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December 7, 2005
Q. What do you think so far about Josh?
BOB MELVIN: You know, he's very creative guy. Got a lot of ideas. I know right now nothing is come to go fruition.
The Vazquez deal is kind of the telltale deal for us to really kind of get a direction where we're going, whether it's prospects, whether it's money coming back, whether it's players coming back.
So I know he's working real hard on that deal to kind of try to open up all the other avenues for some other deals.
Q. Were you surprised when Javy was traded? Did you get a feel during the season he would?
BOB MELVIN: No. I really didn't concern myself with it too much. I just, you know, go about the season and I know he was happy. That's what he conveyed to me.
I know as a player there's a point in time when you feel like you have some leverage and, you know, depending a lot of times on the advice and so forth you get, you feel like you have to use that leverage and so it was a surprise but, you know he's got to do what he's got to do.
Q. How does your rotation look without him in it? Obviously you'll have some pieces that will fit in there?
BOB MELVIN: Well, yeah. That would be something we'd be looking pretty hard at, I guess, someone to fill those innings.
It's the top of the rotation guy. You hate to lose a top of the rotation guy, you know, either your one or two guy that gives you 200 innings. It's one thing just to replace 200 innings, it's another thing to get quality innings out of it.
So, it's going to be difficult but something -- it's going to be a challenge for us.
Q. Is Webby ready to step up into a number one role or would you have rather have him be more the --
BOB MELVIN: I think, you know, ideally maybe another year away, stuff and all that. He certainly has the stuff. He's come a long way as far as the intangible stuff, fielding his position, handling the bat, holding runners.
His walks came down considerably last year. In that respect he's making big strides and he could fill that role. It's just that if you have Brandon Webb in the two hole you're feeling pretty good about yourself. It takes a little pressure off the guy to have a man in the league that long.
Q. It's only been a couple years.
BOB MELVIN: Yeah. It's not like he can't -- stuffwise, abilitywise, he couldn't handle it.
Q. Seems like your roster can go in a lot different ways depending on what happens here over the next month. Is that anxious moments for you? You play through all those scenarios in your head?
BOB MELVIN: Coming in here it looked like we were, you know, one of the teams that might be able to do some things fairly quickly and it hasn't happened.
So, you know, the impressive thing about Josh, he's not panicking and jumping and making a deal just to make a deal. He still wants to make the right deal and he's going to hold out until he feels it's the right thing to do.
Q. How would you guys function if his bat was not around, Troy?
BOB MELVIN: It's a lot of RBIs and homers, the right handed bat in a middle of a lineup amongst a lot of left-handed bats. So, you know, I think there's probably the rumors are a lot more so than actual chance of it happening.
Q. Would you move Chad over to third? Would that --
BOB MELVIN: You know, that would probably be the case if we moved him. I'm certainly -- you know, whether that happens or not, I think we have to come from another team that would overwhelm us. It's not like we're actively shopping Troy.
It seems like once a rumor kind of gets going out there, it develops a life of its own and a guy like that, you know, it just seems to escalate. There are a lot of teams that would have interest in him.
Q. Have you talked to him since the rumors started? Is he bothered by them?
BOB MELVIN: Haven't talked to him since, uh-uh.
Q. Royce could or couldn't be offered arbitration. How would -- if he's not around, how would that affect you?
BOB MELVIN: We have coverage with Alex. We certainly like the fact that we were -- what we felt like was had a starting player that was sitting on the bench that was able to give us production off the bench, any of those three positions and really developed himself into a pretty good pinch hitter, too. So, you know, you lose that dynamic as an.
Is Andy Green ready to fill that role? Probably. You know, I know Alex wants to play. It was difficult for him early in the season last year. You know, he ended up buying into it for the sake of the team but I know that would be frustrating for him not to feel like he did enough to warrant being an everyday player this year, especially if Clayton didn't come back.
Q. Would he be a shortstop?
BOB MELVIN: Both of them could play short. Both of them could play second. It's something we have to sit down and think long and hard about. Until we get into that situation, we just we have the options for both.
Q. So that if Royce doesn't get offered arbitration today, you'll still wait until spring to see what you got or might start figuring out --
BOB MELVIN: Once the Royce thing comes clear, we might have to start thinking a little bit harder of what we want to.
Q. What are the pros and cons of moving Counsell or putting Alex at shortstop?
BOB MELVIN: I think Counts is in my mind one of the top defensive second basemen in the league if not the top defensive second basemen in the league defensively.
So, you know, moving him to a position he's going to be a really good defender at but taking him out of a position where I feel like he's one of the top guys. That would be the difficult, you know, scenario as moving him to short.
