Melvin mulling Roenicke's status as manager
Brewers GM is taking his time to evaluate the entire coaching staff after disappointing finish
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers general manager Doug Melvin made the local sports radio rounds on Tuesday to explain why he will wait at least a week to make decisions about the status of manager Ron Roenicke and his coaching staff.
"We just want to take some time here and let the emotions -- as you can tell from everybody, the emotions of not a bad season, but a bad ending, takes charge here," Melvin said on 620-AM WTMJ, the Brewers' flagship. "You've got to wait until the emotions calm down on a lot of things. Then, you sit down and look at some of the issues with the club, and we'll determine [Roenicke's status] at that particular time. A lot of things will be determined over the next week or so. Like I say, I have to take a step back and look at a number of things."
Roenicke is under contract through the end of next season with an option for 2016, but he is on the hot seat after overseeing a six-week collapse at the end of the season. The Brewers lost 22 of their final 31 games and, according to STATS LLC, became only the fifth team in the last 44 seasons to spend at least 150 days in first place and miss the postseason.
Melvin declined to share a specific timeline for a decision on the field staff, but he said on Saturday that he had previous plans to visit the Brewers' new Triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs this week, followed by a check-in with the instructional league operation in Phoenix. After that, he will travel to Los Angeles for meetings next week with principal owner Mark Attanasio.
Roenicke also lives in Southern California. He had conversations with Melvin on Sunday and again on Monday. Melvin also spoke to the coaching staff as a group at Miller Park before Sunday's season finale.
"I know sports is all about the blame game," Melvin said later on 1250-AM WSSP. "Everybody is looking to blame people, everybody is looking to fire people. I don't look at it that way. I try to look at it and identify the problems. There's enough numbers out there, statistics, you could blame anybody you want. I think there were some performance issues with our players this year."
In both appearances, Melvin distanced himself somewhat from a comment on Saturday related to the motivation of certain players, when he said, "I want to find out who cares about winning and losing in the clubhouse. If there are guys in there that don't care about winning then they probably won't be there."
Asked on WSSP whether he really believed some players didn't care, Melvin said, "That goes back to emotions. You get ticked off at certain times when you see how your team is playing, and you sometimes wonder that. I made an emotional comment. I don't doubt the work that our players put in, and Ron and our coaching staff worked extremely hard. Working hard is the one thing; getting the message through to guys where they accept it is another thing. ... I need to look at [player motivation], and it may be a small issue, but I don't think it was a major issue."
If Melvin broke new ground on the radio on Tuesday, it was in response to a WTMJ question about Roenicke's super-aggressive style on the basepaths.
"He did pull back," Melvin told WTMJ. "We had discussions about not being as aggressive if we were having players make too many mistakes, and that did happen. The biggest flaw in what we went through here at the end was our offense. Our Nos. 3 and 4 hitters had one home run and five RBIs the entire month of September. You're not going to score a lot of runs if your 3-4 hitters have that kind of offensive production for an entire month. Matt Clark, a September callup, had three home runs, which was the most in the month of September from our ballclub. There were a lot of offensive issues there. The mistakes stand out more when you're not scoring runs.
"But Ron did pull back a little bit as we sat down and talked about it over the course of the year. So we weren't quite as aggressive as we had been earlier on, and the reason for that was we were struggling to score runs. If we were struggling to score runs, then we couldn't afford to make mistakes on the bases."