We here at Brew Crew Ball often like to joke around about how Brewers general manager is a filthy liar. It's gotten to the point where if he acknowledges any modicum of interest in a player it comes as an outright shock and if he vehemently denies interest, I start pre-writing the 'Brewers sign xxxxx' post.
Here are a few instances where Doug Melvin has fibbed about his interest in a player, only for him to turn around and acquire them anyway:
Matt Garza signs January 26, 2014
January 23: "In fact, general manager Doug Melvin consistently had said he had no intention of spending big money on a free-agent pitcher."
January 6: "We can look at $5-$6MM, but if we think our guys are better or as good at $500K, why would we make a move just to make a move?"
After signing: "Melvin said team kicked the tires on Garza as early as winter meetings"
Kyle Lohse signs March 26, 2013
March 21: "Brewers GM does not want to forfeit 17th pick in 1st round to sign Lohse...points to prior drafts of Hamels & Sabathia as reason"
February 23: "Things change. You never know. But at this point, we want to look at our [young] guys first."
February 13: "I haven't had any conversations with (agent Scott) Boras," said Melvin. "We aren't talking to him." "There's nothing going on."
December 21: "Doug Melvin says "we're getting down to the end" of adding players. So forget about Kyle Lohse."
Nyjer Morgan signs March 27, 2011
March 25: "Brewers GM Doug Melvin confirms that he has no interest in Nyjer Morgan and will go with the OFs he has in camp now."
Soon to come...
February 6: ""I don't want to say, because we haven't had that kind of discussion with ownership yet" regarding offering Yoan Moncada a contract. YES.
Okay, so to be fair this is mostly tongue-in-cheek. General managers in MLB have reason to not give the big full truth to reporters on what they are looking to do. Part of their job is a sort-of chess game with other GMs where they don't want to play their hand too broadly else they either get a much worse deal or other teams know what it takes to beat them out.
And in Melvin's case, there are times that maybe he was telling the truth and circumstances changed. Maybe guys like Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza weren't originally on the radar too fully, but as the off-season wore on Melvin saw a deal. It's also important to state Mark Attanasio's probable role in this too, in that he may be telling Melvin to go out and get certain guys.
It's also worth noting that Melvin has been honest about certain things. When the team traded Zack Greinke mid-season in 2012, Melvin openly discussed the state of trade talks and that the team was in fact looking to trade the starting pitcher.
In the end, Melvin will probably keep us guessing as long as he's the GM. He's a liar, except when he isn't. It's not a bad thing, of course, because it's a strategic thing. The Brewers are great at keeping things under wraps when they want to, and that's something we should appreciate. As fans, we clamor for as many rumors and as much news as possible, especially during the off-season, but we also need to appreciate teams trying to work players, agents, and other organizations on deals.
Doug Melvin, as it turns out, may be very good at just that. Keep on lying, Doug. It's fun to have a few surprises.