Posts Tagged ‘Manager’

Willie Randolph Named Bench Coach

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

Macha and the Brewers have officially named Willie Randolph their bench coach. This could be Doug Melvin’s coaching fantasy come true since he wanted both coaches 6 years ago and this offseason. The Brewers have massively upgraded the coaching experience over Yost/Simmons in less than a month. Randolph was rumored to have drawn interest from the Nationals and the Mariners, but instead chose Milwaukee. As I said when Macha was hired, the fact that big name managers are interested in Brew City really goes to show how much the baseball culture in Milwaukee has changed.

Mini-Brewmors

Melvin, however, won’t feel completely comfortable yet since C.C. and Sheets still haven’t signed anywhere and there’s talk of Jake Peavy coming to an NL Central team. According to Eli, the Cubs are preparing two different offers to the Padres for Jake Peavy and the Brewers are looking at Oliver Perez (WTF?) if they can’t land C.C. or Sheets.

RFB Offseason Roundtable - Reaction to Macha

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

This Week’s Topic: What is your initial reaction to the hiring of Ken Macha as Brewers Manager?

Joe -

I like the managerial signing of Ken Macha. I think he is an established guy and he has shown he can win (winning two division titles in four years and never finishing with less than 88 wins).

I like that the Brewers actually have signed a guy who: a) is not a first year manager and b) is not a home grown guy. I think it will do this team some good to have some “outside” perspective.

Many Brewers fans are highly concerned over his reportedly poor relationships with his players while in Oakland. Personally, I am not too worried about it. First and foremost, if anyone has read a thing about Billy Beane and the way he runs his team, I am not one bit surprised that an Oakland manager had rocky relations with anyone. Second, I don’t really care how good his relationships are with the players if they win division titles and play well.

Ken Macha will not face the type of pressure and stress from Doug Melvin that he endured with Billy Beane in Oakland, and frankly, I completely trust Doug Melvin’s decision.

Jared -

I’m very happy with the Ken Macha hiring. I think I’ve outlined what I like about him on the site pretty well over the last few weeks (especially in this post: http://www.rightfieldbleachers.com/?p=2805). He fits basically every requirement I was hoping the manager would have. And I think he’s a great addition for the team.

After hearing his press conference, I’m even more confident in him. Some have criticized him for not having much personality, but he was very personable in his press conference and the interview he did on 1250 WSSP following the announcement. He cracked a handful of jokes that went over well and he was very upfront when reporters asked repeatedly about the supposed “disconnect” in Oakland. One of the things I truly did not like about Ned was how he handled the media, especially with the tough questions. He would not have handled the questions today well at all. I can already tell Macha is an upgrade in that department.

It was also reassuring that several players, including Kendall, have come forward and said they’re happy with the hiring and that Macha is not a horrible, disconnected manager that won’t have their backs. In fact, he sounds quite competent and the term “players manager” was even thrown around. There’s two sides to every story.

I’m not saying Macha is going to come in and suddenly transform this club into a 100-win team, but he was very clearly the best candidate of any who even received mention and he’s heads and shoulders above Randolph, who has to be held at least partly responsible for that complete disaster of a clubhouse in New York, and Brenly, who is regarded as a mental midget when it comes to baseball strategy.

I think we’ll all be very happy with the decision next season. Good work, Doug.

Tyler -

The announcement of Ken Macha as the 17th, and most recent, Brewers skipper isn’t at all surprising and it isn’t incredibly exciting either. It pretty much just is what it is.

I’d seen what Whitey had done in Oakland and you can’t hate that. He seems a good enough manager and all, but he’s not one that will blow people away with amazement. Not trying to take away all importance of a manager, but essentially past win/loss totals, the possible existence of a “disconnect” and anything else that happened in Oakland means very little to me. It’s all a matter of what is done now, with this team, with this general manager breathing down his liver-spotted neck.

And because none of that can be known until the season begins, I’m just happy to have Macha in place. He seemed to be one of the better, if not the best, manager available for hire based on what he’s done – but I’m most concerned on what he’ll do. I’m glad to have him, but I guess my overlying sentiment through all this is a slightly sarcastic “yay” because I’m just mostly glad it’s over with and the Brewers can now start signing or trading for people that will at least occasionally get up off the bench and play – you know, non-managers.

