The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reports that the Brewers will name Pat Murphy their new manager, taking over for Counsell (and, presumably, maintaining as much continuity on the coaching staff as was possible under these circumstances).
Brewers expected to name Pat Murphy their new manager, sources tell @TheAthletic. Murphy, Craig Counsell’s former coach at Notre Dame and his bench coach in Milwaukee from 2015 to ‘23, would become his rival in the NL Central.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 14, 2023
All along, Matt Arnold said Murphy would be strongly considered for this job. Yet, this feels (in a small, strange way) surprising. Institutional memory is good. Murphy will be able to implement many of the routines and systems that made Counsell so successful, and the staff is likely to be happier with him as their new leader than they would have been with most potential external hires. It's just that, given the circumstances and the fact that he was the only member of last year's coaching staff not to sign a new deal last month, Murphy going with Counsell to Chicago felt somewhat likely.
Instead, the baseball lifer is now getting his first full-fledged chance to manage in the majors. Murphy will turn 65 later this month, and has been coaching and managing at various levels of collegiate and professional ball for four decades. He never made the big leagues as a catcher, but now, he gets the big chair for an MLB team for the first time, at an advanced age. This move is an interesting echo of the Phillies' elevation of Rob Thomson from bench coach to manager (a first gig for him) in the middle of 2022. Thomson is only 60, so this is even more unusual, but it's in the same vein. It certainly worked for Thomson and the Phillies.
As Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel beat reporter Todd Rosiak noted, Murphy's was the only name Arnold actually said publicly during the brief search for a new skipper after Counsell, er, skipped town.
Pat Murphy was the only name Brewers GM Matt Arnold publicly mentioned during the week-long search. https://t.co/MzAk2Ob4r3— Todd Rosiak (@Todd_Rosiak) November 14, 2023
Now that we know this is happening, it's possible to reframe the decision he made not to sign a new deal for 2024, as the other coaches on staff did. Maybe Murphy knew he would have a shot at this job, instead, and wanted to ensure some leverage for himself in that process. Whatever the case, the Brewers have chosen to preserve a significant level of cohesion and familiarity in their dugout, even without the man who was most visible and familiar to Brewers fans for almost a decade.
In doing so, though, they're certainly going a different way than they did when they fired Ron Roenicke and hired Counsell. That was a move to install a young, forward-thinking baseball person from within the ranks of their front office. Murphy is an old-school baseball man. Let's watch closely whom they hire as his bench coach. It might be that they're hoping to groom another Counsell, but didn't yet feel comfortable turning to any of the people they view as that caliber of managerial prospect.
UPDATE: According to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, Rickie Weeks will be Murphy's bench coach. It feels an awful lot like they're grooming Weeks, the former second baseman and fan favorite, as the next in line. Weeks would be the Counsell-type hire for whom more Brewers fans were hoping, and his inclusion on the staff probably tells us something about the team's plans for the rest of this winter.
A source confirmed to MLB dot com @Ken_Rosenthal's report that the Brewers are finalizing plans to promote Pat Murphy to manager. It's expected they will name former Milwaukee infielder Rickie Weeks to fill Murphy's former spot on the staff. The club has not confirmed.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) November 14, 2023
Was this the hire you were hoping for? Let's react and break down Murphy's promotion, in the comments. This offseason should be an interesting one.
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