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11/13/09 6:05 PM EST
Melvin puts out feelers on Mulder, Jackson
Brewers GM narrowing radar in search for free-agent arms
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers general manager Doug Melvin has spoken recently with the agent for rehabbing left-hander Mark Mulder and with the Tigers about right-hander Edwin Jackson as Milwaukee searches for ways to bolster its pitching for 2010.
Mulder has been on Milwaukee's radar for some time, though he's been limited to four starts since 2006 because of shoulder woes. Melvin said last week that he had reached out to agent Gregg Clifton, and said Friday that at some point in the interim he heard back.
But Melvin wouldn't say much about what the men discussed.
"I don't really want to get into much about who we're talking to," Melvin said Friday, when he declined Braden Looper's option to free up $5.5 million for other players. "I'm exploring every available option."
Mulder missed all of 2009 after left shoulder surgery but could make sense as a bounce-back candidate. The former A's and Cardinals pitcher worked in Oakland with new Brewers pitching coach Rick Peterson as recently as this summer while Mulder was trying to reconstruct his post-surgical delivery.
Also on Friday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Friday that Melvin had spoken with Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, who may be willing to trade the 26-year-old Jackson to manage his own payroll. Jackson made $2.2 million last season and has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining before he hits free agency.
This year Jackson was 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA. But he faltered after the All-Star break for the second consecutive season, posting a 5.07 ERA.
"Dave's in charge of that one," Melvin told the newspaper. "They'll identify which clubs are matches and they'll call them. He's looking for young players and young pitchers."
The Brewers and Tigers might have had a better fit before Milwaukee shipped shortstop J.J. Hardy to the Twins for center fielder Carlos Gomez. Hardy might have been of interest to Detroit, though Melvin told the Detroit Free Press last week that he and Dombrowski never discussed Hardy.
"I was looking specifically for a center fielder or pitching that was low-salary and low-service time," Melvin wrote in an e-mail to the Free Press. "I did not see a match so I did not call [the Tigers]."
The Tigers have been involved in past trade rumors including Brewers right fielder Corey Hart, but since Magglio Ordonez vested his 2010 option there may no longer be a fit.
Melvin may also have an eye on the Braves, who are reportedly open to offers for veteran right-handers Derek Lowe and Javier Vazquez. But Lowe's price tag (three more years and $45 million left on his contract) may be a turn-off. Lowe, who was 15-10 with a 4.67 ERA in his first season in Atlanta, has made at least 32 starts in all eight seasons since he converted from being a reliever. Melvin prizes durability.
The Brewers and other clubs almost certainly favor Vazquez, who is owed $11.5 million in the final year of his contract. He should get some Cy Young Award votes next week after going 15-10 in 2009 with a 2.87 ERA and a remarkable 238-to-44 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.