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Building on the Cheap

Doug Melvin has already said that he and his staff will be scouring the list of six-year Minor League free agents.  After all, the Brewers have gotten a lot of mileage out of that group in the past: Brady Clark, Doug Davis, Derrick Turnbow, Matt Wise, Scott Podsednik, and probably some other guys I'm forgetting about.

Here's a list of all such free agents.  It isn't completely accurate--among other things, a couple of guys Milwaukee has resigned are on the list, and they don't even spell "Milwaukee" right--but it gives you an idea of who might be out there.

Here are a few names I spotted that might be of interest to Melvin and the gang.  I figured that pitching (perhaps with an emphasis on lefties) as well as catcher and 3B would be the places the front office would most likely focus their efforts.

  • Stephen Andrade, RHP: a guy like Matt Wise, who has never wowed scouts with his stuff, but just gets guys out.  For some reason, one organization after another has given up on him; maybe there's something beyond his pitching that causes problems.

  • Dewon Brazelton, RHP: a former top prospect, he's had his moments, even in the big leagues.  He'll keep getting spring training invites for as long as he wants them; it's just a matter of whether he can put things together and stick.

  • Enrique Cruz, IF: we could get him back!

  • Jack Cust, OF: every stathead's favorite Quad-A player, his MLE OPS was nearly .900 last year.  He walks a lot, strikes out a lot, and can't play defense for beans.  But he'd be a great righty off the bench for a team who was willing to accept his flaws.

  • Ben Davis, C: I have to imagine we'll see at least one more catcher invited to spring training with a legitimate shot at grabbing the backup spot.  Davis's star has fallen to the point that it's extinguished, but only a few years ago, he was a highly-touted prospect.  He'd be behind JD Closser on the depth chart, but ahead of, say, Mark Johnson.

  • RA Dickey, RHP: all hail the knuckleball!  In the National League, he might just get enough guys out to make it work.

  • Eric DuBose, LHP: Another prospect gone bad.  He walks a lot of guys, and doesn't appear to get lefties out very effectively.  But a young lefty, available on the cheap?  Perhaps Mike Maddux can fix him.

  • Keith Ginter, IF: I didn't like his attitude when the A's were considering putting him on the playoff roster, but he'd be decent 3B insurance, especially if Bill Hall becomes an outfielder.

  • Robby Hammock, C: another credible option behind the plate.  Don't get too excited about his numbers, though, as Tucson's park is crazily hitter-friendly.

  • Joel Hanrahan, RHP: yet another prospect gone sour, this time from the rich Dodgers system.  He'd probably be a year or two away from helping in Milwaukee, but a decent risk for the team willing to take it.

  • Carlos Hines, RHP: He's decent, and he was born the same day I was.  What's not to love?

  • Randy Keisler, LHP: he's been mediocre in a career split between AAA and MLB, but he's good enough that giving him a shot to be the #2 lefty in the pen is reasonable gamble.

  • Matt Kinney, RHP: just kidding.

  • Jose Lima, RHP: still kidding.

  • Brian Myrow, 3B: he's bounced around, semi-coveted by stat-minded teams, but he's had a rough season or two.  Like Ginter, he'd be 3B insurance, and he might be just about as good.

  • Guillermo Quiroz, C: of all the catchers I've mentioned, this is the one who most recently was considered a future MLB backstop.  Perhaps due to mismanagement, he collapsed in Seattle.

  • Michael Tejera, LHP: kind of like Keisler.  He's had some credible stretches in the big leagues, and for a lefty reliever, that makes him somehow employable.

  • Ryan Vogelsong, RHP: we've seen him plenty, as he's been bouncing back and forth from Pittsburgh to AAA to the DL for years.  Good stuff, plenty of promise, just hasn't put it together.

My list is limited, in that I really don't follow AA and AAA that closely, and I certainly don't have access to the scouting reports that the front office does!  Naturally, my list skews toward guys with MLB experience, which isn't always the best place to find the steals among six-year free agents.  Still, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Brewers end up with one or more of these players.