In a move that was neither surprising nor buzz-worthy, the Milwaukee Brewers and Ken Macha parted ways on Monday. After a meeting over coffee, according to the Milwaukee Brewers website, GM Doug Melvin told Macha that the club was declining his option.
Apparently, he even helped Macha pack up his stuff before he headed out of town. It's about what I expected to happen after a team goes 157-167 in two years, with consecutive third place finishes in the NL Central.
The best thing that can be said about Ken Macha's tenure as manager is that it wasn't the worst. He inherited a team whose brightest spot in the bullpen was the place where CC Sabathia used to sit. He had few options in picking his own staff and a payroll saddled by poor choices, lackluster signings, and few minor league options.
The worst thing about Ken Macha's tenure is that those problems were glaring for two whole seasons, and there did not seem to be any commitment to changing them. This year the Brewers boasted a fairly potent offense, ending in the top 10 in slugging percentage, doubles, triples, home runs, and hits.
The Milwaukee pitching staff was ultimately the downfall, though it should be mentioned they actually improved their ERA this season. It went all the way up to 4.58 this season, good enough for 26th place in the Majors this year. So no one can honestly place all of the blame on Ken Macha.
However, it is the managers job to put the pieces together to give their team the best chance to win, and Macha simply did not do this job for two years. He can be commended, I suppose, for sticking with players in a tough spot, like Trevor Hoffman and Manny Parra, but fans would probably prefer that the best people hit the field every day.
You could argue that Macha's brand of station-to-station offense is a good way to deal with a power-hitting team like this year's Brew Crew, but he maybe should have taken more risks on the base path because his pitchers were getting battered worse than Apollo Creed in Rocky IV.
That was the situation Milwaukee under Ken Macha. Little problems became big
problems because nothing seemed to change game to game, week to week, or season
Now change is here, sort of. Doug Melvin needs to pick a new skipper, and he seems set to take his time on this one. No one is really talking about replacement candidates, though bench coach Willie Randolph seems to be the de-facto favorite.
I would have an issue with Randolph taking the helm, as he was the manager in what was arguably the greatest implosion of a division leader in Major League history, the 2007 Mets.
Whoever does take the job is inheriting a fairly young, talented offensive team that has plenty of issues to work out, but also a ton of potential. The next Brewers manager may not have big shoes to fill, but certainly has a steep hill to climb.