MLB Trade Deadline 2009

Buzz leading up to July 31 non-waiver deadline

Could Milwaukee acquire a top-tier ace via trade for the
second consecutive season?
Chuck Solomon/SI

The Brewers are seen by baseball executives as a new serious player in the Roy Halladay sweepstakes, and considering the Brewers' well-stocked farm system and aggressive nature, they could become a threat to win the services of Toronto's star pitcher.

Two top Brewers executives -- Gord Ash and Dick Groch -- scouted Halladay's most recent start, and word is going around baseball circles that Milwaukee could build a good package. One name that could be part of a large package is young left-handed pitcher Manny Parra. Parra, 26, is 4-8 with a 6.37 ERA but has looked good since returning from the minors. He was 10-8 with a 4.39 ERA last year.

The Brewers made a huge score last year by trading prospects for star pitcher CC Sabathia at last year's trade deadline, putting them in the playoffs for the first time since 1982.

"Doug [Melvin is] a very good GM. I see him pulling something like this off,'' a competing executive said.

"We're going to be aggressive,'' one Brewers person said without mentioning any specific names.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that the Brewers scouted Indians ace Cliff Lee on Tuesday night. Lee threw a complete-game gem at Toronto, allowing one run on seven hits.

The Phillies generally have been seen as the most likely landing spot for Halladay, but the Brewers also have several key elements that make them a good candidate for the deal, including, 1) a decent batch of prospects, 2) an aggressive owner Mark Attanasio and GM, and 3) a revival that's filled Miller Park following their first playoff appearance in 26 years.

The Phillies have declined to include top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek, while the Mets turned away when the Blue Jays wanted top outfield prospect Fernando Martinez as part of a four-prospect package, according to sources. The Angels also are said to be reluctant to trade their prospects.

"They definitely have the prospects to do it,'' one competing GM said of Milwaukee.

The question is: Will they give up the prospects two straight years?

"I don't think (Melvin) will do it. He gave up two top-10 prospects last year,'' one competing exec opined.

But while Melvin has suggested he considers shortstop Alcides Escobar and third baseman Mat Gamel close to untouchable, the Brewers system is generally good. Their No. 1 pick a year ago, Brett Lawrie, yet another hitter, is highly regarded. While they aren't deep with pitching prospects, the Brewers could try to entice Toronto with Parra.

"He's very talented, but his performance hasn't quite matched his talent,'' one scout said.

"He's still a project but he should be at least an average starter,'' another scout said.

Halladay has a no-trade clause but has indicated he has an interest in trying to win. An acquaintance of Halladay's said that after winning, a relatively calm environment would be something the pitcher seeks. The only drawback about Milwaukee, according to the acquaintance, is that it trains in Arizona, not near Halladay's Dunedin, Fla., home.

The Dodgers, Giants, Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox and Tigers are among other teams to have shown interest in Halladay.

Jays GM J.P Ricciardi said on Tuesday that he was now viewing a trade of Halladay as "unlikely'' based on the fact that no one had stepped forward yet with the special young players they seek. Could Milwaukee be the one to do it?


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