The Milwaukee Brewers have officially made changes to their big league coaching staff, and they were the expected ones.
It was reported about a week ago that Brewers bullpen coach Steve Karsay was going to be stepping down from his role to spend more time with his family. Immediately, Brewers Triple-A pitching coach and former closer Jim Henderson became the obvious candidate for the open position.
Also, it was reported at the time the Brewers were considering High-A Wisconsin’s manager Matt Erickson for a role on the coaching staff.
Now, both men have been hired.
Jim Henderson, 39, has been a pitching coach in the organization for the past four years, and spent the last two in Triple-A. His experience pitching out of the bullpen in a Brewers uniform should be extremely valuable in his new role in Milwaukee.
Matt Erickson, 46, had a cup of coffee with Milwaukee in 2004 and has been a coach or manager for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers since 2009. Erickson, a former utility infielder, will also be the Brewers infield coach, which makes sense. It’s been reported by MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy that Erickson’s job priority will be as infield coach over being assistant hitting coach. Given the Brewers already have two hitting coaches, it’s easier to have Erickson focus on infield defense over hitting.
Craig Counsell now has 11 people on his coaching staff for his 26 man roster. Several are former Brewers players, including Erickson, Henderson, first base coach Quintin Berry, bullpen catcher Adam Weisenburger (minors only), and of course Counsell himself.
Now, of course, the Brewers have two openings for coaches in their minor league system. The Triple-A pitching coach should be highly coveted and Milwaukee has a number of candidates on the farm. Nick Childs was the pitching coach in Double-A Biloxi in 2021 and could get a look, as could Wisconsin’s pitching coach Hiram Burgos, another former player.
Milwaukee hired Patrick McGuff recently as a MiLB coach and as a former pitcher, he’s likely to be a pitching coach in the organization, but Triple-A might be an aggressive assignment for him in his first season. McGuff could backfill a pitching coach job in the lower levels for whoever does get promoted up the chain.
As for the manager job with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, that job may not have as many obvious candidates. Perhaps one of the assistant coaches from last year could get the nod, either Burgos or hitting coach Nick Stanley. Perhaps Joe Ayrault could get promoted from managing Low-A Carolina back up to High-A, which is where he was before MiLB’s realignment. Perhaps Rafael Neda, who managed the Arizona Brewers, will get a crack at it.
There’s also a chance they hire someone currently outside the organization to fill those minor league coaching spots.
Congratulations to Jim Henderson and Matt Erickson on their promotions to the big league coaching staff. They’ve spent pretty much their entire careers with the organization and it’s good to see them rewarded for it.