I wanted to take time in my first post here at Reviewing the Brew to introduce myself and then share my thoughts on the recent hiring of Ron Roenicke and look at the impending free agency period.
First off, I’m Jesse Motiff and I’ll be the new Lead Writer for Reviewing the Brew. I’ve been writing online for about four years now and absolutely love it. It’s given me the opportunity to meet some great writers along the way as well as interview athletes in multiple sports. Baseball, in particular the Milwaukee Brewers, is my true passion in not only sports but writing as well. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on the team with all of you and working with the other talented writers on the site over time to develop the premiere destination for Brewers news and commentary.
The Brewers hired for Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke this week to replace former manager Ken Macha. Roenicke was selected over current White Sox bench coach Joey Cora, former Rangers and Mets manager Bobby Valentine, and former Mariners and Diamondbacks manager, Bob Melvin. Early on Melvin was thought to be the front-runner for the job, then Valentine was reported by many to be the next manager, but in the end, Roenicke gets his first crack at managing a big-league club.
While some view the hiring as a step backwards for the Brewers, I disagree. Roenicke comes from a great system that has produced very good managers. Mike Scioscia has consistently led the Angels to the playoffs since taking over in 2000, including winning the franchises only World Series in 2002. Joe Maddon, Scioscia’s former bench coach, has led the Tampa Bay Rays to the AL East crown two of the last three years, including the team’s only World Series appearance in 2008. Bud Black, yet another disciple of Scioscia, has managed the Padres to two winning seasons over the last four despite not having many resources at his disposal from the management.
Roenicke will bring an aggressive style to a Brewers team that seemed content to play station-to-station ball under Macha. The 2011 Brewers will steal more bases, and utilize both the hit-and-run and sacrifice plays far more than the previous two seasons. This could also be an indication that Prince Fielder is on his way out of Milwaukee. I’ll get into that more over the coming weeks.
The Brewers also declined club options on Trevor Hoffman, Doug Davis, and Gregg Zaun this past week. Hoffman lost his job as closer thanks to his inability to finish games over the first two months of the season. He bounced back with a strong final two months of the year, but John Axford had established himself as the present and future closer for the team. Davis and Zaun had their seasons torn apart by injuries, which made the team’s decision quite easy to let them go.
Now that Roenicke is in place as manager and Dale Sveum will return as hitting coach, it’s time for Doug Melvin and the rest of the front office to focus on filling out the coaching staff and addressing the needs of the ballclub: specifically adding more (quality) starting pitchers.
That will also be the focus of much of what I will write about in the coming weeks. Despite falling short of many people’s expectations in 2010, the Brewers can very easily change their fortunes around for 2011, but time is short, there’s only 100 days to go until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training.
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