But if you look at his numbers in Milwaukee the year before, he played a real nice shortstop, didn't make too many errors. He's going to be sturdier. Even showed '01, '02 years he could play third base when Matt Williams went out. He's a guy that can play anywhere. I feel like second base is his strongest position.
Q. Bob, I know you like Chris, catcher, defensively especially. But obviously Josh -- you guys are looking for another catcher. What do you think about the whole scenario?
BOB MELVIN: You know, if we were to end up getting one of the high profile guys, obviously you would be happy with that. You know, "Snide" was probably offensively at a level higher than he should have been last year. He never played Triple A.
I think that played into the fact he struggled offensively. But he never took it back there defensively. You know, he does things back there you just don't see to the naked eye, statistics. You know, he's a clear thinker.
Works very well with the pitchers. Everyone of the pitchers wanted to throw to him and at a young age really understands the dynamic between the pitcher/catcher relationship and studies very hard, is prepared, is a guy that understands the game plan as far as attacking hitters with any particular pitcher and stays with it.
So he's way ahead of the game as far as that goes. Just I think you're going to see more production as years go on. I kind of liken him to Mike Matheny who struggled offensively for quite sometime. Really didn't get a chance to play everyday until he was a little bit older.
So you know, there's a lot of similarities between those two and I think each year "Snide" will get better offensively.
Q. You two are fairly close. Do you think he can -- would it set him back terribly if he had to be the number two guy?
BOB MELVIN: You know, it depends. If we were to get some sort of a left/right scenario or not a Hernandez or Molina or guy I think we would be able to give him, brought in a different guy we would be able to give him enough time to develop him further.
The problem would be if we brought a guy in that we thought was going to catch 130 days -- excuse me, 130 games, you know, then he would be a straight backup at the big league level and whether or not that's good for him, I don't know.
Q. Would you like to have a little more speed in the lineup? Would that be something you would like?
BOB MELVIN: Certainly you would like to have more speed. We were pretty good about picking our spots, you know, stealing bases at times and not getting thrown out too terribly much.
But as a manager, obviously, you'd like to have guys out there, some burners out there that you know similar to what Counts would do to the opposition, they're thinking about him over there and when you don't have a hundred percent concentration on the hitter, some of your concentration is on the runner, he's expecting what the pitcher is trying to do to that particular hitter. So I would like to have more speed. Whether or not that happens, we'll see.
Q. Seems like that would have to come in center field the way things are constructed?
BOB MELVIN: That's kind of the way it's looking. That's probably not going to come at the catcher's position.
Q. Is your bullpen, the back of your bullpen set going into spring? You talked at end of the year about Valverde.
BOB MELVIN: We're still looking to bring in a Worrell-type of guy. You know, we looked all spring for something like that and really struggled with that.
You know, when Lyon went down, you know, we were trying all sorts of different things to try to close out a game and then when Valverde, you know, got healthy and confidence got going and we moved him into the closer's role, you know, having Tim fill the 8th, I think it was huge for us. It made everybody better.
We could pitch Medders in the 7th, Worrell in the 8th, Valverde the 9th. The psychological effect it has on your team knowing once you have a lead going into the 7th, I think you feel like you really have a chance to close it out and we did once that happened and that had a lot to do with Tim and that veteran presence.
We found the right guy, albeit a little late. We just didn't -- couldn't keep him this year. We're still looking for that type guy.
Q. Will Valverde close?
BOB MELVIN: As of right now, yeah.
Q. What will Lyon be?
BOB MELVIN: You know, we'll -- spring training is going to be important for him in that he needs to get through it healthy and not have concerns about his elbow. If that happens, then he's certainly a guy that will pitch well.
Q. Is Medders a guy that could step up to the setup role?
BOB MELVIN: As of right now that's probably what I remember we're looking but I'd like to be able to, like I said, to bring in somebody else.
Q. Somebody as a veteran?
BOB MELVIN: Yeah. You know, who knows? Maybe he's ready for it but you know he's still young. Doesn't have a whole lot of experience. He did great and we expect him to be that guy but that puts a lot of pressure on him right away going into spring training knowing he has to fill that role.
Q. What's your rotation, say Javy is not here? Are Vargas and Halsey locked?
BOB MELVIN: As of right now, yeah. In my Nipper would compete, too. But we need to -- we need to bring somebody else in. For every five guys you have, you're going to need 6, sometimes 7, sometimes 8 depending.
So just because you have five guys you feel like going into the season are your guys, you're always going to have some challenges as far as injuries and missing a start or whatever, and stuff like that. So, you have to believe deeper than that. You like to be 7 deep, really.
Q. Is Vargas definitely somebody you'll offer arbitration too?
BOB MELVIN: You know, you might have to talk to Josh about that. I don't see that personally be a non-tender, especially with Vazquez situation, the contributions he gave us last year. I can't see that happening.
