Brewers' brain trust discusses tough decisions

Brewers' brain trust discusses tough decisions

Brewers' brain trust discusses tough decisions
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers' brain trust met at Miller Park on Tuesday for a previously-scheduled monthly review. In light of recent devastating injuries, it might have taken a more urgent tone had someone other than steady general manager Doug Melvin been at the head of the table.

Instead, according to principal owner Mark Attanasio, who sat in, Melvin reviewed in order the team's pitching, defense and hitting. The tone, Attanasio said, was no different than similar sessions in Spring Training.

"I think that's really important, because that confidence gets transmitted to the players, the ownership and the fans," Attanasio said. "It's a very long season."

Already, it has been a trying season.

First baseman Mat Gamel, shortstop Alex Gonzalez and starting pitcher Chris Narveson are already lost for all or part of the season. Starters Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum and reliever Francisco Rodriguez are heading toward free agency. In the coming weeks, the brain trust will have to decide what type of team it has.

"I think we have the nucleus to win," Attanasio said. "It seems like all teams add midseason pieces that they need to get over the hump. We now, unfortunately, have a couple of needs due to injury. Between here and midseason, some guys have an opportunity to step up, and then we'll see where we are at that point."

He did not entirely rule out becoming a seller at the July 31 nonwaiver Trade Deadline if circumstances demand it. Attanasio made clear he views that scenario as unlikely.

"We managed to surmount coming out of 12 years of losing to now having expectation to win, and I don't want to let that go," Attanasio said. "It's an ongoing challenge."

By Attanasio's count, the Brewers only have $59 million committed to 2013 salaries. That means they are in position to "go for players at midseason."

"We always have to do what's smartest for the organization, but the goal is to win," Attanasio said. "The only circumstance we would consider [selling off players] is where we had no choice of winning, and I don't see it. This team is too good to be in that position."

Melvin indicated that most clubs were still in evaluation mode, unwilling to consider trades. One possible target is the Padres' Jason Bartlett, but the Brewers are very wary of his poor play and his big contract. He is earning $5.5 million this season and has a $5.5 million option for 2013 that vests at 432 plate appearances.

As for free agents, the Brewers had contact with first baseman Derrek Lee's agent, but Melvin reiterated on Tuesday that there is no match.

"We're only 29 games into the season, there's a lot of baseball left, and with the additional playoff [team], a lot of teams are going to feel like they have a chance," Melvin said. "It's hard to replace those players. But that's what our Minor League system is for, and what our pro scouting is for, to see if we can find someone."