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Firing the manager is the problem not the answer.


We hit on this a bit in the RRR fired thread but I think the topic of constantly changing managers deserves it's own thread. If we go back and look at our history under Mark Attanasio we see a pattern of instability that seems to me is feeding on itself.

With 12 games to go the Brewers fired Yost. He went to KC and did some of the same frustrating things there that he did here. Yet they stuck with him. Not only did he take them to the World Series he is also has them in first place this season. That after losing their version of Greinke.

So we hired Macha. He was not very in tune with the players who basically got him run out of town. So we hired a player's manager who we got rid of the first sign of trouble. Now on our 4th manager (I'm not counting Sveum. You need to manage more than 15 games to count) we are worse than we were under our first.

Obviously it isn't the manager that was the problem. Yet we keep firing them. At some point shouldn't it occur to Mark Attanasio that the very act of firing might be part of the problem? How does a manager get across to the players they cannot keep making the same stupid mistakes if the manager is the one who gets replaced when they do? How does a manager get players to play the way he needs them to if they can rebel against that way and win? That was what did Macha in. Had we kept Macha and traded anyone who didn't work with him, Fielder and Braun included, would we be in worse shape today? I think not.

Sticking with a manager provides stability while also allowing him to actually lead. You cannot lead men when you are the one who will gets replaced if they don't follow. You cannot lead when players know the manager really does not have the power to enforce what he demands of them. To try and fire your way to find one who can is a fools quest. Seems to me Mark Attanasio may be the biggest of the fools in baseball these days.

There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.
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I think the manager matters a lot less than some do. I still think Yost is a dolt but his team is good enough - so they are winning.

 

I would prefer they get a good manager that is good with the players and understands the modern game...Once that happens, I hope they stick with him but I really don't care about these deck chairs on the Titanic until the real problem of pitching talent and minor league depth is fixed.

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The problem wasn't the manager be it, Yost, RR, or CC.

 

You can't fire the players.

 

I hate to speak ill of the dead, but the problem with this team was the complete lack of any kind of amateur talent evaluation for a decade.

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What were they supposed to do with Yost? We had a couple late season collapses with him already and were going through another. Do you remember his post game pressers the 10-20 days before being fired, he looked like he was ready to cry. Firing 12 games left is rough but if we don't do it and don't make the playoffs he's getting the ax anyway, and rightfully so. What were they supposed to do now? Team had won like 20 out of 100 games. I think giving Craiger a 3 yr deal actually shows they get exactly what you're saying though and don't want a revolving door every season (like say the Marlins).
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The problem wasn't the manager be it, Yost, RR, or CC.

 

You can't fire the players.

 

I hate to speak ill of the dead, but the problem with this team was the complete lack of any kind of amateur talent evaluation for a decade.

 

 

Odorizzi, Brantley, Escobar, Cain beg to differ.

 

The problem was they weren't adequately replaced.

"Dustin Pedroia doesn't have the strength or bat speed to hit major-league pitching consistently, and he has no power......He probably has a future as a backup infielder if he can stop rolling over to third base and shortstop." Keith Law, 2006
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Firing Roenicke was a step in the right direction though.

 

The whole franchise for the most part needs to be upgraded. I like Ray Montgomery's potential. I like Counsell, too

 

I don't think too many people thought firing RRR and hiring Counsell would turn the team around

The David Stearns era: Controllable Young Talent. Watch the Jedi work his magic!
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You cannot lead men when you are the one who will gets replaced if they don't follow. You cannot lead when players know the manager really does not have the power to enforce what he demands of them.

 

I get what you are saying, but I don't know if in today's world of $25MM/year players, the manager will ever be able to be the "field general." If the manager and the superstar are at odds, chances are that superstar will win. The exception to this seems to be the Cardinals, who will get rid of players like Colby Rasmus and Shelby Miller because they don't fit their mold, but that's a mold put in place by the owner and believed throughout the system, not a rule put in place by the manager.

 

So, I guess if the owner has a methodology, and hires a manager to enforce that methodology, the manager will have some element of control (kind of the sargent, not the general). However, if you have an owner who likes picking random names and inputting them into a spreadsheet, expecting the manager to impose the rules to get them to play well together without any real "stick" or "carrot" to dangle, then the person chosen to be the manager isn't really that important, as they are set up for success or failure almost purely based on player performance.

"The most successful (people) know that performance over the long haul is what counts. If you can seize the day, great. But never forget that there are days yet to come."

 

~Bill Walsh

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What were they supposed to do with Yost?