Q. So even pitcher X takes some innings, you would be fine with Halsey and Vargas at 4, 5?
BOB MELVIN: Yeah.
Q. Would you like that to upgrade that spot?
BOB MELVIN: You always like to upgrade your pitching starting. There are really very few number ones. There's a lot more number twos than they are number ones.
If we were -- if we had a couple twos or three threes or two and two threes, then you're still kind of ahead of the game there. There's only so many Clemens out there, guys like that.
Q. You tinkered with Luis in the two hole. Is that something you would like to continue with next year?
BOB MELVIN: Not really.
BOB MELVIN: No. He's a production guy.
Q. Luis Gonzalez.
BOB MELVIN: He's a middle of the order guy.
Q. That was just fiddling around then?
BOB MELVIN: Well, I mean just depends on where all our moves go. I'd like to split our lefties up some. I'd like to have -- if Counts is leading off, I would like to have someone right-handed in the two hole because Gonzo and Trace are the guys we're looking at to hit 3 or 5.
You know, Glaus right now is our 4 guy and depending on the Jackson/Tony Clark situation. Certainly if Jackson is there playing everyday, which we as of right now, you know, you look at it, you know, comes -- starts the season with us.
He's not a guy that you want to sit on the bench. It's a different thing to bring him up last couple months or second half and ease him into it. But when you start out with a kid like that, you know, you want him to go to be your starter and not have to look over his shoulder.
Q. You expect him to on the roster opening day.
BOB MELVIN: Yeah.
Q. How do you like his -- what you saw of him?
BOB MELVIN: Well, you know, he was obviously a lot more ready when he first got there and for a young kid, it's tough to come off the bench but in the position we were in and the year Tony was having, that's life. That life in the big league. Nothing is ever given to you and he understands that.
He understood what Tony was doing, why he was playing and we were playing for second place and really other than until the last four games of the season was really was prepared to potentially win our key division. That's the kind of Catch-22.
When you're in that type of opportunity you've got to go out there and give it your best shot. Not we couldn't win with him. The year Tony was having he was our most productive guy.
Q. Tony would be the super-sub?
BOB MELVIN: Yeah. I need to give him his at bats. It would take some pressure off Conor over there, too, to give Tony a start or two a week, 250.
Q. Against some tough right-handers?
BOB MELVIN: Right.
Q. So if you still had Glaus, that would leave Chad, right?
BOB MELVIN: As of right now.
Q. In center?
BOB MELVIN: Yeah. We did that to try to get more offense. We weren't getting as much offense and we did get some more. We just didn't pitch as well.
Q. What does that do to you defensively?
BOB MELVIN: I wouldn't say it's ideal for a guy like Shawn Green played right field his whole career. He's played some first but he's a right fielder. That's the position he's most comfortable in. He'll do anything. Would we like to have a prototypical centerfielder? Yeah.
Q. Not much has changed here since?
BOB MELVIN: No.
Q. Do you see any role for Stephen Drew next year. Is he going to be Triple A?
BOB MELVIN: Talking to Josh, I think he feels no matter what he does in spring training he's going to start in the minor league but, you know, lot of our conversations are when, when is he ready?
We'll be monitoring him very closely. Just a little more experience and get a few more bats at eye classification.
A higher classification just to get comfortable with that and then we take if he stays productive, which we expect him to do, depending where we are and the situation, you know, if and when, what time of the season is the appropriate time to bring him up.
Q. The idea behind playing -- starting Conor would be here's a young kid who is on the way up, we need him to play?
BOB MELVIN: Well, we think he's going to be a big part of our future. We feel like he's accomplished everything in the minor league offensively that you can accomplish. There's something to be said, guy moves up incrementally, now he's ready to go. You know, he's tough to go back. They understand the circumstances.
They don't -- it's still not a comfortable feeling for them because they feel like they've accomplished enough to play at the Big League level.
He's still working defensively at first base and he's getting better and better. We feel like his time is now.
Q. Do you think Quentin is not quite the same, the same --
BOB MELVIN: They say that both these guys -- haven't seen Carlos near as much. Obviously we didn't have him in September. I saw him in spring training. He struggled some in spring training, obviously, but it didn't affect him going into the season. He had a good year offensively and defensively. Even moved around to see if he could handle center field.
Q. What are your reports on that?
BOB MELVIN: He did pretty well.
Q. Is he a candidate to play center this year?
BOB MELVIN: You know, just depends on how this staff plays out. It's not a slam dunk that he's not. You know, I think he's more comfortable with corner and for a young guy to kind of play out a position at the big league level the first time he comes is a little bit of a stretch but that's why we put him in center field to get him some experience there in case we had to do that.
