Brewers general manager Doug Melvin might have entered the offseason leaning toward hiring a manager with previous Major League experience, and he had two such finalists in Bobby Valentine and Bob Melvin. But White Sox bench coach Joey Cora and Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke were so impressive in their interviews, they prompted an open-minded Melvin to rethink his stance.
In the end, Roenicke’s recommendations from former and current colleagues may have pushed him over the top. Among those who lauded his candidacy for the Brewers’ opening were Rays manager Joe Maddon, who preceded Roenicke as the Angels’ bench coach, former Angels GM Bill Stoneman and Brewers television broadcaster Brian Anderson, who worked alongside Roenicke at Double-A San Antonio in the late 1990s.
“The more people they talked to, the more he stepped up,” said a source with knowledge of the Brewers’ hiring process. “You kept hearing from people, ‘This guy is ready and has been ready.'”
Doug Melvin declined to comment until the Brewers make the hiring official. That’s not expected until Thursday evening at the earliest because of some administrative final steps.
Roenicke, a former outfielder, played 527 games over eight Major League seasons for six different teams, but has made his Major League mark mostly as coach for Angels manager Mike Scioscia. Roenicke has also managed six seasons and 643 games in the Minor Leagues.
Maddon was particularly persuasive in his recommendation for Roenicke, lauding his ability to see things that others miss. The Brewers were told about Roenicke’s ability to communicate with players, his focus on baserunning and outfield defense and his commitment to the Angels’ aggressive style. Brewers officials want to see their own team return to that style of play after a more station-to-station approach under Macha for the past two seasons.
Club officials were also impressed by Roenicke as a family man and a baseball man with a record of working well with diverse personalities.