Among the more experienced relievers still in play are Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, though trade talks between Milwaukee and Philadelphia have cooled considerably, and free agent Francisco Rodriguez. The Brewers aren't currently interested in free-agent closer Rafael Soriano.
"I can't really handicap it for you," Ash said. "One step in one area forces you to go in another direction."
Asked to characterize talks with the Phillies for Papelbon, Ash said, "It's there, but not much has happened lately."
Those trade talks are complicated, because Papelbon is due $13 million in 2015, with a $13 million option for '16 that vests if he makes 48 appearances. Papelbon also has limited no-trade rights that allow him to block a deal to Milwaukee and other clubs.
MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reported earlier this week that the Phillies remained in discussions with the Brewers and Blue Jays about Papelbon.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.