Brewers’ Melvin: ‘Ears open’ as Deadline nears
If Brewers general manager Doug Melvin plans to be active ahead of the July 31 nonwaiver Trade Deadline, he was not willing to share that information publicly on Thursday.
That came as no surprise. General managers typically do not like to stand in front of microphones and lament their team’s weaknesses.
“If you can add, you add,” Melvin said, “but I like our team. We had one bad stretch, and that came near the end of the [first half]. Winning Sunday’s game was very big. It gave everybody the feeling that that’s how we played earlier on in the year. It’s going to be a tough division; you’ve got four teams over .500. I think it’s the toughest division in baseball.”
The Brewers lost 11 of their final 13 games before the All-Star break but beat the Cardinals Sunday to hold onto first place in the National League Central. The top four teams are within 3 1/2 games of each other as second half play begins.
In a chat with reporters on Thursday, Melvin addressed two areas of perceived susceptibility: A bullpen that has been stretched by injuries to right-handers Jim Henderson and Tyler Thornburg, and first base, where the Brewers have platooned Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay and are next-to-last in the National League with a .662 OPS.
“If we can get [Henderson and Thornburg] back, they’ll be a boost to our bullpen,” Melvin said. “But we don’t have a timetable. Jim is closer than Tyler at this point.”
Of first base, Melvin cited the lack of availability at the position and praised Overbay for his clutch hitting and both players for their quality defense. He also pointed out that, overall, the Brewers are second in the NL in runs scored.
Melvin insisted he will not get caught up in Trade Deadline drama.
“Look at the Trade Deadline, and it’s no different than the offseason,” Melvin said. “There’s a lot of acquisitions you can make in the offseason, and all it does is make you look better on paper. It doesn’t make you necessarily a better ballclub. You still have to play well as a team. …
“That’s the way I look at the Trade Deadline. You can go out and acquire a relief pitcher, and he may pitch eight innings for the month.”
Melvin also argued that midseason trades don’t always work. For every deal like the Brewers bringing in CC Sabathia in 2008, there’s a Zack Greinke to the Angels in 2012 or Matt Garza to the Rangers in 2013. Those latter two teams paid significant prices but did not reach the postseason.
“We’re out there, we’re going to have our ears open, and we’re open to anything that can improve our club,” Melvin said. “But we still have to play well as a team, and not to think that one acquisition makes a difference. Not many times does that acquisition make the difference without the team still continuing to play well.”
— Adam McCalvy