Brewers out of money, but do they need to be?

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Indications are that the Brewers are just about out of cash after signing Randy Wolf and LaTroy Hawkins for their pitching staff at the meetings. They do have an offer out to Craig Counsell, but they could well be done adding significant free agents.
Except they clearly don’t need to be.
According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, the Brewers are leaning towards tendering contracts to both Dave Bush and Jody Gerut before Saturday’s deadline. Bush made $4 million last season, while Gerut earned $1.775 million. Neither is due a major raise in arbitration, but the Brewers would be setting aside about $6.5 million for them if they do in fact tender them.
That’s $6.5 million they could instead use to land a second reliable starter to plug into the middle of the rotation.
Instead, they’ll apparently hope that Bush can be that pitcher, even though he went 5-9 with a 6.38 ERA in 2009 season in which he was dealing with shoulder/triceps problems. Bush is a decent enough third or fourth starter when he’s going well — he had a 4.18 ERA in 185 innings in 2008 — but it’s hard to imagine that any team would guarantee him $4 million-$4.5 million if he became a free agent. Teams in smaller parks would shy away because he’s so homer-prone, and the rest of the league would still show plenty of caution.
Gerut is a closer call. He hit a very impressive .296/.351/.494 in 328 at-bats for the Padres in 2008, but he struggled for both San Diego and Milwaukee last year, coming in at .230/.279/.376. If he’s saved, it’d be the result of his strong finish while Corey Hart was recovering from an appendectomy. However, manager Ken Macha had very little interest in using him while the rest of the team’s outfielders were healthy.
I’ve been assuming that both would be set free. Neither is worth writing off, but my guess is that wouldn’t clear $4 million between them on the open market. Unless they’re willing to take paycuts now, the Brewers should let them go and try to re-sign them later.

Pirates looking for outside outfield help

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Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pirates GM Neal Huntington is looking for outside outfield help in the wake of Starling Marte‘s 80-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. With Marte out of the picture, the club moved Andrew McCutchen back to center field and have played Adam Frazier, John Jaso, and Jose Osuna in right field. But, as Brink points out, Osuna and Jaso — neither an outfielder by trade — misplayed balls over the weekend against the Yankees.

Among available free agents, the pickings are slim. There’s Coco Crisp, Jeff Francoeur, Cole Gillespie, Kelly Johnson, and Nolan Reimold (who is currently in independent baseball). The Pirates may have to find themselves a trade partner. They could also try to talk Angel Pagan back into action, as the veteran outfielder recently said he’s taking the year off. The Pirates could also look at Leonys Martin, who was recently designated for assignment by the Mariners.

Matt Barnes ejected after throwing at Manny Machado’s head

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On Friday, tension between the Orioles and Red Sox rose when Manny Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia sliding into second base. Although the umpires found no fault with Machado’s slide, third base coach Brian Butterfield was later ejected, still feeling like Machado wronged the Red Sox. Pedroia exited the game and was not in the lineup on Saturday or Sunday. He’ll undergo an MRI for his left knee and ankle in Boston on Monday.

For what it’s worth, Pedroia didn’t seem to feel any bitterness towards Machado for his slide. As MLB.com’s Jeff Seidel reported, Pedroia said, “I don’t even know what the rule is. I’ve turned the best double play in the Major Leagues for 11 years. I don’t need a … rule. The rule’s irrelevant. The rule’s for people with bad footwork.”

Tempers flared between the Red Sox and Orioles again on Sunday. In the bottom of the eighth inning with a runner on first base and one out with the Red Sox leading 6-0, reliever Matt Barnes threw a first-pitch fastball up-and-in to Machado. The ball actually hit Machado’s bat, so it counted as a foul ball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Barnes and the Red Sox brought in Joe Kelly. Machado doubled on the first pitch Kelly threw to put the Orioles on the board, but the Orioles ultimately lost 6-2.

MASN’s broadcast later showed Pedroia talking to Machado, seemingly clarifying that Barnes acted of his own volition without encouragement from Pedroia. “You know that,” Pedroia appeared to say. “It wasn’t me. It’s them.”

Update: Pedroia even apologized to Machado and the Orioles, per Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.

Commissioner Rob Manfred will likely look into Sunday’s incident. He could fine and/or suspend Barnes.

The Orioles and Red Sox meet again in Boston for a four-game series May 1-4. It will be interesting to see if the tension still remains then.