Brewer fans were served a side of devastation with their morning coffee as David Stearns announced he would be stepping down to transition to an advisory role. General Manager Matt Arnold will be taking over and leading the Brewers in their quest to return to the postseason. Here are three things Arnold needs to do right away as the transition begins.
The Matt Arnold era has begun as David Stearns steps aside. With a roster ready to compete, Matt Arnold needs to make these 3 moves to start his tenure strong.
1. Extend Craig Counsell
Craig Counsell is one of the best managers working in the game right now. He knows when to push the right buttons, and his decisions work more often than not. Counsell is entering the final year of his contract, and would have no problem finding work as a manager elsewhere if his contract were to expire.
Extending Counsell would affirm that the Brewers are still committed to winning and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. At the introductory press conference, Arnold said it was unlikely there would be any changes to the Major League staff, but an extension should be a clear priority.
2. Extend Corbin Burnes or Brandon Woodruff
The Brewers current ‘competitive window’ remains open as long as Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes are on the team. At this moment, both are under contract through the 2024 season. Given their past performances, and the rising cost of elite pitching in the free agent market, every minute that goes by without an extension raises the price.
By extending one, the Brewers would lock in their rotation again, and would have a dominant top-3 or 4 locked up again. A rotation of Freddy Peralta, Aaron Ashby, and Corbin Burnes/Brandon Woodruff would once again extend the window and ensure the Brewers remain competitive.
3. Push for More Payroll Flexibility
The Brewers have a good organization framework established, but in order to remain competitive the team will have to spend more money. Extending Brandon Woodruff or Corbin Burnes would raise the payroll; however, the team needs to do more than just that. With the Cardinals’ front office committing to increasing payroll, the Brewers will have to do so as well.
Arnold may not be able to march into Attanasio’s office and demand a blank check, but he needs to communicate with ownership and continue to push for more spending so an $8.5 million contract isn’t as much of a ‘stretch‘.
Ultimately while Stearns leaving stings, there shouldn’t be much of an organizational change. Arnold was Stearns’ right-hand man for seven seasons, and there likely won’t be much shakeup in the club’s infrastructure right now.
By accomplishing these 3 things however, Arnold can affirm his commitment to fielding a competitive team, and playing competitive baseball in Milwaukee for years to come.