Q. Would you look to see McCracken come back in a backup role?
BOB MELVIN: Depends on where we're at roster-wise and, you know, if we feel like Andy Green is the guy that can give us outfield and infield, do we need the extra infielder, outfielder, that's all going to play out.
Do I like McCracken? Very much. A guy if you're around him everyday, see how he prepares, not getting any starts yet, is preparing for his type of role and you don't have any problems from him, he's done that before and has experience doing that which is tough for your younger kids.
Yeah, I like him a lot. We've got to see where this thing plays out as far as what the roster is going to look like. You know, all this could change in two days drastically.
Q. So Terrero would have the same role he had last year?
BOB MELVIN: Status quo right now, yeah.
Q. You think you got a left-hand specialist on the radar you want to --
BOB MELVIN: Look at what Buddy did for us, too. We had 7, 8, 9, we had Buddy for anywhere in 7 and 8 to get those tough left handers out which he did. So --
Q. Do you see Slayton at all in the fall league?
BOB MELVIN: Yeah. He was up with us a little bit in Spring Training, too. We liked him a lot. He'll get a hard look, too. I mean ideally you like to have two.
Q. Right, or three.
BOB MELVIN: Two is great and whether or not you know, you ease him into more of that longer role and get a more experienced veteran guy, we'll see but he's got to go out and show us that he's ready for the big league and spring training for guys like that. You got to come ready and ready to pitch and ready to perform from day one.
Q. The market for relief pitchers is escalating. You might have to wait or develop it within maybe?
BOB MELVIN: I mean there's still some guys out there that are attractive. You know, the Vazquez deal really once we get that done, if and when we get that done, that really -- our direction is a little clearer, where we go depending on what we get back from that deal.
So, you know, kind of a tough time to have this -- unto session here because there's still a lot of uncertainty.
Q. You went through this last year with the top of the rotation pitcher, to wait to go see if he's back.
BOB MELVIN: Right. That was another one.
Q. Do you think -- I mean you got any feeling at all on this Vazquez thing could happen? I guess not.
BOB MELVIN: I think we expected it to happen here. The longer it goes on obviously the less of the chances. Doesn't mean once we leave here we feel like we can't get it done. But I think we expected to get it done here.
Q. Josh said he was frustrated.
BOB MELVIN: Yeah. I mean you see some of these deals going on, us looking at the other teams and their needs. We really feel like there are a lot of teams that would benefit greatly by having Javy, including us, but he made this decision so we have to be proactive in trading him and, like I said, the frustrating part it hasn't gotten done but Josh isn't going to just do a deal to do a deal.
He needs to get quality back for Javy, whether it's quality money and prospects with the money to spend on somebody else or, you know, the players that would be in place already.
Q. What do you think about the Classic?
BOB MELVIN: It's intriguing. I think there's a lot of excitement especially BankOne Ballpark will have it in our area.
BOB MELVIN: Yeah. Excuse me. Chase Field. Strike that. So, yeah. But pose some challenges for us getting guys ready and you're always going to have your fingers crossed that nobody gets hurt but everybody is in the same position.
Q. You got four guys, right, I guess they make the team, count Javy. Big on Cintron.
BOB MELVIN: Well, Oscar, too, obviously. I think Edgar has got a chance.
Q. Where do you look at Edgar coming into spring training?
BOB MELVIN: He's a guy that's probably a little lower down the list as far as starting but gives us some depth.
You know, he's had his struggle at the big league level and for him is going to be getting over having some success at the big league level.
He's had plenty of success at the minor league level. Just kind of not so much the big league level.
Q. But Alex, you're going to lose him for ten days and you're talking about him being the second baseman or your shortstop?
BOB MELVIN: Winter ball comes into play here, too, getting guys ready. You always see Alex having played winter ball come into spraining training ahead of the game.
It's really the pitchers you worry about a little bit more because all of a sudden they're thrust in a situation where you're not incrementally getting ready for games.
Spring training sometimes you don't see everybody's best stuff. They're working towards it. The last two weeks we really want to see the results and velocity there and -- but you know now that's something that these guys no matter how many bullpen sessions you have going forward, all of a sudden you're thrust into a game with the impact that this has.
I mean you're giving all you have at an earlier time. Every team is in the same situation.
Q. You got any suggestions on pitch limits? Have they talked to the managers at all?
BOB MELVIN: I think we're going over that right now. You certainly don't see starters going 120 pitches. I know the --
Q. 60, 70?
BOB MELVIN: Yeah. I think that's fair. I think, you know, even maybe upwards of 80.
Q. That time of spring?
BOB MELVIN: Yeah. And depending on winter ball and they'll have their limitations and so forth but some guys will be further along than other guys. Managers are going to have to be aware of that.
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