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Brewers considering Pavano, but no offer yet

Brewers considering Pavano, but no offer yet

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers general manager Doug Melvin introduced one new pitcher at Miller Park on Monday and said he's still working to bring in another.

Melvin spoke again Monday with Tom O'Connell, who represents free-agent right-hander Carl Pavano, but the Brewers have yet to make an offer. Melvin said he wanted to "gauge interest."

His reading?

"I'd rather just keep it to ourselves," Melvin said after introducing right-hander Shaun Marcum to the local media. "I don't want to say one way or the other. You're still competing with other teams on people, so you don't like to put out there whether you're in, you're out, whatever. That's what's good about some of this stuff is the element of surprise."

The market for Pavano could move now that the top free-agent pitcher -- Cliff Lee -- is locked up. Lee agreed to terms late Monday with the Phillies, who now feature a powerhouse rotation that includes right-handers Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt and left-handers Cole Hamels and Lee.

Lee chose Philadelphia over offers from the Rangers and Yankees, who must look elsewhere for arms. Pavano has already endured a disastrous stint with the Yankees, but the Rangers could be in play for his services now that Lee is off the market.

Melvin downplayed the effect of the Lee signing on the secondary pitching market.

"I think Lee was out there on an island," Melvin said. "I don't think it affects any of the secondary guys."

Speaking of the Lee deal, it could put another pitcher on the trade market in Philadelphia right-hander Joe Blanton. He's owed $17 million over the next two seasons and has made at least 28 starts for six consecutive years. Overall, Blanton owns a 4.30 ERA.

Melvin wouldn't say whether the Phillies had called to gauge the Brewers' interest in Blanton.

But Blanton could make some sense in the back end of Milwaukee's rotation, depending on what the Phillies would demand in return and how much of Blanton's price tag they would be willing to share. Melvin likes the way Marcum will fit with Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf atop the five-man rotation, and he's comfortable with left-hander Chris Narveson in one of the remaining slots. If Blanton is targeted by the Brewers, he'd be their fourth or fifth starter to begin the season.

Melvin is also leaving open the possibility that an in-house prospect could win one of those slots. Candidates include Mark Rogers, who debuted in the Majors late last season but has a checkered health history, or fellow right-handers Amaury Rivas and Wily Peralta, who have yet to pitch above Double-A. Peralta has made only eight starts above the Class A level but the Brewers love his arm.

"Somewhere along the line, you might have to give someone in your system a chance, too," Melvin said.

Of the risk in handing the ball to such unproven arms, Melvin said, "You never know. There's a development process in the big leagues, too. You don't know about them until you give them a chance. Every player who is playing in the big leagues was young at one time."

On another front, the Brewers are still working on a deal to bring back free-agent infielder Craig Counsell. Melvin said he was expecting to hear from agent Barry Meister about Counsell "in the next day or so" and had yet to move on to other utility options on the market.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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