Johnny -

Macha Macha Man, I’ve got to be a Macha Man. Hahahahahaha! I am kidding eye-eddy. No, but I am serious. Macha was my favorite option. I really didn’t see an upgrade going Yost to Randolph, or Brenly. There is no way to predict how it will pan out, but one thing I do like is - every picture that the major sports channels show of Macha show him squinting. Which tells me he is both wise, and honorable. And even if he leads us nowhere, our players should, at least, pick up on some of his many proverbs are parables. To become a better athlete, you must become a better person. The more I read about Macha’s baseball philosophy the more I liked it. Hopefully his stern attitude and performance based lineups will be a spark to massive disappointments Billy Hall and Rickie Weeks. It would be great to watch them turn into real ball players.  But like Tyler said, at least it’s over. Now we can prepare the boom box’s dance mixes, so we can rejoice about the Jeff Francouer deal with Macha-rena’s and Macha-ritas. I am done.

Bryan -

I believe Macha coming to the Brewers shows how much the culture of the team has changed. 6 years ago, the Brewers wanted Macha as the “successor” to Jerry Royster to manage the team. The A’s gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse to be their manager. He knew the team and the A’s just won 103 games the past season. The Brewers, at the time, were mostly full of unknowns and had just lost 106 games the previous season. Macha went on to have 4 good years as manager in Oakland while Ned Yost started taking to change the culture in Milwaukee. Interesting how things intertwine. Side note, both searches included Wille Randolph and I’m glad he was not chosen either time.

A couple things he said during his press conference that I truly liked: First of all, when the inevitable question about Jason Kendall’s comments in Oakland, Macha said it’s not his job to be friends. It’s his job to create a line-up that will win. The main problem I had with Yost was that he seemed to play favorites with players and it doesn’t seem that will be the case with this team anymore.

Something else I enjoyed was that he’s ready to lead the team even if they can’t retain C.C. and/or Sheets. His attitude seems to be “been there, done that”, which is an important attitude right now with many Brewer fans currently scared of a CC-less team. He said it was similar to losing two of “the big three” in Mulder and Hudson. Now, neither of them were Cy Young winners, but the confidence he exudes will be good for the team and the fans.

Another thing I liked was that Melvin and Macha are both interested in retaining Dale Sveum. Even though I give him a hard time about some of his choices, Sveum is “Brewer People” which I believe you need in this town. Ned Yost and Dale Sveum understood how important this team is to Milwaukee and helped the players understand what it means to be a Brewer too. We lost that with Lopes, Royster, and yes, even Garner.

Finally, I’m glad he sounds like he will balance the team’s power with some small ball. Contrary to buzzword loving casual fans, the Brewers have too much wonderful power to be a small-ball centered team. Small ball does not contain mystical powers, nor does it solve all the worlds problems. But there’s nothing wrong with using elements of small ball late in the game, like Macha said, to get runners closer to scoring or to keep rallies going instead of dying out due to someone overswinging. Milwaukee was 5th in the majors with 324 doubles last year. If Macha can get more runners on base and in scoring position those doubles will turn into runs. And if a batter starts the inning with a double, let’s hope that runner has a better chance to score next year than this past year.

As of 11 pm Thursday night 55% of fans polled on JSonline said they liked the pick and 44% of fans did not like the pick. We have 5 glowing reviews of Macha here. Let’s hear what you have to say in our comments.

Brewers to Name Ken Macha New Skipper Today

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

As Tom Haudricourt, our own Jared, and pretty much every other butterface in and around baseball has predicted, the Milwaukee Brewers are set to name Ken Macha the club’s newest manager in a 2 p.m. (CST) press conference Thursday.

Macha’s last gig came as manager of the Oakland Athletics where he led the team to a 368-280 regular season record over four seasons (2003-2006). The A’s also won two AL West titles under Macha during that period.

Congrats, Ken. I’m glad to have you aboard.

Now let the offseason begin!

Update: Tom Haudricourt is reporting Macha is signed for two years, or through 2010. No word on coin at this time.

RFB Offseason Roundtable - Priority Number 1

Friday, October 24th, 2008

This week’s topic: What is the Brewers top priority this offseason?

