It could be several months before the Milwaukee Brewers know who their next general manager will be. What is known is that Doug Melvin will not be back for a 14th season as the team's top decision-maker.
The process officially began this week of moving Melvin into an advisory role. This allows for the Brewers to begin a search for a GM.
Based on the comments of principal owner Mark Attanasio, it’s clear what the Brewers are looking for, both in terms of the next person in charge and of the franchise’s turnaround window. Attanasio prefers a younger candidate who has vast knowledge of analytics. He would also prefer that Milwaukee is contending again in two or three years, rather than in five.
That should rule out recently fired 59-year-old Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski. It could, however, include Jerry Dipoto, the 47-year-old who resigned in July as general manager of the Los Angeles Angels. Dipoto’s departure from the Angels reportedly centered around his strong belief in analytics-based decision-making, which conflicted with the way manager Mike Scioscia wanted to run the team on a day-to-day basis.
Whether it’s Dipoto, a different external candidate or Brewers amateur scouting director Ray Montgomery, Attanasio doesn’t want to see a Chicago Cubs or Houston Astros type of rebuild. Both of those rebuilding projects took five years.
The Astros had five consecutive losing seasons (including three straight years of 106-plus losses) before being able to enjoy this year’s first-place club – and what should be several more upcoming seasons of success. Similarly, the Cubs haven’t had a winning season since 2009 but are now poised to be very good for at least the next five years under the guidance of Theo Epstein.
The non-waiver trade deadline deals made by Melvin were in line with the timeline handed down by Attanasio. A proposed Carlos Gomez trade with the New York Mets would have netted the Brewers two major-league players: infielder Wilmer Flores and pitcher Zack Wheeler. When that got nixed, Melvin went for players who were already at Double-A and Triple-A – a package headlined by top prospect outfielders Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana, rather than players who were further away from being MLB-ready.
While the Brewers look ahead and speculation begins about who will run the club next, Melvin’s contributions in 13 seasons as Milwaukee’s general manager shouldn’t be forgotten. Those accomplishments include:
- Melvin took over a team that had 106 losses in 2002. The Brewers hadn’t been better than a .500 record since 1992. Milwaukee hadn’t won its division or been to the playoffs since 1982.
- By Melvin’s fourth season as GM, the Brewers were a .500 club (81-81 record).
- Milwaukee had back-to-back winning seasons in 2007 and 2008.
- The Brewers ended their postseason drought in 2008 with a 90-72 record.
- Milwaukee won its division in 2011. It was the first time the team had done so since 1982, back when they were in the American League East.
- The Brewers also won a playoff series in 2011 by beating the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was the first postseason series victory since 1982.
- Melvin was voted by Baseball America as the 2011 Major League Executive of the Year.
- Melvin made several huge trades. He acquired CC Sabathia, Zack Greinke, Carlos Gomez, Carlos Lee and Francisco Rodriguez, among others.
- Melvin signed big-name closers Trevor Hoffman (2009) and Eric Gagne (2007).