If you have followed this blog over the last 18 months, you would know that I have been very hard on the general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, one Doug Melvin. I have blamed Melvin for the mess that the Brewers are in, claiming him to be a bad GM who doesn’t know how to run a small market baseball team.
The more I examine the situation, the more I begin to realize that maybe he isn’t the problem. After all, he is a baseball professional, he does understand that although each has their own philosophy and way to run a baseball team, there are certain decisions that a team can make that are widely accepted to be, plain and simply put, stupid and any baseball man knows to simply not do these things. Many of the moves the Brewers have made the last handful of years are considered by the baseball world to be just plain stupid. Emptying your farm for one magical season is considered to be stupid. Signing a pitcher in late March and giving up your first round draft choice in the process is considered to be just plain stupid. Signing a player to a long term contract extension when he is already under team control for the next half a decade with any arbitration even being involved pretty much takes the stupid cake.
I started to think about this for a while and I thought to myself, no GM, no matter how bad they are, could possibly be this dumb. Then I began to think. Maybe it’s not him. After all, it is widely known the owner of the Brewers, Mark Attanasio, does make himself very “available” to the Brewers front office when it comes to personnel decision making. Now that I think about it, maybe it’s not Doug Melvin. After all, no baseball professional could possibly be make these moves and still call himself a professional. Maybe the finger can be pointed at Mark Attanasio, who appears to be one of these owners who think that simply spending money and resources will equal success.
Think back the 2008 season. Yeah, the Brewers first postseason appearance in 25 years. They had a crop of players who stock couldn’t possibly be any higher. I believe now that Doug Melvin was ready to trade some of those players. I believe he was ready to show Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Carlos Villanueva, Bill Hall, and Rickie Weeks the door while their stock was at all time high. Believe me when I tell you this, I was just as informed of what was going on then as I am now, Melvin could have gotten the world for that bunch I just listed. After all, any common sense baseball man would be prepared to do just that. However I feel that Attanasio may have stepped in and said “no, you are not doing that. I want to win now”.
In reality though, you know how these small market teams win? They don’t win by spending money; they win by having a pair of core players, an ace pitcher, and a franchise position player, on the roster, and using a deep farm to continually supply the rest of the roster with talent. Don’t tell me you can’t rely on young players come September. Other small market teams do it all the time and they have no issue with it.