11/14/11 9:03 PM EST
Brewers on the hunt for a shortstop
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
Furcal, 34, is intriguing partly because of the damage he did against Milwaukee in 2011. Five of the eight home runs he hit during a season split between the Dodgers and Cardinals came against a Brewers pitcher.Kinzer pointed out that Furcal's teams have made the postseason in 10 of his 12 seasons -- the Braves, Dodgers and Cardinals. Furcal was part of a July trade that helped the Cardinals reach -- and win -- the World Series, though he batted only .217 in the postseason. "I've told a couple of general managers that you can look and see the energy level with the Cardinals from the time [Furcal] got there -- he's got intangibles that don't show up in the analysis," said Kinzer. "Another thing is, he's been hurt the last few years, but so have the other top shortstops, and nobody out there has his playoff experience." Does Kinzer believe the Brewers are interested? "I would think anybody who needs a shortstop and who is a contender has to look at him," he said. "Like I said, he brings the intangibles. The other guys haven't won the championships. ... He might miss a few games during the year, but when he's on the field, he's a difference-maker." Betancourt batted .252 with 13 home runs and 68 RBIs for the Brewers in 2011, and he is "very interested" in returning, according to Melvin. The Brewers have not ruled out bringing him back if the price is right, but they want to gauge who else is available first. Melvin was the first of his colleagues to appear in the Pfister Hotel lobby on Monday for the start of the General Manager Meetings and Owners Meetings, and he reserved a suite to use for sit-downs with agents or executives from other clubs. In addition to infielders, the Brewers need late-inning relievers to set up closer John Axford. Melvin has already been in contact with representatives for veteran relievers LaTroy Hawkins and Takashi Saito, both of whom are coming off solid seasons in Milwaukee. "We probably are going to be late in signing players," Melvin said. "I don't know if there's bargains at the start. ... Tell me an early signing that's a good deal."