Monday, August 24, 2015

Doug Melvin to Transition out of Brewers GM Role

(image courtesy of

It was announced a couple of weeks ago that Doug "The Stache" Melvin, the Brewers general manager of over 12 years, was relieved of his duties effective when a suitable replacement is found, and will be transitioning to an "advisory role."  This may sound like a polite way of saying he was fired, but on the contrary it was a mutual decision being talked about with the ownership for quite some time.  It was pretty clear with the signing of Craig Counsell as manager in May that the writing was on the wall for Melvin, who was in the last year of his contract.  Since that hiring, the Brewers have sold off a lot of their veteran players, and now with Melvin stepping down, an complete multi-year rebuild has been all but cemented, whether owner Mark Attanasio wants to admit that or not.  I would expect that nearly every other job in the front office will be vulnerable when the season ends, and I would not be surprised if DM's Canadian cohort Gord Ash - the assistant GM - is canned as well (who by the way is somehow older than Doug Melvin). 

It's a pretty popular line of thinking with the casual Milwaukee Brewer fan to blame Melvin for every single bad trade or signing, but it is easy to overlook all of the good he has done for the franchise as well.  The CC Sabathia trade in July 2008 and the Zack Greinke trade in December 2010 by themselves should be enough reasons for every single fan to personally write Doug a letter to thank him.  Without those trades we don't make the postseason either year, and the Brewers would certainly not be drawing 2.5 million fans in a year they are probably going to lose 95 games.  Yes, Mark Attanasio and the crop of young players that came up in the 2000s deserve a lot of credit as well, but Melvin was the guy pulling all of the strings.  Melvin also orchestrated the trades that brought Carlos Lee, Richie Sexson, Lyle Overbay, Carlos Gomez, Shaun Marcum, and Francisco Rodriguez here.  He understood our market and was not afraid to spend money and sacrifice future prospects to win at all costs, and when it comes down to it, that is what every fan wants at heart.  Ten years ago Milwaukee was never even close to any free agent's radar, and now it is honestly surprising if an offseason goes by in which we don't sign a big name.  Not to be forgotten, and certainly the most impressive thing to me, was Melvin's ability to find pitchers off the scrap heap - sometimes literally bagging groceries - who would go on to productive seasons.  One of the things that Doug said that has always stuck with me the most was that just about any professional pitcher can save 25 games, but it is the next 10-15 saves that make a closer cost big money.  Doug had a knack for finding guys for just the right window of time, and then knowing exactly when they were used up to release them, and it's because of that strategy that I have never believed in giving closers hefty contracts.  Solomon Torres, Derrick Turnbow, John Axford, Jim Henderson, Trevor Hoffman - the list could go on forever.  Bottomline is the 'Stache brought winning baseball back to Milwaukee, and he will certainly be missed.

Doug Melvin did not make his decisions alone, however, and was often aided by one of the best scouting departments in the league, which brings me to my final point - who will replace Doug?  A lot of signs point to Brewers Scouting Director Ray Montgomery as a likely candidate.  He is young and already well respected in the league, and the Brewers are known to like to promote from within.  Whoever it is, I think the team is likely to go the route of a young sabermetric-type guy as so many teams are moving towards these days.  It's kind of like global warming - at a certain point sabermetrics has shifted from theory to fact, and it makes a team seem dumb and stubborn not to be on board with it.  I still think Craig Counsell would be well-suited for the job and is in my opinion still a candidate despite his 3-year contract as manager and a vote of confidence from Mark Attanasio, but there are certainly plenty of exciting assistant GMs in the game now that would also be worthy candidates.

To say the 2015 has been rough would be an understatement, but as I've been saying, all of the moves this year have been necessary and have me very excited for this team's future.  I can't wait to see the changes in store for the offseason and am already eagerly awaiting the release of the 2016 schedule.

Brewers 53-72, -26.0, -19.5 WC (2 @ Indians, 3 v. Reds, 3 v. Pirates)
Reds 51-71, -26.5, -20.0 WC (1 v. Tigers, 3 v. Dodgers, 3 @ Brewers, 3 @ Cubs)

Twins 63-61, -12.5, -1.5 WC (3 @ Rays, 3 v. Astros, 3 v. White Sox)

Erik - 16 (+17 worked)

Peter - 39

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