Brewers on Beltran? GM Melvin won’t say

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin was offered an easy opportunity Tuesday to swat away the persistent rumor that Milwaukee is among the suitors for Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran.

Instead, Melvin said, “I don’t want to get into anything about their players.”

At first glance, the Brewers would appear a long shot for Beltran, the All-Star switch-hitter who is drawing interest from a number clubs with Minor League systems perceived as deeper than Milwaukee’s. But if there’s one lesson Melvin and Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio have taught, particularly over the past three seasons, it’s that you should never rule out Milwaukee.

Melvin has a knack for surprise blockbusters, from the CC Sabathia trade in July 2008 to a near-deal with the Blue Jays in December 2009 (Halladay had no-trade rights and preferred clubs that spend Spring Training in Florida) to the acquisitions of Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke last winter to last week’s out-of-nowhere deal for Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez.

None of those trades were rumored before they went down.

“If a deal is for the right player, I’m always open to making a deal,” Melvin said, speaking in general about trading for marquee players and not specifically about Beltran. “We’ve got some [Minor League] players we won’t give up in deals, though. Our system is a little deeper than most people say. …

“We’ve built a reputation as a club that wants to contend and wants to try to get the best players,” Melvin said. “We draw well, we have a good situation here. We’ve gotten a lot more marquee [free agents]. It’s not a situation where we’re going to try to win on marginal players. We don’t give up on it. We work hard at it. We want to be the best.”

The Mets will already get two Brewers Minor Leaguers in the K-Rod trade. They have until Sept. 1 to choose two players from a list of five, and Melvin told New York general manager Sandy Alderson that if he’d like to make those picks before Sept. 1, the Brewers would honor the request.

Brewers officials have remained tight-lipped about the players on that list. They can move freely throughout Milwaukee’s Minor League system, but may not be promoted to the Majors, Melvin said.

– Adam McCalvy

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