Tagged: David Stearns

2016 Draft Recap Podcast

Ray

It’s here! With the draft come and gone I have once again put together a podcast for your listening pleasure.

I talk to two of the Brewers draft picks this year, a tradition I started several years ago at this point, as I had the chance to interview top pick Corey Ray and 6th rounder Payton Henry. You’ll also hear some audio from the Director of Amateur Scouting for the Brewers, Ray Montgomery, as well as MLB veteran Curtis Granderson who has been a mentor for Corey over the last couple of years.

I might post a follow-up interview that I wanted to conduct but haven’t yet had a chance to complete due to scheduling conflicts but I wanted to get this up for now without it just in case it never happens.

But for now, listen to this and let me know what you think.

Today’s Letter From the Principal Owner of the Brewers

December 17, 2015

Dear Brewers Fans:

During this holiday season, I want to extend my sincere thanks to you for sticking with us through a tough, challenging and–most aptly–disappointing season. You showed your loyalty by purchasing more than 2.5 million tickets to see baseball at Miller Park, which you’ve done every season over the past nine years. Only seven other MLB teams have reached this attendance milestone. And over those nine seasons, the Brewers have averaged more than 35,000 fans per home game, which is among the ten highest team averages in all of Major League Baseball.

The commitment you’ve demonstrated to the Brewers, I assure you, is equaled by my own commitment to doing better. Each of you deserves that. By doing better, I mean fielding a playoff-competitive team and one day bringing a world championship to Milwaukee. To move toward accomplishing this lofty goal, I believe we need to take a step back and build more intensively from within. Our new General Manager, David Stearns, has been spearheading this approach, which requires grinding things out, prospect by prospect and trade by trade. While we look forward to using his fresh vision to getting our baseball operations to where we want them to be, we are mindful that there is a lot of hard work to do, and we will not take any shortcuts or look for quick fixes.

Importantly, David has a great deal of flexibility to work with, as the team has just three long-term contracts remaining: Jonathan Lucroy (two years), Matt Garza (two years) and Ryan Braun (five years). As you probably know, David recruited Matt Arnold from the Tampa Bay Rays as his Assistant GM. At this month’s Winter Meetings, he and Matt started to implement their strategy, which David has articulated thematically as acquiring, developing and retaining as much young talent as we can. We do not have a rigid timetable because we believe it is vital to build a proper foundation for sustained success. I am encouraged by the level of teamwork I’ve been seeing in baseball operations and, most significantly, between David and Matt.

Even before David joined our organization, our re-evaluation effort had begun. When the start of the 2015 season told us that the first 150 days of the 2014 season had been an illusion–one ultimately supplanted by the reality of the final month of that season–we made the difficult decision to change the team’s manager. In early May, we hired Craig Counsell, already a valued special assistant to our GM, to a three-year contract. This allowed Craig five months to observe our players in the field and to start training them to play in the style that had brought him two World Series rings as a player.

With a focus on the future at the July 31 trade deadline, we exchanged veteran players who had less than two years remaining under their contracts for seven young players, four of whom saw action with the Brewers before the end of the season. A total of twelve rookies debuted this season–a club record. The performance of our lower-level Minor League affiliates provided more evidence that the talent of our prospects is improving. Our AA affiliate, the Biloxi Shuckers, went to the Southern League Championship Series this year for the first time since 2007. Moreover, Baseball America named three Brewers among the publication’s top five prospects in the Arizona Fall League.

Since the end of last season, we have traded for another seven young players, including three with Major League experience. Through all these trades, we have added fourteen prospects to our team, supplementing the players we selected in what was considered a rich 2015 draft. As reported on mlb.com, eleven of our top twenty prospects have been acquired in the past two years either through draft or trades. The restocking of the farm system has begun in earnest.

Finally, I would be remiss not to acknowledge Doug Melvin, who has transitioned from President of Baseball Operations and General Manager of the Brewers into a role as Senior Advisor. Doug’s baseball acumen, work ethic and loyalty have been an asset to the team for thirteen seasons, and he remains a valuable resource to David and our baseball operations group.

So, as we approach 2016, I want to reiterate how much the entire Brewers organization appreciates the community’s strong enthusiasm for the club. We are dedicated to building something special here in Milwaukee for you, the best fans in baseball. I thank you once again for your steadfast support.

Go Brewers!

wpid-im_attanasio_sig.gif

 

 

 

Mark Attanasio
Chairman and Principal Owner

MILWAUKEE BREWERS BASEBALL CLUB

Brewers Announce Several 40-Man Roster Subtractions

DavidStearns

Just prior to the close of the business day Monday, the Milwaukee Brewers announced six players as no longer being a part of its 40-man roster by way of outright assignment to Triple-A Colorado Springs.

New general manager David Stearns has been discussing his ongoing evaluation of the organization’s talent pool. Now almost a month into his official tenure, the first wave of changes are underway in earnest.

Five of the players could have remained under team control for 2016. Four of those five appeared in the big leagues in Brewers uniforms this season along with the sixth player who won’t be back with the club in any capacity.

The names:

  • RHP Johnny Hellweg
  • LHP Cesar Jimenez
  • C Juan Centeno
  • 1B Matt Clark
  • OF Logan Schafer
  • RHP Kyle Lohse (declared free agency)

Lohse’s declaration should come as no surprise given how his tenure in Milwaukee ended this year. All five of the outrighted players now also have the right to declare minor league free agency, though they could sign minor league contracts for next year should they choose to do so.

