"The one thing we've done is we do not want to give up pitching."
That approach has limited the Brewers opportunities on the trade market, and Melvin is skeptical that the type of free agents his club can afford are his best alternative.
"We weren’t going to get [Shin-Soo] Choo. We weren’t going to get Robinson Cano ... We can look at $5-$6 million guys, but if we think our guys are better or as good at $500,000, why would we make a move just to make a move?"
The Brewers are the only team that has yet to sign a free agent since the end of the season, but Melvin sees the return of Ryan Braun, and the further development of players like Khris Davis and Jean Segura, as the club's best option for an improvement on their 4th place finish in the NL Central last year. Full seasons from Braun, Davis and third baseman Aramis Ramirez could also aid the team considerably.
Melvin's only notable move has been adding lefty Will Smith by trading outfielder Norichika Aoki to the Royals earlier in the offseason. Smith is currently listed as a reliever by MLBDepthCharts.com, but he could see time in the rotation as well if one of the current starting five struggles or spends time on the disabled list. Aoki's departure could lead to more consistent playing time for Davis, as well. He was excellent for the team last season, batting .279/.353/.596 in 56 games.
Other than adding Smith to the bullpen, the Brewers appear prepared to enter the 2014 season with a very similar roster to the group that took the field on Opening Day in 2013, but healthy return from some of their best players could be enough for Milwaukee to improve while standing their ground this offseason.