Brewers exercise 2016 club option on manager Roenicke
Instead of having their skipper enter the season as a lame duck, the Milwaukee Brewers have exercised the club option for 2016 on manager Ron Roenicke.
There was some question about whether Roenicke would return in 2015 after the Brewers lost 22 of their final 31 games in 2014 to become just the fourth team since 1969 to miss the postseason after leading a division for at least 150 days.
However, teams rarely allow managers to enter the final year of their contracts, as the lame duck status brings potential issues.
"You never want to go there," Roenicke said. "It’s not comfortable. Especially when I concentrate so much on what I do with my job, and I don’t want to have to answer questions about the personal side of it. So this is really good for me.
"Those guys in there, they’re concerned about everything that goes on. So anytime we can make things sail smoother, then it’s great."
Roenicke is 335-313 in four seasons as manager of the Brewers, as Milwaukee has finished with a winning record in three of his four years in charge.
The 58-year-old was named as the 18th manager in franchise history on Nov. 14, 2010, replacing Ken Macha. Roenicke signed a contract extension through 2014 with a club option for 2015 in May of 2012. The Brewers exercised the 2015 option and added the 2016 option last March.
"(Owner) Mark (Attanasio) and I visited on it, and felt it was the right thing to do," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said of picking up Roenicke’s 2016 option. "He has had success here.
"Game management, you’re going to get second-guessed by everybody on that. He is very passionate about being a Brewer, for one thing. He communicates real well with his coaching staff. From a player’s standpoint, he builds relationships with the players. He can be firm when he has to be . . . His aggressive style has always been there. I think he understands that if the personnel doesn’t fit that, he’s willing to adjust."
In his first season as skipper in 2011, Roenicke led the Brewers to a 96-66 record and their first division title since 1982.
Roenicke guided the Brewers to the cusp of the postseason in 2012 before finishing 83-79. Milwaukee slipped to 74-88 in an injury-filled 2013 season, a year that also included a season-ending suspension issued to Ryan Braun.
In 2014, the Brewers led the National League Central for the first 150 days of the season before a September collapse left them to finish at 82-80 and on the outside of the postseason.
Owner Mark Attanasio announced before the end of last season that general manager Doug Melvin would return, but he opted to wait until Oct. 14 to do the same with Roenicke.
"I probably viewed that as a three-week cooling-down period we needed after that," Melvin said. "Ron wasn’t happy, I wasn’t happy, Mark wasn’t happy, fans weren’t happy. It just took a little longer to get through it. When it gets down to the end, you’ve got to act professional and sit down and say, ‘What is it we want to do?’
"I think Ron’s relationship with the players has changed in the game today. Ron’s got an edge to him, too. He doesn’t always show it. We felt in the end it was good to continue."
Melvin’s status will likely be addressed in the near future, as his contract is set to expire after the 2015 season.
"I’m not worried about it. It’s more important for Ron," Melvin said. "It was more important for me to have Ron feel some sense of security.
"Mark and I have a good relationship. At some point, we may talk about it and address it. But we don’t need to do it at this point."
Brewers make roster moves: The Brewers optioned right-handers Taylor Jungmann and Corey Knebel to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday and returned catcher Adam Weisenburger to minor-league camp.
The roster moves left Milwaukee with 41 players left on the big-league side.
Jungmann posted an 11.81 ERA over 5 1/3 innings in four appearances this spring. His spring numbers are inflated due to an ugly outing in which he recorded just one out and allowed seven earned runs against Texas on March 15.
The former first round pick will likely begin the season in the starting rotation for Colorado Springs. With the Brewers short on starting pitching depth, there’s a good chance Jungmann makes his big-league debut at some point during 2015.
Acquired in the Yovani Gallardo trade, Knebel has been limited to just two appearances this spring due to soreness in his right elbow, which is a bit concerning considering he was shut down last August due to a sprained right ulnar collateral ligament.
Knebel made his big-league debut with Detroit in 2014, posting a 6.23 ERA in 8 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. The 23-year-old is ranked as Milwaukee’s No. 10 overall prospect by MLB.com.
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