 

Keep him like KC did. It seems to be working out there doesn't it?

What were they supposed to do now?

 

Keep RRR and fire the players who obviously are not playing well enough. If you fail to address the real problem then you cannot expect the real problems to get fixed. This isn't like putting a bandaid on a gunshot wound. It's like sewing your fingers together to close a cut on your foot. It not only doesn't help it actually hurts.

I think giving Craiger a 3 yr deal actually shows they get exactly what you're saying though and don't want a revolving door every season (like say the Marlins).

 

By this time next season Counsell will have less time left on his contract than RRR did when he got fired. That is hardly an indication Mark learned anything about the revolving managerial door.

There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.
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The exception to this seems to be the Cardinals, who will get rid of players like Colby Rasmus and Shelby Miller because they don't fit their mold, but that's a mold put in place by the owner and believed throughout the system, not a rule put in place by the manager.

 

How is that working out for them? I think it just shows what happens when you hold the right people accountable.

There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.
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Good lord. I don't recall anyone saying firing Ron was going to turn everything around and take the Brewers to the playoffs. The problem is that Ron has been pretty terrible his whole time here and his short comings have been pointed out no matter what the team's record was. The organization is better off without him.
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hat were they supposed to do with Yost?

 

Keep him like KC did. It seems to be working out there doesn't it?

 

What were they supposed to do now?

 

Keep RRR and fire the players who obviously are not playing well enough. If you fail to address the real problem then you cannot expect the real problems to get fixed. This isn't like putting a bandaid on a gunshot wound. It's like sewing your fingers together to close a cut on your foot. It not only doesn't help it actually hurts.

 

I think giving Craiger a 3 yr deal actually shows they get exactly what you're saying though and don't want a revolving door every season (like say the Marlins).

 

 

By this time next season Counsell will have less time left on his contract than RRR did when he got fired. That is hardly an indication Mark learned anything about the revolving managerial door.

 

 

So at the time if Yost had been retained and overseen that collapse you would have kept him in the offseason after two straight second half collapses, really? When does someone get fired then? Why isn't Phil Garner still manager, he got Houston to the playoffs, must have been good. Also, you don't think Ned learned from his experience with that and is now an improved manager and leader because of it? And really didn't his teams before last seasaon in KC disappoint every year and had at least one late season collapse. Plus I think they collapsed late last season but squeaked in on the WC, but got hot in the playoffs. One playoff run in 12ish years as manager and it makes up for underachieving every year. I'd expect them to blow it this year too. The guy was basically crying in the post game pressers in 2008.

 

Keep RR and cut/trade all the players huh, why not both, I think his firing was the first step in that. This isn't Tony Larussa, what has he done in his career to have that kind of cache or clout. He made one playoff when he probably should have made 3, at least two. When he made that playoff he completely botched the rotation, CF, and 3B and blew a 1-0 lead in the NLCS, and also almost lost in the NLDS to a vastly inferior DBacks team. I'd generally been a RR defender based on those two seasons where they started slow and were hit by injuries but the teams finished the season hot and were playing hard throughout which led me to believe he was a good motivator and the players respected him. Then the collapse and start this year happened and it seemed the whole team had checked out on him. They showed no fire at all, something had to be going on behind the scenes.

 

3 year deal instead of an interim manager is the point there. Having an interim and the cloud hanging over the season and offseason of who the manager will be was avoided by giving that deal. I think that shows they don't want a revolving door happening.

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I think the problem isn't in who's wearing the manager's jersey, it's that there really isn't any continuity in the system. That has to come from the top. The owner and GM have to make a decision how the team should be built, and they should find people for the organization (players, coaches, scouts, etc) that fit into that system.

 

In the business world, a big buzzword is systematization. Figure out what works, write it down and repeat the process. Make it so simple that the least qualified person can understand it. Build your business to not fail by making sure everyone is working to the same goal using the same process.

 

A good publicized example of this in the baseball world was the A's saying that hitters could not advance through the ranks unless they showed plate discipline. This, I'm sure, was just one piece of their plan. Now, this differs from a team like the Cardinals and Yankees, who seem much more worried about attitude/personal make-up. It's not that there is only one way to do it, it's that the owner/GM have to figure out what their goal is, put the system into place, and build the franchise around that.

 

If the owner/GM do not lay down the groundwork, no manager can be successful.

"The most successful (people) know that performance over the long haul is what counts. If you can seize the day, great. But never forget that there are days yet to come."

