Friday, May 8, 2015

Ron Gardenhire, Craig Counsell and the Brewers job

Craig Counsell (right), in his first week as Milwaukee
manager, chats with outfielder Ryan Braun during batting
practice after taking the job.
Ron Gardenhire made it known last month that he wants to get back into a managerial job somewhere, and when the Milwaukee Brewers reacted to their poor April by firing Ron Roenicke on Sunday night Gardy was quickly linked to the new vacancy.

And then the Brewers filled the vacancy with internal candidate Craig Counsell.

I wasn't buying the notion that Gardenhire "fit Milwaukee like bratwurst in a bun," the phrase Scott Miller of Bleacher Report/TBS Sports used in a tweet. Three names: Carlos Gomez, Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza. Those are three key players on the Milwaukee roster who played for Gardenhire in Minnesota and clashed with him in one way or another. In each case, somebody had to leave town, and at the time it wasn't Gardenhire.

I'm not saying it's impossible for Gardy and those players to co-exist. I would think it better not to conduct that chemistry experiment a month into a season that has already gone sour.

As for Counsell: The former major league infielder is the latest in the wave of no-experience-required managerial hires. A substantial proportion of today's skippers never managed on any level before landing their current jobs. In the Al Central alone, there's Brad Ausmus (Detroit), Paul Molitor (Minnesota) and Robin Ventura (White Sox). This trend intrigues me, and I continue to regard it as a manifestation of the increased control front offices are exerting over managers.

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