Melvin says trade of prospects unlikely

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said he believes it's highly unlikely that he would trade third baseman Mat Gamel or highly touted shortstop Alcides Escobar before the July 31 deadline.

"I find that almost impossible. You never say never, but I don't, it's not my focus at all," Melvin said. "They're just young players, they're valuable. You talk about teams looking for hitting and shortstops are so valuable, so many teams are looking for shortstops. If you don't have one, you can go years without having one."

Gamel and Escobar represent the Brewers' top two prospects. Gamel was called up earlier this year and is hitting .244 with two homers and 12 RBIs in a platoon role with Bill Hall. Escobar had a September call up last year and is considered the shortstop of the future. He's hitting .295 with three homers and 24 RBIs in 71 games at Triple-A Nashville.

Milwaukee appears to be in need of another starter after Manny Parra has struggled and Dave Bush was placed Tuesday on the 15-day disabled list with a slight tear in his triceps muscle.

The Brewers have been linked in various reports to virtually every starting pitcher who might be available, including Padres ace Jake Peavy, but Melvin has maintained throughout he hasn't had any serious discussions.

He said Tuesday he hasn't gotten many calls, including teams who might be interested in acquiring struggling shortstop J.J. Hardy.

"You don't have that many clubs call," the general manager said. "I talked to a GM today and it's probably the first one I've talked to about players or what we're doing, in 10 days or so. It's not like it's a daily routine."

Melvin was adamant that he's not shopping players because that's how rumors start.

"The thing about trades, you've got 29 other teams and there's probably 20 of them that you're absolutely no match with them," he said. "I'm not going to call another team and say 'Would you have interest in so and so?' and they already have a player because all that happens is they tell somebody else, who tells somebody else."

The Brewers are often brought up in rumors because of Melvin's ability to work out deals, none bigger than last July's trade for CC Sabathia.

But Melvin said he's not focused on trying to pull off a major deal that would likely require him to include Gamel or Escobar. Melvin dealt top prospect Matt LaPorta last season as part of a package for Sabathia.

"I'm very careful. ... I'm not just calling up to make a phone call," Melvin said. "One of the toughest things for us, too, is you've got to identify players that you're willing to give up in the organization before anything.

"That's what we're going through, we've got a lot of people seeing a lot of our players in the system and some players we just don't want to give up."