 

~Bill Walsh

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I think the problem isn't in who's wearing the manager's jersey, it's that there really isn't any continuity in the system. That has to come from the top. The owner and GM have to make a decision how the team should be built, and they should find people for the organization (players, coaches, scouts, etc) that fit into that system.

.

 

 

They put together a system:

 

Power hitters w/o emphasis on plate discipline. Defensive position doesn't really matter. As long as there is potential for 20-25 HR's a season they'll find a place for them.

 

Prospects they can trade for MLB ready players.

 

Pitchers over the age of 30 with "name-cred" but still affordable via free agency. This is/was a high enough priority to forego a #1 draft pick to make it happen

 

Re-Sign/Extend popular Brewers players

 

Attempt to contend every year

 

Place a priority on ticket sales/emphasis on name players

 

It isn't as if they don't have a system or way of doing things. They have a system. Problem is, the system is incredibly flawed. Potential huge problem is: it is Mark A's system, not Doug Melvin

The David Stearns era: Controllable Young Talent. Watch the Jedi work his magic!
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So at the time if Yost had been retained and overseen that collapse you would have kept him in the offseason after two straight second half collapses, really?

 

First of all he didn't oversee two straight second half collapses. He got fired with 12 games left while the other had more to do with injuires IIRC. Second of all, after seeing him guide a team to the playoffs without collapsing and seeing our team collapse without him, it seems apparent that any supposed collapse probably didn't have much to do with him.

When does someone get fired then?

 

When they are actually the problem.

Why isn't Phil Garner still manager, he got Houston to the playoffs, must have been good.

 

He was. Look what they went through after he left. I think Garner could have done that just as well.

 

Also, you don't think Ned learned from his experience with that and is now an improved manager and leader because of it?

 

Yes I do. Problem is we fired him before he could use those lessons to help us. We then went on with a new manager who had to learn those lessons over again. Once he did he was fired as well. So we got a new manager who learned things then got fired. See the pattern?

And really didn't his teams before last seasaon in KC disappoint every year and had at least one late season collapse. Plus I think they collapsed late last season but squeaked in on the WC, but got hot in the playoffs.

 

No. they went 17-10 in September of 2013 and 16-11 last season. Neither of those Septembers seems like much of a collapse to me. What they did prior to that is hardly relevant because of the stage of development that team was at then.

One playoff run in 12ish years as manager and it makes up for underachieving every year. I'd expect them to blow it this year too. The guy was basically crying in the post game pressers in 2008.

 

You can say underachieving as much as you want but you might want to check on what they actually did before coming to that conclusion. Basing your ideas about him on two collapses that never happened is not really a good way to do it.

Keep RR and cut/trade all the players huh, why not both, I think his firing was the first step in that. This isn't Tony Larussa, what has he done in his career to have that kind of cache or clout.

 

You are right. All he ever did was lead the team to the best record it ever had in his first year as manager. That is hardly an indication that he can actually lead a team.

 

3 year deal instead of an interim manager is the point there. Having an interim and the cloud hanging over the season and offseason of who the manager will be was avoided by giving that deal. I think that shows they don't want a revolving door happening.

 

Then why not give him a deal that would make it impossible to get rid of him? That would probably go a longer way towards telling the players who is next to leave if things don't turn around.

Then the collapse and start this year happened and it seemed the whole team had checked out on him.

 

So instead of holding the guys who actually checked out fire the one who didn't? Makes sense to me.

There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.
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use the quote function instead of italicized, its MUCH easier to read. [qu0te][/qu0te]

Posted: July 10, 2014, 12:30 AM

PrinceFielderx1 Said:

If the Brewers don't win the division I should be banned. However, they will.

 

Last visited: September 03, 2014, 7:10 PM

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Wow, so anyone who won a single division title earns the right to be manager for life in your book?

 

I guess I remembered KC incorrectly the last few seasons, I did not look them up like you did. If I recall he was nearly fired in May last year though, so that hot finish does make sense. Quick look back at the KC years and yea I think the hype in 2011 and 12 was too much and he can't really be judged on those years not producing winners since everyone was so young. The complaint was on how so few of those supposed star hitters were developing, then last year's post season run happened. Did well in 13 and then had the run in 14, pretty much on the right track just without those guys being the stars they were supposed to be.

 

Your remembrance of Ned's last two years is incorrect though. Oversaw a massive collapse in 2007 and was in the process of doing the same in 08 before being let go with 12 games left. That is two straight collapses. As I said, if they didn't make that playoff no doubt he would have been fired after those two collapses and every team would have done the same. So the Brewers said, might as well do it now and see if it helps for the end of the season. You apparently have the longest leash of anyone though.

