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Brewers to focus on pitching at Winter Meetings

NASHVILLE -- Welcome to the Opryland Hotel, where the most common phrase -- "Meet me in the lobby" -- is followed by the most common question -- "Which lobby?"

There will be plenty of room to mingle when baseball executives begin to gather on Monday for baseball's annual Winter Meetings, which return to the Opryland for the first time since 2007.

The largest non-casino hotel in the U.S., outside of Las Vegas, could be a fitting setting for some gargantuan deals, with Zack Greinke still the best pitcher available on the free agent market and Josh Hamilton the best hitter.

The Brewers will probably be working the tiers just below those top players, though they have been doggedly linked to both this winter. General manager Doug Melvin's top two tasks are adding an established starter and rebuilding the league's worst bullpen, and he will spend his week brainstorming with his staff in the Brewers' hotel suite, meeting with representatives for free agents and with rival GMs to talk trades.

Melvin's bullpen remodel began early, when he traded a prospect for Rays right-hander Burke Badenhop, a younger, cheaper version of Kameron Loe. The Brewers still need to make multiple relief additions. will have it all covered, with all 30 beat reporters working the Opryland 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 a significant charitable initiative, will hand out its Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Awards and baseball's managers will meet with the media to give their take on baseball's shopping season. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke's session is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT on Tuesday.

Fans are encouraged to take part by filling the comments section at this week with their own suggestions for getting the club back to the postseason. Should Melvin focus on starting or relief? Ryan Dempster or Edwin Jackson? How much should he be willing to spend?

Let the dealing begin.

Milwaukee Brewers, Burke Badenhop