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Stearns sees no need to declare buyer-seller

MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

NEW YORK -- Are the Brewers tilting toward "buy" mode in the run-up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline?

If they are, general manager David Stearns is not planning to say so publicly after MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported that the Brewers were doing background work on at least two of the starting pitchers -- Jose Quintana of the White Sox and Sonny Gray of the A's -- expected to be available in trades.

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NEW YORK -- Are the Brewers tilting toward "buy" mode in the run-up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline?

If they are, general manager David Stearns is not planning to say so publicly after MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported that the Brewers were doing background work on at least two of the starting pitchers -- Jose Quintana of the White Sox and Sonny Gray of the A's -- expected to be available in trades.

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"At this time of year, we do work on a number of different players and explore all potential opportunities. This year is no different -- and I suspect all 29 other teams are doing the same," Stearns wrote in an email. "I don't see a need this year -- or ever, frankly -- to declare as a buyer or seller. We're constantly working to better our organization for the near- and long-term."

Morosi: Will first-place Crew add at Deadline?

A pitcher like Quintana or Gray could further both ends. Gray won't be a free agent until following the 2019 season, and Quintana's contract includes club options for 2019 and 2020.

In other words, making a "win now" trade would not necessarily require abandoning the Brewers' rebuilding project, especially if Stearns could tap the franchise's deep crop of outfield prospects.

"What's different is that if this were last year, it wouldn't be credible to say, 'Oh, we might do that,'" said owner Mark Attanasio, referring to Morosi's piece. "Whereas now, it is credible to say that."

Attanasio said the upcoming All-Star break will "give us time to reflect about where we are."

"We have a huge amount of confidence in this group," Attanasio said. "I think that [Stearns and Co.] are always looking to build the team's depth. Where we go beyond that, I'm sure will be an area of focus over the next few weeks."

Last call

• Friday was the deadline to sign 2017 Draft picks, and MLB.com's Jim Callis reported that the Brewers have come to terms with 16th-round pick Justin Bullock for a $295,000 bonus ($170,000 of which counted against Milwaukee's pool). A right-hander from North Carolina, Bullock was part of the Brewers' run of high school picks from Rounds 11-19.

All of those players are pitchers, shortstops or center fielders with college scholarships waiting, but the Brewers hoped to lure a handful into the professional ranks with above-slot bonuses. In at least one other case before Bullock signed on Friday, they were successful, as MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo reported that right-hander Max Lazar (11th round) signed for $475,000.

Stearns deferred comment on whether he considers the strategy a success until players complete physical exams and the Brewers release a full report on their signings.

• Manager Craig Counsell said that right-hander Wily Peralta will make at least two more Minor League appearances before club officials decide his next step. Peralta was struggling in relief before the Brewers placed him on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right calf on June 21.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Milwaukee Brewers