MILWAUKEE -- As speculation swirls about his future, David Stearns says he’s not a candidate for any openings with other clubs.
“I’m just going to reiterate what I said previously: I’m not going anywhere,” Stearns told MLB.com on Friday. “I’m committed to advising Mark [Attanasio, Milwaukee’s principal owner] and [general manager Matt Arnold] in any way I can. And that’s that.”
Stearns’ name was on the hot stove after the Astros and GM James Click parted ways on Friday, less than a week after Houston won the World Series. That fueled lots of chatter about 37-year-old Stearns, who stepped down as the Brewers' president of baseball operations on Oct. 28 and moved into an advisory role. His contract with the club runs through the end of the 2023 season, and everything indicates he will remain with the club for the duration of that term.
Given his reputation in the industry after helping the Brewers complete a rapid rebuild that led to four consecutive postseason appearances and a pair of National League Central titles in 2019 and '21, Stearns has long been a target of clubs in larger markets. That is part of the reason he received multiple promotions after beginning his tenure in Milwaukee with the title of general manager.
Stearns has long been connected to the Mets because he grew up in Manhattan as a fan of the team. But he is just as logical a fit in Houston, since he was the Astros’ assistant GM before the Brewers hired him in September 2015. Stearns’ wife, Whitney, is also from Houston.
In a brief chat on Friday afternoon, Stearns declined to comment specifically about the Astros or any other club. But he echoed what he said last month: He is rooted in Milwaukee for the foreseeable future.
“I understand people want to know what comes next, and the truth is I don’t know,” Stearns said after announcing the decision to step down. “I think a segment of my generation -- and I will certainly put myself in this group -- is inflicted with a condition where we feel like every single thing must be planned out. Decision A must lead to Decision B which must lead to Decision C. In this case, I’m making Decision A because I think it’s the right thing to do. I don’t know what Decisions B and C will be, but I know that Decision A is the right thing to do for me. I’m very much looking forward to doing what I can for Matt, and I’m going to enjoy that. I’m also going to enjoy having some time away.”
Attanasio was asked several times what would happen if another team called to request permission to interview Stearns before his contract was up, and he declined to discuss hypotheticals.
“That hasn’t been part of the conversation,” Attanasio said Oct. 28. “What’s been very much part of the conversation [is] his desire to assist us in a transition, his desire to take some time for himself -- for the first time really in, depending on how you want to measure it, 11 or 15 years -- his desire to still be part of the fabric and community of Milwaukee. That sort of makes this a win-win insofar as we get some very good guidance from David, and Matt Arnold has absolutely earned an opportunity to lead something.”
When pressed again about how he’d respond if another team asked to speak to Stearns, Attanasio said, “The arrangement does not anticipate that."
Does Stearns ultimately see his future in baseball?
“I love baseball,” Stearns said. “Baseball has been an enormous part of my life, and I anticipate that it will continue to be an enormous part of my life. In what capacity I think remains to be seen. I think that could be anything from being a fan -- a really passionate fan -- to one day working again in a senior leadership position. I’m not really going to close any doors, but I know this is the right time to exhale a little bit.”
And that’s what Stearns has done in the past two weeks. He plans to spend the winter in Milwaukee with his wife and two young girls.
“He’s doing great,” Arnold said on Wednesday at the GM Meetings. “I’m excited to continue to partner with him as long as he wants to continue advising. He’s still going to be a great resource. We have a great group of people here and I’m just excited to be a part of it.”