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12/09/08 9:08 PM EST
Brewers go shopping for a closer
GM Melvin meets with agents for Wood, Fuentes and Hoffman
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
LAS VEGAS -- The Brewers entered the market for free-agent closers on Tuesday, meeting with representatives for Brian Fuentes, Trevor Hoffman and Kerry Wood. General manager Doug Melvin met in the morning with Pat Rooney, who represents Wood, and Rick Thurman, who has both Fuentes and Hoffman. But Wood was poised on Tuesday to sign with the Cleveland Indians, according to an MLB.com report, and Melvin said he "just met" with Thurman regarding Fuentes and Hoffman, a hint that no offers were imminent.
The other top available closer, Francisco Rodriguez, was close to a three-year deal with the Mets, according to various reports.
In a bit of irony, Melvin also met Tuesday with the closer he is trying to replace. Salomon Torres, who saved 28 games for the Brewers in 2009 after taking over for Eric Gagne, announced his retirement last month but is in Las Vegas looking for Major League partners to help expand his training facility in the Dominican Republic.
Of the available arms, the best fit for the Brewers could be Wood, who was on Milwaukee's radar last winter before he re-signed with the Cubs and posted a 3.26 ERA and 34 saves. But Wood appears poised to sign a two-year deal with the Indians with an option for a third season.
Melvin was not ready to close the door on Wood just yet.
"Until deals get done, they're not done," said Melvin, who referenced the on-again, off-again talks between the Padres and Cubs regarding Jake Peavy as an example.
"The Peavy deal was supposed to get done, but it's not done," Melvin said. "Who knows if the Kerry Wood deal gets done?"
Melvin also met Tuesday with his former scouting director, Jack Zduriencik, who is the new GM of the Mariners. That was interesting since Seattle is reportedly listening to offers for closer J.J. Putz and looking for bats, which Milwaukee has in some supply.
But when asked whether he sees a match between those two teams, Melvin said, "I don't think so at this point."
If the Brewers do not find a closer on the trade or free-agent markets, the top internal options are Jorge Julio, the former Orioles closer, who signed with Milwaukee on Dec. 4, or incumbents Seth McClung and Carlos Villanueva. But McClung and Villanueva could also come into play as starters if the Brewers are unsuccessful in their pursuit of free agent CC Sabathia.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.