 

Jared - 

 

I’d say hiring a manager is priority number one because it effects all of the other offseason questions.

 

CC would not sign a deal with the team without knowing the manager. JJ would not sign a long-term deal without knowing who was in charge. The new manager will likely have a say in if he wants to roll with Gamel and/or Escobar next season. You get the point…

 

Truthfully, I think Melvin has already made his decision on the manager (and my gut says it’s Macha), but he has to wait until the Series is over to make the announcement. After the announcement is made, it will put the dominoes in motion for the rest of what will be a very important offseason.

 

Tyler - 

 

To me, priority number one is getting some pitchers. It still seems doubtful the Brewers can sign Sabathia and almost as doubtful they bring Sheets back in, so obtaining another pitcher either in free agency or by way of trade is paramount this offseason.

With the exclusions of the possibly departing afore-mentioned free agents the rotation is probably Gallardo, Suppan, Bush, Parra and one of McClung/Villanueva/Capuano (some uncertainties with Cappy). I’d personally love to see the Brewers fill in that one sizable uncertainty with a servicable and affordable ace or, more realistically, a number two guy.

I like Derek Lowe a lot, and I hear his teammate Brad Penny may not have his pricey $8.75 M ‘09 option picked up by L.A. Otherwise, if not giving up too much to do so, Matt Cain would be a huge pickup. In the less impressive but still well worth looking into department, as I write this (Tuesday morning) the Orioles just released struggling youngster Adam Loewen. Loewen is Canadian so you know he’s present somewhere on Melvin and Ash’s big board. A low risk, short-term and affordable signing such as the Cardinals did with their $5 M deal with Kyle Lohse might pay off for a team with Milwaukee’s payroll.

Other realistic, decent and somewhat affordable starting pitching options on the free agent market IMO are players like Jon Garland, Jamie Moyer and, you’ll laugh… but here it goes, Carl Pavano - who stepped it up late in 2008, and can be signed at an absolute bargain basement price. Whoever it is and whichever method is taken to make it happen, I feel that securing at least one top half of the rotation starter is the most important gap for Milwaukee to fill this offseason.

 

Joe -

The Brewers have a hand full of holes to fill. They need a new manager. Getting a true lead-off man would be fantastic, as would adding a bullpen arm. In my opinion, it’s pretty obvious what the Brewers number one priority is getting a top of the rotation arm to compliment Yovani Gallardo.

There are a few ways to accomplish this, the most obvious being signing CC Sabathia. Call me Mr Negative, but I just don’t see it happening. The only way the Brewers sign CC is if he really would take four years for $100 million, but even that could cripple a small market team like the Brewers.

I think a trade for a solid young arm is far more likely. I felt pretty good about the likely hood of the Brewers trading for Matt Cain, but lately I’ve been thinking that is less and less likely. I have a feeling the Giants will be asking for too much. Would I trade JJ for Cain straight up? Absolutely! Prince for Cain? I think so. But sorry Mr Gammons, JJ and Prince plus possibly another player for Cain is just too much. Did you mean to say little Timmy Lincecum? I didn’t think so. (Please see the Brewmors page for many more trade rumors)

Obviously there are other means in obtaining another solid starter, but I think those are the two most likely of situations. I expect the trade and free agent signing rumors to start getting really heavy after the Brewers hire their manager and as the Winter Meetings edge closer. No matter what, this will be a fun and interesting off season.

 

Bryan -

I’m sorry if this bounces all over. I saw Los Lonley Boys sing the National Anthem and became befuddled. Is that the best MLB could bring to Tampa? Aren’t they from Texas or something? Is it World Series 2K4?

Anyway, I think it’s amazing how much things change in a year. In July, I had a couple friends tell me that signing Corey Hart to a long term deal is the most important priority for the Brewers. Well, no one is really talking about that anymore, are they?

