Brewers extend contracts of Melvin, Roenicke
After the Milwaukee Brewers announced contract extensions for
general manager Doug Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke on Tuesday,
principal owner Mark Attanasio admitted to glancing at a few fan
comments questioning why the team would hand out votes of
confidence in the team’s leadership after such a shaky start to the
In a way, those lofty fan expectations could be seen as an
indication of just how high the Brewers have set the bar under the
leadership of Melvin and Roenicke. Before Melvin’s arrival in 2002,
a 12-17 start to the season wouldn’t raise many eyebrows for a
small-market franchise with humble goals.
Now the Brewers expect to contend for a division title and the
playoffs every year. And after a slow start, Attanasio said, the
levelheaded leadership of Melvin and Roenicke will lead them back
”Of course, there’s always going to be the fan that says,
`Well, how could you extend those guys now?”’ Attanasio said.
”Well, it’s precisely now, precisely when you need calm,
Melvin’s new deal runs through the 2015 season. Roenicke’s
contract will go through 2014 with a club option for 2015.
Melvin was under contract through 2012 in Milwaukee after
signing an extension in 2008. Roenicke previously was signed
through the 2012 season with a club option for 2013.
Attanasio noted that Melvin has built a team that made the
playoffs two of the past four years; when Melvin took over at the
end of the 2002 season, the Brewers were on their way to 56 wins.
And Attanasio pointed out that Roenicke led the Brewers to a
franchise-record 96 wins in his first year as manager, taking
control and setting the right tone.
”You have to reward that,” Attanasio said. ”But more
importantly, you want to secure that talent for the organization,
for the community, so that we can continue to have success here
over the next several seasons.”
Melvin said his goals when he arrived in Milwaukee were
”When I first took this job, I said my goal was to have a team
that was more popular than the sausage race,” he said, a reference
to the team’s well-known on-field entertainment.
Melvin and Roenicke were thankful to Attanasio and the team, but
both were more concerned about straightening out the Brewers’ rough
”We’ve still got a lot of things to accomplish, too,” Melvin
said. ”Last year was exciting, but we’ve got to keep the momentum
going and still reach the goals that we want to reach, and that’s
to bring a championship here.”
Roenicke said his contract situation wasn’t any kind of
distraction, but was thankful to have it wrapped up.
”It’s nice, because my focus needs to be on what we’re doing
here, what we’re trying to accomplish, and get through this time
when we’re not playing well,” Roenicke said.
Attanasio sat in on a monthly meeting that included Melvin,
Roenicke and other members of the team’s front office Tuesday, and
noted that the tone wasn’t any different than it was when he
attended a similar meeting during spring training.
”Neither guy gets too high or too low, and that’s important
now,” Attanasio said. ”This is a time to be low.”
Roenicke said the meeting was a chance for everybody in the
organization to take a look at the team’s position.
”We want to make sure that this team is competitive for a long
time, not just last year,” Roenicke said. ”We need to figure out
this year, and we need to figure out what’s happening in the next
few years, and make sure that what we’re doing, we’re heading in
the right direction.”
The Brewers lost Prince Fielder to free agency in the offseason,
a move they fully expected. What the Brewers didn’t expect was a
pair of significant knee injuries to everyday players in the first
month of the season; first baseman Mat Gamel and shortstop Alex
Gonzalez, both of whom are likely to miss the remainder of the
season with torn right ACLs.
While there isn’t a likely big trade coming in the short term,
Attanasio said he can’t foresee the Brewers becoming a selling team
at the trade deadline – even if he couldn’t rule it out
”The only circumstance where we’d even consider a thing like
that is where there was no chance of winning,” Attanasio said.
”And this team’s too good to be in that position.”
Attanasio called Melvin a ”terrific mentor” who has helped him
learn the inner workings of the game after he became an owner.
”I was a baseball fan, and I played Rotisserie baseball back to
1983 or `84, I was in leagues,” Attanasio said. ”And then I got
to the Major Leagues, as they say, and I found out how much I
didn’t know. And Doug has been a marvelous mentor from the start,
I’ve really learned a lot.”
Reigning NL MVP Ryan Braun said having continuity at the top of
the organization was encouraging, and could help the team attract
players down the road.
”For both those guys, it’s well-deserved,” Braun said. ”I’m
excited to see everybody else has recognized that. They’ve
obviously been instrumental in the success we’ve had to this point,
being a smaller, mid-market team and going to the playoffs two of
the last four years and finding a way to get three million people
to come watch us play every year. Those guys deserve as much credit
as anybody that’s playing on the field.”