MILWAUKEE -- As Brewers general manager Doug Melvin sees it, his trade talks with the Yankees are "dead." "It's probably not going to happen," Melvin said. What a change from a week ago at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, where Melvin and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman were close to swapping center fielders. The Yankees would have received Gold Glover and run-producer Mike Cameron, and the Brewers would have received a left-handed bat in Melky Cabrera, probably left-hander Kei Igawa and a bit of cost savings to pursue free agent pitching.
But Melvin and Cashman have not spoken since the morning of Dec. 11. That signaled a dead deal to Melvin. "We all have followed the Jake Peavy saga and the Rafael Furcal saga," said Melvin, referring to the drawn-out trade talks regarding Peavy and Furcal's unsettled free-agent status. "People have to be careful when they phrase deals as, 'done.' "While I felt that it was a possibility of getting [a trade with the Yankees] done, there was never a point that either of us said it was done. ... He had called me on an idea, and I got back to him with another idea, and we haven't heard from each other since. I assume what we're talking about is no longer alive, and that's fine. I'm not upset; that's just how deals are." The Yankees have been busy since the end of the Meetings. They will introduce more than $240 million worth of free-agent pitching on Thursday when CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett arrive in New York, and have also been linked to free-agent sluggers Mark Teixeira and Manny Ramirez in recent days. So Melvin is prepared to open 2009 with Cameron in center field. The Brewers picked up his $10 million option for '09 in October. "I'm happy to have Mike Cameron on our team," Melvin said. "He's a good teammate, he's a good influence on our club and he's still a good player. We're happy to have him here, and I want to make sure that he knows he's not a guy I'm shopping around to other teams. I think Mike Cameron is a very valuable ballplayer to have on a team that wants to try and win." Melvin and Cashman are close, and Melvin said the events of the past week would not change that. "I'm not going to call Brian, and Brian doesn't owe me a call, either," Melvin said. "They've got other things going on, and that's the way this stuff is. One day it can happen, and the next day it won't." Melvin appears convinced that in this case, it won't. If the Yankees call to rekindle talks, Melvin said he isn't sure whether he's open to the idea anymore. Cameron missed the first month of 2008 because of a 25-game suspension but was a productive player despite leading the Brewers in strikeouts. He contributed 25 home runs, 52 extra-base hits, 70 RBIs and 17 stolen bases in 120 games. Assuming he is back in an all right-handed outfield, the Brewers will look for left-handed bats at other positions. Melvin may have to settle for a part-time player to platoon at certain spots, possibly in the outfield, where the Brewers also have Tony Gwynn Jr.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.