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Brewers keep busy at non-tender deadline

Here's a quick wrap of what's goin' on, some of which comes from this overview at

  • Russell Branyan: re-signed for $800k.  Good deal all-around--Russell gets a chance to compete for more than just a pinch-hitting job, which is more than he'd probably get anywhere else, and the Brewers have an affordable power-hitting bench option, even if that's all he is in '06.
  • Kane Davis: re-signed for $375k.  He probably will never play a bigger role than he did last year, but he's solid, and if the injury bug strikes, he's a nice, above-replacement-level option to have at our disposal.
  • Brady Clark, Tomo Ohka, and Matt Wise: All no-brainers, all tendered a contract.  Melvin, of course, will try to work out deals without going to arbitration with any of these guys.  I'd guess we'll pay up for Brady; I hope that Melvin tries to come up with a multi-year deal for Ohka.  Maybe a 2- or 3-year deal for Wise, too--I'll have to think a little more about that one.
  • Jeff Bennett: non-tendered.  I hope to have him back.  I won't be surprised at all if he comes back to prove himself.  Then again, if I were Jeff Bennett, I might look for a Spring invite from a team that isn't so loaded in the pen.
  • Danny Kolb: non-tendered.  I'm confident he'll be back--he wants back, we want him, we just don't want to pay through the nose for him.  Scott Boras, his agent, is the x-factor here.  You can imagine he'll look for the best deal available, and if a team comes up with a $2m offer for Danny, it might be too much to turn down, and way too much for the Crew to match.
  • Justin Thompson (stats): signed to minor-league contract with spring invite.  I like this pickup.  Thompson is a bit older than most Melvin/Maddux reclamation projects, but obviously there's a lot of potential buried somewhere in that arm.  I suppose the chances for much of an impact are low, but he could be a Matt Wise-type surprise come March and April.

It's also worth noting that this flurry of moves left two spots open on the 40-man.  No obvious additions await, except for the strong possibility of bringing Kolb back.  Melvin may just want the flexibility to add the pitcher of his choosing after spring training, or perhaps he likes flexibility for flexibility's sake.  We'll see--another Major League move may await.