Here's a hypothetical for you: in '06, the Brewers improve by seven games, going 88-74, sticking in the WC race till the very end, but ultimately falling three games short of the Phillies. Nobody has a breakout year, nobody horribly disappoints, but Hardy, Weeks, and Fielder establish themselves as solid MLB regulars. Lee's contract has expired; Jenkins has another year left; Corey Hart, Nelson Cruz, and to some extent Gabe Gross all look ready to play every day.
What's more, Milwaukee fans turn out in droves, so Mark Attanasio announces that the payroll can increase to as much as $65 million for 2007 and the forseeable future. In other words, Melvin has about $20 mil to spend between Caballo coming off the books and Attanasio's extra payroll.
Dayn Perry gets us started thinking about this stuff with a top-10 list of projected free-agents. So--you've got $20 mil to take a young 88-win team and turn it into a solid contender for the NL central.
What do you do?