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01/06/09 12:47 PM EST
Brewers 'not in' on Lowe sweepstakes
GM Melvin sets to rest rumors that club is chasing 35-year-old righty
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- The Derek Lowe-to-the-Brewers rumblings can be put to rest.
"We're not in on him," general manager Doug Melvin said of the free-agent right-hander.
That did not exactly qualify as a new development, since team officials have said publicly all along that they did not believe Lowe was particularly interested in coming to Milwaukee.
But it's likely that the real hurdle is Lowe's asking price -- $15-$16 million per season -- and the fact that he turns 36 in June and would be 39 by the end of a three-year contract or 40 after four years.
Yet a handful of published reports speculated that Milwaukee could be a destination for Lowe. The Mets reportedly have made a three-year offer to Lowe in the neighborhood of $12 million per season, though agent Scott Boras disputed that such an offer was ever made, according to a post on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Web site Sunday. The Braves are seen as another contender, and the Phillies have also been mentioned.
Melvin said he had spoken with Boras within the last month, but not about Lowe. Boras also represents two of Milwaukee's arbitration-eligible players: first baseman Prince Fielder and pitcher Seth McClung.
Speaking of free-agent pitchers the Brewers are not making a play for, left-hander Mark Mulder joined a large group of family and friends on a Caribbean cruise last week. Also on deck were Melvin and Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, whose families meet for an annual year-end holiday.
Mulder has pitched in just six games over the past two seasons because of shoulder woes, but he has been linked to the Brewers several times by the Boston Globe, which reported Sunday that Milwaukee and Oakland were, "big on the comebacking pitcher."
Not so, at least from Milwaukee's standpoint.
"I really haven't contacted his guy [agent Gregg Clifton]," Melvin said.
Melvin returned to the office Monday and characterized it as a quiet day. A number of free-agent hitters have either found new homes or reportedly moved closer to signing, including Pat Burrell (Rays), Milton Bradley (Cubs) and Jason Giambi (A's), but the pitching market remained frozen.
Among starters, the Brewers have shown interest in Braden Looper, but Melvin last week downplayed the chances of a deal. Besides Lowe, the top remaining arms include Oliver Perez -- another Boras client who may be seeking a four-year deal in the range of $11 million per season -- and Jon Garland, who surrendered 237 hits and struck out just 90 batters in 196 2/3 innings last season. The Brewers are not particularly interested in either, but they could be players for Ben Sheets, who has pitched all eight of his big league seasons in Milwaukee.
"We're looking at everything right now," Melvin said.