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The Ranger/Brewer axis

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The Brewers mlb.com website has a mailbag column up, that touches on a couple of interesting items relating to the Rangers...

First, there's this on the legendary Gabe Kapler, who has signed with Milwaukee:

With Gabe Kapler signed, are the Brewers done with the outfield and going to make players compete from within for the job, or is Kapler meant to add depth? Of all the outfielders, and more specifically, left fielders, openly available for trade and sign, why go for a previously retired player?
-- Kyle S., Middleton, Wis.

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E-mail your query to MLB.com Brewers beat reporter Adam McCalvy for possible inclusion in a future mailbag column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.

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Kapler is a complementary player, and I think everyone would be shocked if he emerges as an everyday starter. Melvin loves this guy from their days in Texas, so much so that Melvin stayed out of the evaluation process after Kapler worked out for Brewers scouts, not wanting personal feelings to interfere with baseball decisions. When the scouts gave a positive recommendation, Melvin moved immediately toward a deal. It's a low-risk proposition for the Brewers because Kapler inked a non-guaranteed contract. You can certainly argue whether "toughness" means anything to baseball teams, but a lot of people believe that guys like Kapler and Craig Counsell bring some important intangibles.

Good ol' Gabe...

Then there's this discussion of Milwaukee's interest in Hank Blalock:

If Melvin decides to go the trade route, do you think our chances are good of acquiring Texas Rangers third baseman Hank Blalock? There's your left-handed power bat, a decent on-base percentage and he's pretty good defensively. Who do you give up in return? Perhaps Capuano and Bush? I think we'll have enough depth on our pitching staff to compensate. Your thoughts?
-- Donny Z., Pleasant Prairie, Wis.

You might be underestimating what it would take to get Blalock, and that's the problem. The Brewers would probably have to agree to give up one of their young core players (Corey Hart gets asked about a lot) to get a Blalock or a Joe Crede, for example, and Melvin is not willing to go there so far. Blalock is coming off a major injury (he had a rib removed in May), and his numbers since a tremendous 2004 season are more pedestrian, especially over the last two years.

T.R. Sullivan suggests a Blalock for Capuano trade, straight up, while the Brewer writer thinks Capuano and Dave Bush wouldn't be enough...