Despite a new man in charge and disappointing results following Tommy John surgery and rehab, you would think the Brewers would prefer retaining Johnny Hellweg on a minor league contract. They have, after all, put quite a bit of time and money into him after he was acquired as the second piece in the Zack Greinke-to-Los Angeles deal. Hellweg was also the Brewers MiLB Pitcher of the Year once upon a time.

Jimenez’s outright is probably the only somewhat unexpected move as he performed acceptably for the majority of his time in Milwaukee. That said, he’s certainly a veteran player who doesn’t have a ton of business on a rebuilding roster at the end of the day.

Centeno was passed over for a September call-up after appearing in 10 games early in the year. While it’s not a bad thing to have a third catcher on the 40-man roster, that spot is much more valuable this off-seaosn for Rule 5 Draft protection than for a guy who is inconsequential while there are no games being played.

After being sold a bill of goods never fulfilled, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Matt Clark look for his next opportunity elsewhere. He’s flashed a solid set of tools and I believe he could help a team at the MLB level. That said, at 29 years of age next season, he’ll be outside of the range wherein the Brewers would best benefit from his skills before they deteriorate.

As for Logan Schafer, he’s always been a great guy and he still plays top flight defense (when he’s sharp) but given where he’s at in his career against where the Brewers are in their rebuild, this one just felt kind of inevitable. Schafer is a solid 5th outfielder, in my opinion, but outfield just so happens to be one of the deepest positions in the organization right now both in terms of players currently on the 40-man roster and those hopefully on their way through the minor (Brett Phillips, Tyrone Taylor, Trent Clark).

The Brewers have plenty more decisions to make as the weeks and months pass following the completion of the World Series. For now, Stearns has decided he needs the room on his 40-man roster. After all, two of the spots would appear to be spoken for already as RHPs Jimmy Nelson and Michael Blazek will likely be reinstated from the 60-day Disabled List soon enough and will, as a result, fill two of the current openings.

***UPDATE***

Nelson and Blazek were reinstated from the 60-day DL on Monday as assumed. That officially puts the 40-man roster at 36 players with four open spots.

***END OF UPDATE***

Ron Burgundy may never have heard Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin,’” but David Stearns obviously has, and he’s willing to make the moves he deems necessary to regain Milwaukee’s footing in the ultra-competitive National League Central division.

Up next for Stearns? It could be a decision on whether to pick up the $8 million club option on first baseman Adam Lind. That decision must come by the close of business Wednesday.

What off-season?

Archived Tweets from Stearns/Counsell End of Season Press Conference

Because I want to be able to find these quickly later (and so that I can easily share them with those of you who may have missed them earlier), I’ve decided to link all my tweets from Thursday’s end of season press conference with new Brewers GM David Stearns and Field Manager Craig Counsell. There were more points that I couldn’t completely type up on the fly (like having a plan in place for the off-season before arriving at the GM Meetings in November) that warrant mention, but this is just my tweet log.

Here’s the final thing I tweeted, and I think it’s the takeaway for any fan who is worried about a rebuild taking seven years.

 

Official Release: Brewers Introduce New General Manager

DavidStearns

The Milwaukee Brewers have named David Stearns as the organization’s General Manager. The announcement was made today by Brewers Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Attanasio.

Stearns, 30, comes to the organization after serving three years with the Houston Astros as Assistant General Manager. In that role, Stearns has been a key member of the Astros management team focusing on all areas of the Astros baseball operations, including player development, scouting, administration, and analytics.

“David is a rising star in Major League Baseball and has been an integral part of the rebuilding of an Astros organization that has begun to reap the benefits of his efforts,” Attanasio said. “David’s philosophy and skill set are an ideal match for the Brewers. His proven leadership and diverse set of talents will position us to consistently compete for a World Series championship.”

The Astros have put together one of Major League Baseball’s most dramatic turnarounds in recent history, going from 51 wins in 2013 to 70 last season and now currently occupying an American League Wild Card playoff spot with 79 wins though Sunday.

“This has been a position that I coveted for numerous reasons,” Stearns said. “First, I’m excited to continue building on what I believe is already a solid foundation of young talent with the Brewers, particularly in the Minor League system. And as someone coming from the outside, I’m impressed with the strong relationship between the community and the Club. The fan support is incredible, and I know that they will be behind us as we create something special here. I want to thank Mark Attanasio for bringing me on board, and appreciate all of the hard work that has been done by Doug Melvin and everyone at the Brewers to make this such a special opportunity.”

Prior to joining the Astros, Stearns served one year (2011-12) as the Director of Baseball Operations for the Cleveland Indians and three years (2008-11) with Major League Baseball’s Central Office, where he most recently held the position of Manager, Labor Relations. In that role, he assisted in the salary arbitration process, handling uniform player contracts, and was a member of MLB’s negotiating team for the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Before joining Major League Baseball, Stearns worked in the Baseball Operations Departments of the New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Arizona Fall League. He is a graduate of Harvard University.

A native of New York City, Stearns is engaged to Whitney Ann Lee and will assume his new role with the Brewers on October 5.

Doug Melvin, who has been with the Brewers since 2002 and has served as President of Baseball Operations and General Manager since 2012, announced in August that he would be stepping down from the position.

Korn Ferry International assisted in the process of identifying and evaluating candidates in the search, led by Jed Hughes, its Vice Chairman, Global Sector Leader, Sports.