Kyles: Brewers ‘had to do something’
I just spoke with former Brewers bullpen coach Stan Kyles, who was let go today during an early-morning meeting at Miller Park with general manager Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash. Stan’s words pretty much speak for themselves:
“They had to do something,” Kyles said. “It had gotten to the point where those guys, it’s in their heads now that they’re really scuffling with confidence. I completely understood Doug and Gord bringing me in. I have a feeling that this is not what they wanted to do. But it’s something that they had to do, and I absolutely understand it.
“This has been home for me for the last almost four years, and 11 years in the organization, so I love these guys to death. It was tough for me to see those guys in the bullpen go through what they went through, with ‘Ax’ [John Axford] and ‘Frankie’ [Francisco Rodriguez], the things they did last year, how proud I was of them last year. Really, I was proud of them this year, even though they went through the struggles that they did. They never pointed fingers, they never blamed anybody else for the struggles that they had. I have the utmost respect for them and I love them.
“I’m sure they’re going to be fine, and I’m really hoping that they’ll see this as an opportunity to bring some kind of closure to something. They get a chance to start over. We really have to salvage something, and I think we will. Those guys have too much ability to end the season the way it’s gone thus far. I’m hoping this is just what they need. I’m sorry to not be able to see it through, to see them come out of this thing.”
Kyles planned to return home to South Carolina for a few weeks of decompression. He will seek a Major League job during the offseason, but in their morning chat, Melvin left open the possibility for a return to the Brewers organization should Kyles request it.
When it was suggested that he was being scapegoated for players’ struggles, Kyles said, “Who’s to say what’s fair and not fair? You know, I never played in the big leagues, and the Brewers gave me an opportunity to be in the big leagues and I’m going to be indebted to them for the rest of my life for that. It was my dream to get here, and they gave me that opportunity.”
He also thanked the Brewers for their support through his cancer scare in 2010, when Kyles underwent prostate surgery early in the season and had his job waiting for him when he returned.
“Every chance they’ve had, they’ve given me a pat on the back,” Kyles said. “It’s been a great run for me and the Brewers. I just hope it finishes up well for them this year. I’ll be rooting for them, for sure.”
The biggest question came last:
What the heck happened this year?
Kyles pointed to the absence of veterans Takashi Saito and LaTroy Hawkins as one potential cause, but that does not explain the season-long struggles for Axford and Rodriguez, each of whom have held the closer’s role and lost it.
“I don’t know if we didn’t prepare them as well or not. I think we did,” Kyles said. “Me and ‘Kranny’ [pitching coach Rick Kranitz] worked long hours trying to get these guys ready. But ultimately, it came down to we didn’t make enough pitches when we had to. We just didn’t make pitches. It came to the point where we were throwing the ball and hoping.
“Who’s to say where it all went wrong? I could very easily see all of those guys, with their talent, bouncing back and having great years next year. That’s baseball. I know that’s kind of a vague thing to throw out there, and a lot of people won’t understand that. But it’s a beautiful game, and sometimes things like this happen. There’s a lot of mental stuff that goes along with it.
“Like I said, hopefully they see this as a closing and a new start for the season. I’m pretty sure these guys will grow from the adversity and be better for it. I know ‘Ax’ and ‘Frankie’ will. I love them to death along with the rest of those guys and I’m hoping for the best for them.”
For the full story of Kyles’ dismissal, click over to Brewers.com.
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