MILWAUKEE -- Two days after designating him for assignment, the Brewers were close to trading catcher George Kottaras to the A's on Saturday.While the Brewers took batting practice, Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin said that no deal was official, and would not say whether Oakland would return a player or cash in a deal for Kottaras. It's possible that the A's were focused on another trade in advance of Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. Melvin had promised on Thursday to seek a Major League job for Kottaras, who spent most of the past three seasons in Milwaukee. He has been working out at Miller Park with the Brewers while team officials determine his destination. The Brewers did make another catching-related transaction official, signing Humberto Quintero to a Minor League deal. Qunitero is 32 and a veteran of 10 Major League seasons with the Padres, Astros and Royals. He batted .232 in 43 games with Kansas City this season before they released him before the All-Star break. He will report to Triple-A Nashville, and provides some experienced catching depth to offset Kottaras' pending departure.
Post-Greinke, quiet on Crew's trade front
MILWAUKEE -- Besides a minor deal that would send catcher George Kottaras to the A's, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin had no active trade talks as of Saturday afternoon, a big change after a flurry of activity that culminated with Zack Greinke's departure for Anaheim on Friday night.But... "My phone is still working," Melvin said. The non-waiver Trade Deadline is 3 p.m. CT on Tuesday, and teams can also trade in August if they pass players through waivers. Greinke was by far the Brewers' most tradable commodity, but not their only one. Closer Francisco Rodriguez is a free agent at season's end, and other Brewers relievers reportedly have been discussed. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart have popped up in trade rumors and reports. But Melvin has been clear that he's unmotivated to move middle-of-the-order hitters Ramirez or Hart, and the relievers' value tanked during the Brewers' devastating series earlier this week in Philadelphia. Melvin also suggested that teams seem content to wait until August to seek bullpen arms. "I don't think teams want to overpay for bullpen arms at this time when they feel they can get them in August," Melvin said. The Brewers' war room was buzzing this week as Melvin and his staff fielded calls from teams. Most of the talk centered around Greinke, who ultimately went to the Angels for shortstop Jean Segura and right-handers John Hellweg and Ariel Pena. "Our focus was this," he said of the Greinke deal. "We got distracted on a couple of little deals and I had to pound the gavel and say, 'Let's get back and focus on this one.' This was important -- we didn't lose focus or get distracted. We spent a lot of time in the room."
Rogers returns to Majors, takes Greinke's spot
MILWAUKEE -- All Mark Rogers has to do Sunday is return to the Majors for the first time in nearly two years, replace the great Zack Greinke in the Brewers' rotation and make a statement about his own viability for what figures to be a remade rotation in 2013.No pressure, kid. "In this game, there's so much that's out of your control that I don't want to get too far ahead of myself," Rogers said. "I'm excited about the opportunity to start [Sunday] and to be back here and have this experience again. I just want to do everything I can to make the most of it." Rogers was an hour from making a start for Triple-A Nashville on Friday when he was informed he'd been promoted back to the big leagues, where Rogers posted a 1.80 ERA in two Brewers starts and two relief appearances in 2010. Ten minutes later, Rogers learned Greinke had been traded to the Angels. It was the first of what could be a series of departures from Milwaukee's 2011 Opening Day pitching rotation. Yovani Gallardo is signed through at least 2014, but Shaun Marcum is a free agent, Randy Wolf will be a free agent assuming the team declines his $10 million option, and Chris Narveson is a question mark after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in May. The main in-house options to join Gallardo in 2013 are right-handers Marco Estrada, Mike Fiers, Tyler Thornburg and Rogers, who is still just 26 years old. After his late-season splash in 2010, Rogers reported to 2011 Spring Training competing for a spot in the Brewers' starting rotation, but had a setback with his surgically-repaired right shoulder, then was bothered by carpal tunnel syndrome in his right wrist. That August, he was suspended 25 games after testing positive for a banned stimulant and the Brewers opted to have him undergo surgery on both wrists to alleviate the carpal tunnel issue. Now, more than eight years after the Brewers made Rogers a first-round Draft pick and nearly two years after he debuted in the Majors, he's back to 100 percent. He credited Triple-A pitching coach Fred Dabney for helping him along. "I finally feel healthy," Rogers said. "Shoulder, hand, everything. I feel very confident with where I'm at right now."
Roenicke, Scioscia share notes after trade
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke spoke Saturday morning with his old boss, Angels skipper Mike Scioscia, about the team's big trade the night before that sent Zack Greinke west for three prospects.Roenicke also spoke with Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher about Greinke, who makes his Angels debut on Sunday. Roenicke thinks the right-hander will be a good fit in Orange County. "He loves the beach, so if he can get himself a place down near the ocean, I think he'll really enjoy it," Roenicke said. Scioscia shared some thoughts about the prospects netted by the Brewers including shortstop Jean Segura. He will play shortstop at Double-A Huntsville, though Segura's stocky frame means he could someday wind up at second base. "They think he's a good shortstop. They think he could be an All-Star second baseman," Roenicke said. "Right now, he's playing a good short."
Among the runners-up in the Greinke sweepstakes were the Rangers, who presented a package of players that was "very tough to walk away from," Melvin said. A club official suggested that the deal-breaker was not Texas' unwillingness to include infielder Mike Olt, who was deemed off-limits in a Greinke swap, but left-hander Martin Perez.The Braves may have fallen out on Greinke because the Brewers were unwilling to cover any of the $4.5-$5 million owed Greinke over the final two months of the regular season. Melvin had one discussion with Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, partly because he was in town for a four-game series and partly because Washington plans to shut down right-hander Stephen Strasburg at some point to protect his surgically-repaired arm. And White Sox general manager Kenny Williams made a strong play for Greinke. "Kenny worked really hard at it," Melvin said. "I probably received as many texts from him [as anyone else]. It just wasn't a match." Williams tried to involve a third team. "That gets complicated on that big a deal," Melvin said. Contrary to a report Saturday, the Brewers have never discussed returning left-hander Manny Parra to the starting rotation, Melvin said. MLB.com Minor League expert Jonathan Mayo ranked Segura as the Brewers' new top prospect, supplanting Triple-A right-hander Wily Peralta. Mayo rated Hellweg the Brewers' sixth-best prospect and Pena No. 12. Melvin wouldn't say yet whether Segura could compete for Milwaukee's starting shortstop vacancy next spring. He spoke instead of allowing Segura to get acclimated to a new organization. Segura could be among the team's September call-ups.