The Brewers top prioirity this offseason is pitching. No question. The manager could be Connie Mack back from the dead and it wouldn’t matter if this team does not address their pitching needs. First of all, C.C. They will give him an offer. That priority is going to handle itself. C.C. will either choose the fun he had in Milwaukee and stick around for 4 years, or take the 6 year mad jack that the other teams are going to offer him. Ben Sheets basically has said he doesn’t think he’s coming back. Some have stated they’re fine going in with Yovani and Manny as 1 and 2, but we all saw what happened with Manny at the end of his first full year. It wasn’t pretty. It could happen to Yo as well. The Brewers need a strong starting pitcher. Derek Lowe is a big name floating out there. I think Lowe is getting old. Don’t believe me? He was drafted in the same class as Paul Byrd and Brad Radke. He had a good couple seasons in LA Land, but he could turn out to be Jeff Suppan with a sinker. The Giants believe Matt Cain is an ace and should get that amount returned to them. Matt Cain may be stuck on a bad team, but I don’t believe he’s earned the status of “ace” quite yet. Tim Lincecum is an ace, Matt Cain is a very good pitcher on a bad team.

So what to do? The Brewers need to either make one dynamic signing/trade or do what they did for the bullpen last year. Make some one to two year signings and see who pans out. Worked for the Cardinals, they keep picking up arms in low value and they do well for one year (see Jeff Weaver and Kyle Lohse). Might not be good after the one year, but that’s all we’re asking for to make sure that Yovani and Manny will be strong enough to pitch an entire year.

The bullpen is a concern again this year. Will Salomon be back, and if he is, will he be the Salomon of May-August? Or will he be the Salomon of September-October? Will Mota or Gagne be back? If not, who fills in those spots? We need to answer those questions otherwise we might have to bring Turnbow back. Is Shouse going to retire? The only things I like about the bullpen right now are Carlos and Mitch. Riske should be better, but after that who is going to be around that has experience? These are the questions that make this the top priority.

 

Your turn, what do you think the Brewers top priority is?

RFB Offseason Roundtable - What to do with Sveum?

Friday, October 17th, 2008

This week’s topic: What should the Brewers do with Dale Sveum?

Tyler

I support whatever move Doug Melvin makes, because management has a much better handle on who has the right stuff to lead a team. There are no fantasy manager leagues and no stats beyond wins and losses to mark their decision making. So long as it’s not Ray Rhodes, I know that on Opening Day in 2009, Milwaukee will have the right guy in the dugout heading a lineup of gamers and battlers. I just don’t know who that guy is.

In all honesty, I don’t know what I’d like to see happen with Dale Sveum. The perception is he’s a straight-shooting managerial throwback who’s well-liked in the clubhouse and interested in the position, but I just haven’t seen enough of the guy at the controls to feel fully confident he’s the man for what seems to be a highly-sought position.

Sure, 12 regular season and four playoff games is more of an audition than most will receive before being pursued, but you have to look at his being the latest interim manager in baseball history as a blackeye on his leadership. How much shaking up can one man do in 12 game, spanning like 16 days? The team Dale was leading was a lineup Doug Melvin and Mark Attanasio brought in and a lineup Ned Yost set for the 150 previous games.

I have to hand it to Sveum for trying to mess with the batting order, but his changes were small potatoes in the grand scheme of bringing a team to the playoffs. He moved Mike Cameron to the leadoff spot, which turned out to be a really bad move, but moving J.J. Hardy into a struggling Corey Hart’s spot in the order was a great move - but neither of these two small decisions had a glaring correlation to a playoff berth. Sveum was declared leader of another man’s team, and the employees of said team20 just so happened to decide and play closer to their potential with him at the end of the bench. Coincidence? Maybe. Good management? It’s possible.

I guess what I’m getting at is the last 12 games is just slightly better exposure to a manager’s skill, and vision than no game at all. Other managerial candidates have much longer track records, but little or no experience with anyone on this Brewers squad. In all, I think Dale deserves a shot to have the “interim” tag yanked from his title, and to be manager. That said, I’d rather get the right man for the job opposed to just inking the latest old Brewer to have some capability to lead a club.

Jared

Dale Sveum deserves credit for shaking the Brewers out of an unbelievable slump and getting them into the postseason. The players obviously like him and he seems like a smart enough guy. That said, I’m not sold on him as a long-term answer at manager yet. I just haven’t seen him manage long enough to know exactly what he brings to the table. I think that’s the dilemma Melvin faces in his decision too.

Originally, I was hoping the Brewers would make a splash with a big-name manager that would command the young players’ respect. But there really wasn’t a name that popped out at me… Bobby Valentine? Buck Showalter? Willie Randolph? Most of the names were either worn tread or just plain unappealing.