 

And to the 'learned lessons' point, would he have any incentive to do anything different if he wasn't fired and was told that he'll have a job forever no matter how many times he fails? It could lead to a Kirk Ferentz type situation of perpetual mediocrity in Iowa football. Ned Yost has only made the playoffs once in his career and never won a division. Give him a job for life I guess.

 

Was just grabbing a random old name Garner, by your logic we'd still have trebelhorn or someone from the 80s until they die.

 

Don't get me wrong, I by no means want a marlins type thing going and prefer the stability. I just don't disagree with either of these firings, especially Yost, and don't think 3 managers over 12 years (4 over 15 if Counsell makes at least the 3 he's signed for) is a revolving door situation that you or others (or even I) should think is all that weird. Considering they've only made the playoffs twice you could actually say they're even more conservative than most teams.

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Yost was here for 6 years, Macha for 2, and Roenicke for 4+. That is not a constantly revolving door. It's not like Yost and Roenicke in particular weren't given long leashes.

 

Yost was here for the rebuilding so that number is skewed some but since 2008 when the team got over the hump they have had 4 managers including Sveum.

 

The only spots with stability in this organization have been Reid Nichols (player development) and Doug Melvin... I would actually argue that both of those guys have needed to go for a long time.

 

It's not just from a manager standpoint, look at the revolving door at the all of the coaching positions, there hasn't been stability anywhere.

 

You want to win consistently? That's great... but how do we get there?

 

I think successful organizations, regardless of enterprise or market, have similar qualities:

Are the same principles being pushed and developed at all levels of the organization? Is there a consistent message from day to day, coach (management) to coach (management), level to level, and year to year? Do the coaches (management) believe in that message? Can they teach it? Is there continuity of leadership? Do they get along or are they trying to stand on the shoulders of the person next to them to advance?

 

The Brewers in general have operated in a haphazard manner for the better part of Melvin's tenure, just plugging holes and making moves to appease the fanbase. There has never been a consistent philosophy or discernible plan other than Melvin's mantras which are repeated around here all the time... 1) the object is to be average or better at every position, 2) pitchers are worth more in trade in season, 3) position players are worth more in the off season, and 4) we are always looking to improve our team in season.

 

Honestly, I take issue with all of those as the practical application of every issue has stunk from my point of view. #1 only limits the overall ceiling of the team, they will win games but never be great. #2 & #3 might have been in true in the 90s but I think if you look at when trades have happened over the last 15 years it has more to do with a player's peak trade value than a time of year. #4 just arbitrarily limits the moves the organization is willing to make because what they are really saying is we're looking to buy a short term solution to patch a hole that's popped up since opening day.

 

If you look at the best franchises in baseball over the last 10 years they all have 1 thing in common... stability. The GM, the manager, the coaches, the organization... everyone is moving in a single direction, have been in place for a long time, they know where they are going, and they know how to get there.

 

The players have been the issue from the start, people were complaining about all of the stupid mistakes going all the way back to when the most recent Brewer core was young and learning in MLB in the mid 2000s. The Brewers don't have a plethora of smart baseball players, in truth the Brewers most talented players have been the most frustrating from a mental mistake standpoint. You can make players better in that regard, but you won't "fix" them, they have to be capable of doing that for themselves, and I believe to certain extent decision making under pressure is a gift. Some people are just going to be better than others.

 

The true problems with the Brewers have pretty simple; flawed roster construction and a lack of direction as a franchise, and no "winning as many games as possible each year" isn't direction, it's abstract. That's why every year Melvin targets the previous season's deficiencies and the organization appears to blow with the wind. That's why coaches and managers are continually scapegoated and nothing really changes.

 

Fans generally don't get attached to the coaches but rather to the players, so it's much easier to continually call for the manager's and certain coaches heads than face the reality of the situation. I think it would be easier for people to truly understand if everyone had actually coached for a decade at a level where winning matters. It's pretty easy to "think" you know, but the in my experience the truth is usually much different than the perception.

