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Reliever prices escalate out of Brewers' price range

The SportsXchange

Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin predicted before the winter meetings in Nashville that his club would not make a big splash.

As it turns out, the Brewers did not even make a ripple.

With free agent prices out of the club's comfort zone, Melvin made no acquisitions at the four-day meetings. He remains on the hunt for relief help and possibly a starting pitcher but is waiting for prices to come down.

"We said we probably weren't going to get involved with the free agent frenzy," Melvin said. "There's 37-year-old guys getting three-year contracts. It's something we weren't involved with. We're trying to keep our flexibility in case we need to make moves."

Veteran lefty reliever Randy Choate, 37, whom the Brewers had in their system in 2007 and released, signed for three years and $7.5 million with the St. Louis Cardinals. Sean Burnett, 30, struck a two-year, $8 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels.

"We talked about those guys," Melvin said. "We're not chasing left-handers. If there's a left-hander available, we've found them in the past with Brian Shouse and Mitch Stetter. It's hard to commit to left-handers sometimes.

"In the National League, you might have to carry 13 pitchers if you're carrying one situational lefty. Some teams get by with them and use them. (Manager) Ron (Roenicke) said, 'I don't have to have a lefty just to have a lefty. I want a guy to get people out."

Melvin also said he didn't have any irons in the fire involving a trade.

"I don't see trades necessarily happening with us because if you trade a player, you have to replace the player," Melvin said. "You're just creating another hole.

"We still believe in our team. We believe in our younger players, the guys (who played well) from August on. It's just a matter of a 162-game season. That's the risk factor we take."
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