Brewers show interest in Carl Pavano

The Milwaukee Brewers have emerged as a viable player in the market for free-agent starter Carl Pavano, major-league sources said Wednesday evening.

Although the Minnesota Twins remain the likeliest destination for the right-hander, the Brewers have made clear their desire to add another top-of-the-rotation starter after acquiring the reliable Shaun Marcum from Toronto earlier this week.

The Brewers’ pursuit of Pavano could get a boost from Mark Attanasio, the team’s chairman and principal owner. Attanasio would increase the payroll limit in order to accommodate the right starting pitcher, a source told

That’s an encouraging sign for Brewers fans, since Attanasio told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel earlier this year that the team would lose money in 2010.

The Washington Nationals have kept in contact with Pavano’s agent, Tom O’Connell, but aren’t viewed as a serious suitor at this point. The Texas Rangers could become a factor in the coming days, but only if they come away empty from their pursuits of Cliff Lee and Zack Greinke.

Even though the Nationals and Rangers are on the fringe of Pavano’s market, O’Connell may counsel him to remain unsigned until Lee makes his decision. That way, Pavano could benefit from an uptick in demand once the No. 1 free agent starter is off the board.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin has been trying to upgrade the team’s pitching staff for several years. The coming season is the Brewers’ last chance to win a championship with Prince Fielder before the star first baseman files for free agency.

Melvin already traded for Marcum, who is coming off a 13-win season, but a source indicated that further upgrades will need to come via free agency. The Brewers aren’t optimistic about their chances of trading for Kansas City’s Greinke or Tampa Bay’s Matt Garza.