Infield Joe Dillon will not be sporting a Brewers’ jersey in 2009. Dillon was designated for assignment–and then claimed by the A’s–when the Brewers added former Chicago Cub infielder Casey McGehee off waivers last Wednesday. McGehee hit .167 with the Cubs after being a September call-up, and was blocked by Aramis Ramirez and thus expendable. The acquisition of McGehee, a third baseman, hints that Melvin may be trying to deal Bill Hall in the offseason…and wants to give Mat Gamel at least a few months in AAA Nashville to start the ’09 season (McGehee could be used until June, when Gamel would be called up…waiting until June not only gives Gamel some experience at the AAA level, but also means that he’ll avoid becoming a Super Two and would remain under the Brewers control through the 2015 season).
Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin also opted not to exercise infielder Craig Counsell’s $3.4 million option for the ’09 season, instead opting for the $400,000 buyout. Melvin is hoping to sign Counsell for less…I gotta believe Counsell’s market value is around $1.25 million, tops, so there is a good chance he’ll be returning…especially since he bats lefty (Hall and McGehee are both right-handed hitters, so Counsell could be used as a late inning replacement or in a platoon at third).
Lastly, five Brewers have officially filed for free agency already: pitchers Ben Sheets, Brian Shouse, and Eric Gagne, infielder Mike Lamb, and outfielder Gabe Kapler. In all likelihood, Sheets will not be returning, while the veteran Shouse may get a $2 million plus deal with another club and bolt for greener pastures since he’s approaching 40 and realizes that his career is winding down. I’d like to see the Crew offer Gagne a deal in the $2-$3 million range, but someone (read: the Yankees) may throw $5 million at him or so. I can’t imagine Lamb will return; Kapler’s case is rather interesting–he joined Milwaukee in ’08 after taking a year off to manage in the minors…and at the urging of Melvin; now he stands to reap a decent sized contract…my guess is that Melvin will pursue a 2-year, $5 million deal with Kapler…and has about a 50/50 chance of re-signing him.