1. Is it time to fire Ken Macha?
I genuinely expected to hear today, Thursday, that Macha was let go...not that I think he should go, but that Attanasio and Melvin's MO is to make quick decisions when their ball club is faltering...and to lose 4 straight to division rivals beneath them in the standings to drop 10 games back of the Cardinals certainly fits that bill. My guess is that Macha will get the heave ho if the Brewers don't win at least 2 of the 4 in Washington...Melvin probably bought Macha some time today, but not much.
2. If the Reds were interested in Bill Hall for playing shortstop, and are trying to unload a starting pitcher and his salary, could we deal J.J. Hardy for either Aaron Harang or Bronson Arroyo?
Now that Hall has been dealt to the Mariners, Doug Melvin is free to turn his attention to acquiring another starting pitcher--and the Brewers may be interested, according to Tom Haudricourt of JSOnline.com:
The Reds have a couple of high-priced starting pitchers in Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang, who were reported to have cleared waivers, allowing them to be traded. Arroyo will make $11 million next year with an $11 million option for 2011 and a $2 million buyout. Harang has a $12.5 million salary for next year with a $12.75 million salary for 2011 and a $2 million buyout.Hardy is arbitration eligible for at least 2010 (2011 if he is not called up before September 2), as James Langrehr reported here earlier, and the Brewers would not only love to get another starter, but rid themselves of the headache that would ensue were they to wait to call up Hardy and thus delay his free agency by a year (but, at this point, Hardy might be grateful to be under the protection of arbitration where he can only get a 20% salary reduction from the previous season).
With the Brewers in dire need of pitchers, Melvin might be tempted to take on Arroyo or Harang if either is made available. Harang, a pitcher the Brewers have liked in the past, has struggled to a 6-14 record and 4.35 ERA, and Arroyo is 11-11 with a 4.74 ERA.
Jeff Suppan and Dave Bush are expected to return by the end of August, so either Bush or Looper would likely be the odd man out. It would be appealing if the Brewers could throw Suppan in with Hardy to get both of the Reds' starters, but I don't see that happening, even if Suppan does become healthy by the end of the month.
Like James, I'd prefer Harang over Arroyo...but I'm sure the Reds would as well. But adding a Tim Dillard or another minor league player might be enough to solidify a deal.