Doug Melvin is something of a badass. As the Brewers general manager, he runs his team well. They have Ryan Braun and Corey Hart and made the playoffs twice in recent years. It is a small market but they don’t seem to use it as a crutch, to the entire organization’s eternal credit. He also looks the part of a badass, a crucial aspect of badassery.

That said, taking tepid shots at the magnificent Cardinals and the way they do business is probably unwise, even if it was in jest.

The Brewers remained quiet during the Winter Meetings, not making much in the way of moves. A piece on MLB.com entitled “Brewers Lay Groundwork for Future Roster Moves” details how the Brewers, um, laid the groundwork for future moves during their time in Nashville.

The Brewers have a tough road to hoe, as they are looking to trim their payroll from its current spot in the $100 million range. Filling holes frugally is a challenge for any GM, and Melvin admitted as much while taking a tiny dig at his divisional rivals.

“We said we weren’t going to get into the free-agent frenzy,” Melvin said. “There’s 37-year-old guys getting three-year contracts.”

Does he, by chance, mean 37-year olds like Randy Choate, the recent receipient of a three-year deal from the Cardinals? Couldn’t be that, could it?

“We’re not chasing left-handers,” Melvin said. “If there’s a left-hander who is available, [fine], but we’ve found them in the past with Brian Shouse and Mitch Stetter. It’s hard to commit to a left-hander sometimes in the National League. You may have to carry 13 pitchers if you’re carrying one situational lefty. Ron [Roenicke, the Brewers' manager] said, too, ‘I don’t have to have a lefty just to have a lefty. I want a guy who can get people out.’”

My spidey sense tingles, it does.

While Melvin might be right and giving Randy Choate three years does seem like a lot, especially since he really only faces lefties, if any team in the history of the world can afford to overpay for a specialist it is the Cardinals. Remember all that stuff about their entire damn team basically being homegrown, pre-arb players? That sort of pays for a lot of Randy Choates. Don’t forget the rest of their farm system is brimming with EVEN MORE STUDS WAITING TO TAKE OVER.

The Cardinals did nothing outside of the Choate deal this week. They don’t really need much. The Cards were briefly attached to Marco Scutaro but seemed content to let the Giants bid against themselves for the services of a 37-year old middle infielder. The Cardinals still have Pete Kozma kicking around and Rafael Furcal remains under contract for 2013.

If both those options fail, I am confident the John Mozeliak could cobble a replacement-level shortstop together out of some leftover equipment and old hats laying around their Spring Training complex. It’s kind of their thing. That and the whole “best fans in baseball” thing make a pretty formidable combination. But hey, best of luck Dougie. I’m sure mild potshots will make Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, and Oscar Taveras lookalikes magically appear in your farm system overnight. That’s how this work, right?