 

If there is a way to make dumb players smart, soft players tough, and so on I would love to hear to it because I've spent the better part of my adult life listening to the best minds I know debate these issues without any concrete solution. You can help them improve but not change who they are, that has to come from within the athlete and becomes a question of personal motivation.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

- Plato

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

- Plato

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Good post. If the guy you have in place isn't providing that clear direction you desire you can't just leave him in the job forever for the sake of stability though either. I think they're hoping Counsell is their guy for the really long term (Bochy, Scosia, Matheny, etc.) type and that's why they went with him so young. I think they view him as being able to instill that Cardinals style smart approach to the game, it will now just take some time to turn over the players to be that style. Maybe it would be better to pull someone from the Cards but you know what I mean. We'll see I guess, but I think that's what they're hoping for in Counsell. Also, I think they expect a couple lean years coming up so it's good time to let him learn on the job. Maybe they'll sign Gomez and Lucroy and bring in another old 3B next year though and my guess on what they're trying to do will end up being way off.
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I don't think too many people thought firing RRR and hiring Counsell would turn the team around

The clamoring on this board for Roenicke to be fired had been getting louder and louder for about 2.5 years and many were convinced his presence was a major hindrance to the team having any success (like a 71-55 record before the Epic Collapse was sheer luck and ultimately could only have been aberration). If turning the team around wasn't the point of the move, then why the heck did Roenicke's continued presence matter so much to so many, and why fire him?

 

Some here are so averse to Roenicke's good points that they're convinced they never factored in, never mattered at all, and eventually never really ever existed in the first place. Some posters here are convinced that he was purely inept, period, and no matter what evidence to the contrary proved otherwise, there's no way that could ever possibly be right because Roenicke was nothing more than an absolute idiot. He wasn't perfect, but he wasn't all bad, either.... The repetitive rants & endless vitriol are old and the guy's gone. Can we please finally move on?

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I think the problem did not go away when the 'player manager' went away. The Brewers are a laid back, semi-retirement home - and a half way house for young under achievers. This aura infects any player that comes in. The players are very ME FIRST - and DONT PUSH ME - and DONT ANNOY ME with trivial things like performance and accountability.

 

The problem, over the winter was identified, by management, as Mark Reynolds. So he was let go.

 

Upper management and the owners do all they can to keep the spot light off themselves. And they dont want to annoy the players, so the manager will always be the meat in the sandwich - with a side salad of sacrificial lamb... a single fringe player or a bench coach.

 

Our team (players) lack courage, because they are never asked to show it or use it or develop it. The simplest way forward is to grade players on ATTITUDE above all. I mean good attitude. We have too many players with a bad attitude. Sadly, our management have shown that is not a high quality required in the players they sign. So our Brewer-beat will just go on and on and on.

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Yea I never thought RR was terrible or anything, we can nitpick any manager if we want. I really was in his corner as I thought those two late season pushes showed he had the team playing hard no matter. But it just seemed like that 100 games or so the team had completely quit on him, the way it was going they might have lost 115 games and the player body language was brutal. Yes they've now lost several in a row but were doing ok before that and doesn't it seem like they're playing better, not getting blow out as much and the team at least seems engaged. Of course whoever comes in wasn't going to turn this into a winner and who knows what Counsell will be. I just feel like they know they were toast with him and might as well get the next guy to hopefully start changing the culture towards a smarter way of playing is what they're going for.

 

I'm not sure who would have a bad attitude on the team that you speak of. These same guys played their tails of in two other losing seasons after starting slow when they could have given up. Gomez plays his heart out at all times, Ramirez has always been considered a good guy, Lucroy is a pro, you even still see Braun putting his head down trying to beat out infield singles and DP balls when games are out of hand. Everyone always said he was a good team guy before the PED stuff and it would be surprising if he was being a locker room cancer now after that controversy, you'd think he just wants to fit in and not be a story anymore. Segura has always played hard. Davis seems like he cares, he's just not a good OBP guy. Lohse and Garza have been considered good guys wherever they've been. Nelson, Fiers, Peralta all seem to care, especially since they're motivated to prove themselves in order to get paid. I just don't know if it's attitude, I'd say it's more that several of these guys are just getting old and frankly the pitching has just been atrocious.

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He went to KC and did some of the same frustrating things there that he did here. Yet they stuck with him. Not only did he take them to the World Series he is also has them in first place this season. That after losing their version of Greinke.

KC's season was pretty much all because its bullpen was insane. It played EXACTLY into Yost's managerial style: rigid, unchanging player roles. He had his 7th inning guy, 8th inning guy, and closer. Never changed. The thing was, those three guys were unhittable last season, so his strategy worked. He fell into a World Series.

 

On top of that, they shouldn't have even gotten past Wild Card game. The A's pulled a massive choke job.

 

Yost isn't a good manager.

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