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12/10/08 11:45 PM EST

Brewers inquire about Millwood

Interest in Rangers righty will grow as free agents dwindle

LAS VEGAS -- The Brewers, who are looking for starting pitching after losing out on CC Sabathia, met with the Rangers on Wednesday at the Winter Meetings to talk about right-hander Kevin Millwood.

Right now, a deal doesn't look likely, as the two teams don't appear to have a match. But the Brewers' initial interest may be a reflection of what's in the Rangers' future. Teams that aren't able to land the pitcher they want through free agency will be looking to acquire an alternative through a trade.

"There have been some conversations about some of our veteran players," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "Some clubs want to see what happens in free agency, and some clubs are willing to move before that.

"In this market, if you're willing to trade young players, you can move as aggressively as you want. But the market for veteran players is affected by the free-agent market. You don't expect to do something quickly."

The Yankees are taking Sabathia away from the Brewers, but they are just one of many teams still looking for starting pitching. Among the other clubs in the pursuit -- through trade or free agency -- are the Dodgers, Rockies, Braves, Orioles, Nationals, Pirates and Tigers.

If the Rangers could move either Millwood or Vicente Padilla, it would allow them to be more aggressive in their pursuit of free agents Ben Sheets and Randy Johnson. Daniels has talked to the representatives for both pitchers at the Winter Meetings but has not made an offer. Sheets, according to one source who has met with him, is looking for a two-year deal.

"I still don't expect we'll be too heavy in the free-agent market," Daniels said. "We're still going to do our due diligence on guys that fit if something changes. But we have not made any offers to any Major League free agents."

The Rangers are spending more time talking to other clubs than they do about free agents. They are still finding teams are interested in their catchers, and they are still willing to discuss that. The Rangers traded Gerald Laird to the Tigers at the beginning of the Meetings but still have teams asking about Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden and Max Ramirez.

The Marlins appear to be most interested, both in Saltalamacchia and Ramirez, but they weren't interested in trading Josh Johnson. There was rumor of a trade sending Saltalamacchia for outfielder Jeremy Hermida, but that doesn't satisfy the Rangers' need for pitching unless they could move one of their outfielders in another deal.

Another rumor was a three-way swap with the Marlins sending third baseman Jorge Cantu to the Giants for pitcher Jonathan Sanchez, who would then be traded to the Rangers for a catcher. But a Rangers source said the Giants have made it abundantly clear they are not trading Sanchez.

The Royals are also interested in Saltalamacchia but those talks have not gone anywhere. The Red Sox had interest before the meetings but they have not met with the Rangers at the Winter Meetings and still have no interest in trading Clay Buchholz.

"We've advanced the ball in a couple of spots," Daniels said, "but we don't expect to do anything before we leave tomorrow."

Daniels is leaving Las Vegas right after Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. The Rangers have a full 40-man roster and will not be able to select a player at the Major League level. It's also highly unlikely that they'll lose a player.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.