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Crew owner: Accountability starts with players

Attanasio says GM, manager not in danger of being dismissed

MILWAUKEE -- Referring to his team's franchise-worst 2-12 start as "brutal," Brewers owner Mark Attanasio defended the decision to keep the core of the team intact following last season's collapse and said it's up to those players to turn the season around. He said definitively that general manager Doug Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke are not in imminent danger of losing their jobs.

"I'm not looking at the manager or the general manager right now," said Attanasio, who later watched the Brewers fall to 2-13 with a 2-1 loss to the Reds at Miller Park.

Attanasio appeared on the field during batting practice Wednesday to get the pulse of a team that entered the day last in the Major Leagues in hitting (.581 OPS), pitching (5.31 ERA) and, most importantly, in victories.

But Attanasio insisted he does not regret his fundamental decision last October, weeks after a 9-22 finish bounced the Brewers from postseason position, to retain most of the team's principal actors. That included Roenicke, who was brought back for a fifth season at the helm and had his 2016 club option exercised during Spring Training.

The Brewers hoped for a repeat of last April, when they were 20-8 at the end of the opening month and held first place in the National League Central through the end of August. Instead, the team's 2015 edition is off to a historically poor start. The Brewers are only the 19th NL team in history to win two or fewer of their first 14 games.

"I had a fan write me a thoughtful letter today and I corresponded with him," Attanasio said. "I understood his pain, because I feel it profoundly. But one thing I disagreed with was that we just made decisions based on hope, we were just hoping for good karma. That's not the case. We did a huge amount of analysis.

"We've got 25 players, virtually every one of them is an established Major Leaguer, and, by my count, all but five are below their career norms. Maybe six, if you want to count [Francisco Rodriguez] in the bullpen, which I count. Frankie is doing fine. But you have 20 of 25 guys below their career norms. That is not what you would expect, because the sport is so analyzable and predictable. What makes a Major League player special is he can perform pretty much the same level year in and year out. So this was not something built on false hope. I believe [the team will be better] if these guys play the way they can, including with the injuries. … We have a lot of people looking at this, a whole team of people looking at this. Most importantly, we have a whole clubhouse of guys who are expecting to play well any day now."

Asked about Roenicke's job status, Attanasio referred to the Brewers' 16-10 loss to the Reds on Tuesday night.

"I know how bad we've played," Attanasio said. "But we're 14 games into the season, and Ron didn't give up two grand slams last night. I think we have to kind of parse through it. Everybody needs to be accountable, but we have to look at what people are responsible for, and then hold them accountable for what they're responsible for. So Ron had Mike [Fiers] pitching, and Mike was still at a point in the game with 70 pitches that he should have been pitching. He needs to execute his pitches better.

"Martin Maldonado took some accountability last night. I liked seeing that. He didn't throw the ball, but he received the ball and he's a guy who hit a home run last night, and he's taking accountability. That's a good thing to see."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy.
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