Attanasio says blame falls on players, not GM, manager
His team off to the worst start in franchise history at 2-12, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio arrived at Miller Park on Wednesday and answered questions during batting practice. He could not have been more clear: For the moment, he’s putting the blame for the team’s poor start on the players, and not the likes of GM Doug Melvin or manager Ron Roenicke.
He also made clear that he’s just as frustrated as other fans.
“It’s brutal,” Attanasio said. “You turn on the TV every night and expect to see something different, and I know one of these nights we will.”
Here’s the full transcript:
On whether he’s regretting the decision to keep the core of the team intact following last season’s collapse:
“First of all, what I find in business and investing is you make you decisions based on the facts that you have in front of you looking forward, rather than trying to go back and say should you have done this or should you have done that. I had a fan write me a thoughtful letter today and I corresponded with him. One thing I disagreed with — I understood his pain, because I feel it profoundly. But one thing I disagreed with was that we just made decisions based on hope. We were just hoping for good karma. That’s not the case. We did a huge amount of analysis.
“We’ve got 25 players, virtually every one of them is an established Major Leaguer, and by my count all but five are below their career norms. Maybe six if you want to count [Francisco Rodriguez] in the bullpen, which I count. Frankie is doing fine. But you have 20 of 25 guys below their career norms. That is not what you would expect, because the sport is so analyzable and predictable. What makes a Major League player special is he can perform pretty much the same level year in and year out. We’ve got a lot of really established Major League players here, with very few newbies at this point. So this was not something built on false hope. I believe [the team will be better] if these guys play the way they can, including with the injuries. Injuries are part of the game. The guys who came in last night to play did a hell of a job, and I have a lot of confidence in Martin Maldonado. Ron showed the confidence he had in Elian Herrera by plugging him right into the lineup. It wasn’t like we brought him up from Colorado Springs and had him sit on the bench. So once everybody plays to their [usual] level of performance, we’ll be OK.”
On whether he’s content to just ride it out:
“Well, I’m not sure what else we could do at this point. We set our team. We’ve got established guys. What else can you do?”
What about personnel changes?
“Listen, Doug and the baseball staff are doing the analysis on different options for us. They are always analyzing. Every day, there are guys up in the ‘war room’ analyzing options. Last year, we were 10-4, they were upstairs analyzing options. This year we’re analyzing options while we’re [2-12].”
On whether he remains confident in the fundamental analysis that this is a good team:
“They need to demonstrate — each of these players needs to play to his expected [level]. They don’t need to do more. I think Matt Garza commented on that and some others. Players don’t have to do more, they just have to do their job and do what they’re good at. Last year we had one of the top pitching staffs in quality starts, and this year we have two quality starts. The starters have to step it up.”
On the challenge of remaining positive:
“It’s always a challenge to harness your emotions. Sometimes when you get emotional you make a good decision, actually. So you always try to balance between, ‘Am I being too measured,’ and, ‘What should we be doing here?’ We have a lot of people looking at this, a whole team of people looking at this. Most importantly, we have a whole clubhouse of guys who are expecting to play well any day now. We would like that to be tonight.”
On the status of Roenicke:
“I know how bad we’ve played. But we’re 14 games into the season, and Ron didn’t give up two grand slams last night. I think we have to kind of parse through it. Everybody needs to be accountable, but we have to look at what people are responsible for, and then hold them accountable for what they’re responsible for. So Ron had Mike [Fiers] pitching, and Mike was still at a point in the game with 70 pitches that he should have been pitching. He needs to execute his pitches better. Martin Maldonado took some accountability last night. I liked seeing that. He didn’t throw the ball, but he received the ball and he’s a guy who hit a home run last night, and he’s taking accountability. That’s a good thing to see.”
On the status of Melvin:
“Right now, my examinations are focused on how to improve our performance on the field. Relative to me, I’m not looking at the manager or the general manager right now.”
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