Then I started to hear Ken Macha’s name come up and I looked into his background a little more. I have to say I’m pretty intrigued by him. Macha was Doug Melvin’s first choice for manager in 2003, but took the job in Oakland instead. In four seasons as the A’s manager, Macha led the team to two division titles. His worst season there was good for 88 wins and second in the division. He managed a very young team in a small market. Sound familiar? Also, in contrast to Yost, Macha is known for being very level-headed and even tempered, qualities I’d like my manager to have.

There’s a downside to everyone and Macha’s perceived downside is that there was a “disconnect” between him and his players in Oakland. First of all, working as a manager under the meddling Billy Beane is no easy task and it sounds as though Macha and Beane’s tense relationship helped create an uneasy feeling in the clubhouse. Secondly, it might actually be good for the Brewers to get away from a “players’ manager.” Yost seemed to want to be buddies with all his players and Sveum seems to be much the same. Maybe the Brewers need somebody who isn’t going to tell them their shit doesn’t stink, to put it bluntly.

Sveum would be the easy choice as the Brewers’ manager in ‘09, but I think Macha would be the right choice.

Joe

I have not given this question as much attention as it deserves since the end of the Brewers season. Though it has not garnered much attention from my lowliest of brains, I find myself pulling to have Dale Sveum as the Brewers manager in 2009.

First, the players seem to love him. Personally, I think that’s incredibly important. Not only has he received rave reviews from friends Robin Yount and Terry Francona, players such as Ryan Braun seem to be pulling hard for him. Happy players = happy Brewer times(?) Me hopes yes much.

Secondly, Dale knows himself some baseball. I don’t know the guy, obviously, but it seems he has a great feel for ALL aspects of the game. Most importantly, I think he could teach some of the young players about playing some small ball and plate discipline.

Lastly, and arguably most importantly, Dale seems really into this team. He seems passionate about the team, players, and organization as a whole. As many know, I liked Yost, but I thought there were times when he was too subdued and certainly to set in his ways. I don’t think we’ll see that from Dale Sveum.

Hopefully we’ll hear a decision soon, and if I have it my way, Dale Sveum will be managing the Milwaukee Brewers on opening day ’09.

Bryan

I had to do a pro/con list to decide what I’d like to see happen.

Keeping Dale Sveum:
Pros - Well-liked and respected in the clubhouse, won’t need to bring his own staff so the players on the team can stay with the coaches they’ve always been with, he’s a “Brewer Guy”, he’s gotten votes of confidence from prominent figures on the team and in baseball, he doesn’t seem to have glaring favorites (ie - Yost and Weeks/Counsell/Helms)

Cons - Very little experience has head manager, Made many questionable calls as the third base coach, the big knock on Yost was that he couldn’t take the team to the next level but can Dale do it as the manager for an entire year?, spend the entire year wondering if Garth Iorg has learned the signals, will Robin be back?

Finding someone else:

Pros - Brings a brand new outlook on a team that has finally made it to the playoffs but now can’t win at the end of the year, probably has more managerial experience than Sveum, might have postseason experience, might be able to make this team more well rounded

Cons - Might not care as much about the city as Sveum, might want to completely revamp the staff (please stay, Mike Maddux), might make things worse (not get into the playoffs, lack of respect in the clubhouse)

Ok, that wasn’t a complete list, but it helped. Here’s my answer:

People say that Sveum deserves the manager position next year. I believe that he deserves a SHOT at the position next year. He did nothing to hurt himself from being considered the head manager for next year, but if there’s someone better who has more experience with winning down the stretch (this eliminates you, Willie Randolph), I’ll probably want that person. I want the Brewers to take their time with their coaching search; find the right man for the job. It might be Sveum, but it might be someone completely new. I think that even though Sveum has gotten a vote of confidence from the players (which he probably would have gotten regardless of the outcome), the team will be professionals and fully get behind a new coach and/or system. Personally, I’m with Jared on the Ken Macha love as long as he’d be excited to be in MKE. I’d like to see it between Macha, Davey Johnson, and Sveum and let the Brewers think it through and make a decision in November. The bigger question in my mind is what kind of weapons is the coach, whoever it may be, going to have?

Your turn, be heard! What would you like to see happen?


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