LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Last time the Winter Meetings were here at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort, in December 2010, the Brewers traded for Shaun Marcum and set the framework to acquire Zack Greinke. Ten months later, the team was celebrating a division title.
Few envision general manager Doug Melvin doing anything remotely so bold during this visit, but that's the beauty of baseball's annual winter showcase. You never know when a brainstorming will turn into something big.
MLB.com will have it all covered, with all 30 beat reporters working the Swan & Dolphin from the moment the hotel begins filling up Sunday night through the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday morning.
Besides the usual mix of news and rumors, Major League Baseball will announce its latest Stand Up to Cancer initiative, MLB.com will hand out its Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Awards, and baseball's managers will meet with the media to break down where their clubs stand heading into 2014. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke's session is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT on Tuesday, and there will be plenty to talk about, including Ryan Braun's move to right field.
The Winter Meetings have changed over the years, from frenzied activity in smoke-filled rooms to a convention-like atmosphere.
"The problem I have with the Winter Meetings today is I think agents use it as an auction venue," Melvin said. "Not many trades are made any more because you have to have physicals done on guys. Years ago, you would shake your hands on the physicals and that was it. Now there's so much at stake, and there's so many more injuries to players.
"As much as anything, the Winter Meetings are done now for the promoting of our game, and that's a good opportunity."
Fans are encouraged to take part by filling the comments section at Brewers.com this week with their own suggestions for getting the club back to the postseason. If Corey Hart winds up getting multiyear offers, and the Brewers are unwilling to go that far, how should they fill first base? Who should be the fifth starter? Which late-inning relief options should Melvin be targeting?
Many of the biggest free agents have already found homes, from Robinson Cano in Seattle to Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran in New York. But teams still have plenty of offseason building to do, and this week will still bring some action.