deadline to swap players without first exposing them to waivers."Nothing really developed overnight or [Saturday] morning," said assistant general manager Gord Ash, who traveled with the team in Houston while Melvin worked the phones at Miller Park. "There were deals to make if you just wanted to make one," Ash added. "But we didn't feel like they would help the ballclub now or in the future. You still have the waiver transactions that may come into play. It's hard to forecast that." Ash was referring to the fact that trades involving players on the 40-man roster can still be made, but only after the players already have cleared waivers. A player exposed to waivers can be claimed by any team and -- if there are multiple claims -- the player would be offered to the team with the worst record.
At that point, a team has 48 hours to either try to work out a trade with the claiming club or remove the player from waivers. A player can only be pulled back from waivers once, but if he clears waivers either the first or a second time through, a team can attempt to trade him to any club.
It's possible that the Brewers could make such a deal. The most likely candidate might be all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman, who is earning $7.5 million this season and is due a $500,000 buyout of his 2001 club option.The two Brewers players mentioned most often in rumors ahead of Saturday's 3 p.m. CT non-waiver Deadline have no chance of clearing waivers. Outfielder Corey Hart and first baseman Prince Fielder still have one more year of arbitration-eligibility before reaching free agency following the 2011 season, and a report emerged out of San Francisco in the waning minutes before Saturday's Deadline that the Giants were making a late push for Hart. Ash was unaware of any such push. "I received a couple of late phone calls, but it was not from the Giants, and Doug never indicated to me that he ever received any," Ash said. The quiet Deadline was good news to Hart. "I don't have to worry about it anymore," said Hart. "We can just concentrate on trying to finish strong. ... I tried to deal with it the best I can, but it worked out for us because me, Prince and [Weeks] all stayed." Was Fielder happy that the Deadline came and went without any Brewers deals? "I don't want to talk about it," he said. The Brewers did get calls on Hart and Fielder, as well as free agents to be Hoffman, Dave Bush and Jim Edmonds. Talks about Bush, Hoffman and Edmonds never progressed to the point of exchanging names. While most viewed the Brewers as sellers -- they entered play Saturday 9 1/2 games behind the first-place Cardinals -- club officials actually considered adding an established starter in an effort to bolster the pitching staff, according to Ash. They made little progress because other teams were interested in the Brewers' modest but high-ceiling stable of pitching prospects. "It was the type of conversation where, 'You can give Pitcher A, but you have to take Player B, and the return has to be this,'" Ash said. "But we didn't want the other player because it was a contract we had to swallow, and we didn't want to give up the kind of players [that would have been required to make a deal]." Instead, the Brewers were trying to strike a balance. They never found it. "We're not looking for two or three years down the road," Ash said. "We're more interested in what can impact the club at this point, and that just wasn't available to us."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.