In the meantime, the Brewers have to wait. Club officials spent part of the day Friday scouring other teams' Minor League rosters for next month's Rule 5 Draft."That's just the way it is," Melvin said. "The players, and really it's their representatives, they're the ones who control the schedule." Melvin said the Brewers are going forward with other offseason plans and have had fleeting contact with a handful of other free agents. They are also having internal discussions about potential trading partners in anticipation of the Winter Meetings, Melvin's next opportunity to talk to other GMs face-to-face. But it's difficult for Milwaukee to move forward on either the trade or the free-agent fronts until Sabathia provides some sort of answer, because that decision would set in place how much payroll flexibility Melvin will enjoy for the rest of the offseason. The Brewers' primary offseason needs are starting pitching (Sabathia and Ben Sheets are both free agents) and left-handed bats (today, the only regular starter who hits lefty is first baseman Prince Fielder). "I continue to touch base with clubs," Melvin said. "I talk to other free agents. There's not a lot of activity for us from a free-agent standpoint right now, but we know what we are capable of doing and what we're not capable of doing." Melvin downplayed the impact of Sabathia's decision on the Brewers' other plans. Some have wondered though, whether the team might consider trading a player like Fielder, who is arbitration-eligible for the first time, for front-line pitching if Sabathia spurns Milwaukee's offer. "I don't think there are any pitchers available in trade," Melvin said. "There may be a pitcher traded here or there, but there's no one of [Sabathia's] caliber. So that doesn't affect what we're doing." At least there are no top-flight pitchers available to the Brewers. San Diego's Jake Peavy is the most accomplished pitcher being bandied about the trade market, but Melvin said the Brewers are not on the teams for which Peavy would waive his no-trade clause. Melvin's comments also would seem to close the door on the rumors that have swirled for some time about San Francisco's Matt Cain. Fielder and shortstop J.J. Hardy have both been mentioned as possible tools to pry away Cain. "I can't talk about players on other clubs, but I read where [the Giants] said they aren't moving him," Melvin said. "Other than that, I can't comment."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.