Brewers relieve Roenicke of duties
Counsell named new manager, gets three-year deal
MILWAUKEE -- Winning back-to-back games for the first time this season was not enough to save Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, who was dismissed late Sunday, with the team holding Major League Baseball's poorest record at 7-18.
Former Brewers player Craig Counsell, who has no coaching experience but played parts of 16 Major League seasons and had been working in the team's front office since 2012, was named manager on Monday, having signed a three-year contract. General manager Doug Melvin said the rest of Milwaukee's coaching staff had been asked to remain.
The Brewers are hosting a 10:30 a.m. CT news conference Monday at Miller Park.
"I had to look at this over the past 100 games, and the lack of winning that we've had," said Melvin, who indicated the decision was made before the Brewers won consecutive games in Chicago on Saturday and Sunday. "At that point, I felt we weren't playing consistent enough baseball, and recently here, the last few games [as Milwaukee won three of four], I don't know why this couldn't have happened earlier, but whatever.
"He was disappointed, but Ron is a professional. He's done good work here in the past. It basically comes down to the losses in the last 100 games."
The Brewers are 38-66 over their last 104 games dating to last season. They lost their first seven series in 2015 before taking two of three games from the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Melvin told Roenicke of the organization's decision in a face-to-face meeting at Miller Park on Sunday night. Roenicke was stunned by the timing of the change.
"I told Doug I wished it would have happened a week ago," Roenicke said. "I would have understood it better then."
Roenicke had managed Milwaukee since 2011, when the team won the National League Central with a franchise-record 96 victories, won a postseason series for the first time in 29 years and played to within two wins of the World Series. The Brewers have missed the postseason each year since, including in 2014 when they spent 150 days in first place, but lost 22 of the final 31 games of the regular season.
In October, Melvin and principal owner Mark Attanasio opted to retain Roenicke for 2015, the final guaranteed season of his contract. On March 19, the team exercised Roenicke's option for 2016 to remove the appearance of "lame duck" status.
"In Spring Training, we thought it was the right thing to do, to give Ron the chance," Melvin said. "I get criticized for being too patient, giving people too long a rope. [News outlets including MLB.com] have printed that you thought we should have made changes last year. We gave every opportunity we could to the team and to Ron to play better baseball."
Asked whether he felt he'd done everything in his power to discover the source of the Brewers' struggles and correct them, Roenicke said, "Yeah, I did. Like I told Doug, I feel as bad as anybody that last year happened and the beginning of this year, that I couldn't get the guys going.
"I understand that it's my responsibility whether I did a good job or not. I feel like I did everything I could do, but it's still the responsibility of the manager to get this thing right."
But things went wrong from the start of this season. The Brewers lost their first four games of the season and 13 of their first 15. Attanasio was in Milwaukee during the team's last homestand to get the pulse of the team, and he said at the time that Roenicke's and Melvin's jobs were safe.
"I was hoping we would get off to at least a .500 start, a couple games under .500," Melvin said. "But going into this weekend, we had five wins in almost an entire month. That kind of start is very tough to have coming off of last year."