PITTSBURGH -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke would like to remind contending clubs that there is still time to bolster their rosters for the pennant races.
If it sounds strange that a manager would tout the idea of trading away two of his team's most veteran players, consider that Milwaukee entered its weekend series at PNC Park 17 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Central. And consider that both Shaun Marcum, who returns to the mound Saturday after more than two months on the disabled list, and Francisco Rodriguez, who is pitching well again after flaming-out in a brief stint as the Brewers' closer, are free agents after the season.
Roenicke made a pitch for both players on Friday, one week shy of the Aug. 31 deadline for teams to acquire players and have them eligible for postseason rosters.
Players traded after July 31 must clear waivers first, but there is a high probability that both Marcum and Rodriguez have already cleared that hurdle.
Rodriguez on Friday extended his streak of consecutive scoreless, hitless appearances to six with a clean eighth inning against the Pirates. He has allowed one walk and struck out seven batters in that span.
"All I know is if I'm another team and I'm a contender, and I want a guy who's a big-game pitcher, I would certainly come after Frankie," Roenicke said. "I told you guys all along -- I have tons of confidence in Frankie, even when he was going bad, I had lots of confidence in him. Now he's back throwing [well]. Somebody should grab him."
Marcum is in line for two starts before Aug. 31. He was 5-3 with a 3.39 ERA in 13 starts before developing stiffness in his right elbow after a June 14 outing at Kansas City.
"Why wouldn't you?" take a look at Marcum, Roenicke asked. "The guy can flat-out pitch."
Rodriguez is earning $8 million this season and Marcum $7.725 million, so the Brewers would stand to get about $1.3 million apiece by trading either player for September.
Roenicke would not begrudge Brewers management for considering such deals. The Brewers already traded away Zack Greinke before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
"Not at all," Roenicke said. "Yeah, I want to win every game we can, but sometimes [you don't mind] when a guy has a chance to go somewhere and pitch for a team that's hopefully a contender."