MILWAUKEE — The Brewers’ youth movement is carrying over to the front office.
Milwaukee hired 30-year-old David Stearns on Monday to take over as general manager. Stearns replaces Doug Melvin, a baseball lifer who announced last month he was stepping down following a 13-year tenure.
Stearns had been with the Houston Astros, where he was in his third season as an assistant to GM Jeff Luhnow. Stearns’ responsibilities included overseeing player evaluations, scouting and analytics.
He was also director of baseball operations in Cleveland for two seasons and spent three years working in the commissioner’s office.
"His experience is quite impressive. The fact that he was able achieve all that at a comparatively young age is … testament to his work ethic and his drive," owner Mark Attanasio said.
Stearns starts his new job on Oct. 5, the day after the season ends for Milwaukee. Melvin, as expected, will stay with the franchise as an adviser.
The Brewers are remaking their roster during a disappointing season that has left them at or near the bottom of the NL Central. Stearns will be younger than some of his new players, including 31-year-old outfielder Ryan Braun and 33-year-old closer Francisco Rodriguez.
"Trust me, I’ve had plenty of text messages over the last 24 hours that I will age tremendously," Stearns said with a smile.
Luhnow wished Stearns success in his new job. Stearns was with the Astros when Milwaukee traded veterans Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers before the July 31 trade deadline for four minor leaguers including outfield prospects Domingo Santana and Brett Phillips.
"David is a talented baseball executive and was a very valuable part of the Astros organization," Luhnow said. "They are fortunate to have him."
A 2007 graduate of Harvard University, Stearns said part of his vision for the Brewers was for the organization "to be industry leaders and employ best practices."
His philosophy and approach to build a successful club wasn’t a secret, he said, involving acquiring and developing you talent while being competitive at the major league level.
"You can’t build a team through free agency," Stearns said.
He had not even found his office when he was officially introduced Monday. But Stearns did have time to speak to manager Craig Counsell on Sunday night.
Stearns gave every impression that Counsell, who was hired in May on a three-year contract to replace the fired Ron Roenicke, would stay on.
"I think given that Craig is who he is, that was not a hindrance," Stearns said, "it was probably an attractive part of (this) job."
The youthful-looking Counsell turned 45 in August. In Chicago, where the Brewers were starting a three-game series on Monday against the Cubs, Counsell pointed to Stearns’ poise and experience when asked about his incoming boss’ age.
The unified goal is to build the Brewers back up quickly.
"We have to get it right. It has to be airtight, how we do things," Counsell said at Wrigley Field. "It has to be airtight how David and I work together."
Stearns was among about 44 candidates considered by the Brewers. Attanasio declined to name the other finalists, except for Pirates director of player personnel Tyrone Brooks. Minority candidates other than Brooks were also considered.
Attanasio said by Friday the search committee started leaning toward Stearns. A native of New York City and a Mets supporter while growing up, the lifelong baseball fan now heads up his own organization.
Stearns was steadfast in his belief the Brewers could return to the playoffs for the first time since 2011, though stopped short of offering a specific timeline.
"I would . . . not have come here if I didn’t think it was possible to win a World Series in Milwaukee," Stearns said.