The Milwaukee Brewers haven’t made any noise at the 2012 Winter Meetings in Nashville, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t doing any business. The tenor and rhythm of the Winter Meetings can fluctuate wildly, but so far this year’s Meetings seem to be of the conversation-heavy, action-light variety. The Washington Nats acquired Dan Haren, which is a bummer; I thought the Crew possibly could’ve signed him. At $13M for one year, however, the Brewers had no chance, especially considering GM Doug Melvin’s recent comments about the team payroll dropping as low as $80M for 2013. It’s hard to know what to believe, especially at this time of year, but the notion that a well-supported team like the Brewers would have to drop payroll that significantly after drawing nearly 3 million fans is disturbing. It’s especially dire when one considers the club’s many needs this offseason. If the Brewers truly don’t want to go to three years to sign a starting pitcher, it would seem imperative for them to act quickly to find a two-year deal for someone. Pitching is always at a premium, and the options are going to dry up quickly. Ryan Dempster could be a good fit for the team but he’s up there in age and it appears the club would have to overpay to get him, perhaps significantly more than they spent on the Randy Wolf deal. I’m still optimistic that Melvin will find a route to improving the bullpen and the rotation. Perhaps much of what he’s saying is his typical disinformation around this time of year. I hope so, because otherwise we could be in for a more low-budget offseason than many of us hoped.