The Milwaukee Brewers today announced that Ron Roenicke will be the team’s manager for the 2015 season.
Roenicke, who has compiled a career 335-313 record as manager since taking over for Ken Macha following the 2010 season, was already under contract for the 2015 season but speculation was rampant over the final month of this past regular season and the days since that his position was in doubt. That was fueled by the Brewers historic collapse over the final six weeks of the season, one which saw Roenicke’s team topple from 16 games over .500 on August 20th to a mere two games north of even at the end.
From 71-55 to 82-80. That’s 11-25 during that stretch including a nine-game losing streak that kicked off a stretch of 13 losses in 14 games. After a small rebound at home in mid-September, one which left the team still capable of controlling whether they got into the playoffs, they slammed back down off their bounce with a thud during the season’s final road trip, a brutal three-city, nine-game NL Central tour.
Apparently the Brewers’ brass felt that enough of the blame did not lie with Roenicke. As the players would (and did after the final game) tell you, the fault lies in their own physical and mental failures. Those that spoke about the season’s shortcomings said that they needed to play better and more consistently. Only so much of that is on the manager in any case. They often get too much credit for success and too much blame for failure.
Despite Roenicke’s staying in town, hitting coach Johnny Narron’s contract will not be extended beyond it’s October 31, 2014 expiration date. Too many hitters performed too poorly for too long for a change there to be avoided. The rest of the dugout staff felt more secure (more on that in a different column as time allows), though it was also revealed that Garth Iorg will not be offered a new contract for 2015 with the organization. If you have a grievance with one of the coaches that you feel deserves having him replaced, please share your thoughts in the comments.
The bottom line on this one feels as though the Brewers value stability at their managerial position and likely believe that making a change in what could be the final year of the current window of contention would cause more tumult than it’s worth. The Brewers won the 2008 NL Wild Card, and were viewed as likely to contend in 2009 & 2010. However, after the Brewers fired Ned Yost at the end of 2008 and gave the reins to Macha for two seasons, they slogged through back-to-back losing campaigns. Roenicke took over in 2011 and won the division by winning 96 games. Much of that is the imported pitching talent that arrived over the preceding winter, but some of the credit does go to the different voice in the locker room. These players respect and like Ron Roenicke. Contrary to some opinions out there, Roenicke has not “lost the locker room” at all.
Sometimes you need to change the voice. That’s an adage probably as old as baseball itself. This isn’t that time for the Brewers in the case of Ron Roenicke.
UPDATE: Here is the Brewers press release on the topic.
The Milwaukee Brewers announced today that the team will not be offering 2015 contracts to hitting coach Johnny Narron and first base/infield coach Garth Iorg.
Manager Ron Roenicke, whose 2015 club option was exercised this past Spring Training, and the rest of the coaching staff will return next season.
The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin. “Over the course of the last few weeks, we have evaluated the work of Ron and his coaches and believe that this is the best course of action to take,” said Melvin. “We appreciate the work that Johnny and Garth did for us through the years, and moves like these are never easy to make. We have already started reviewing our player personnel and will continue to address the factors that led to our disappointing finish to the season.”
Narron served three seasons as hitting coach. He was named to his position on November 28, 2011, replacing Dale Sveum, who was named manager of the Chicago Cubs. Iorg served four seasons as first base coach. He was named to his position on November 15, 2010.
Returning to the coaching staff for the 2015 season will be coach Mike Guerrero (2nd season), pitching coach Rick Kranitz (5th season), bench coach Jerry Narron (5th season), third base coach Ed Sedar (9th season, 5th as 3B coach), outfield coach John Shelby (5th season) and bullpen coach Lee Tunnell (4th season).