Results tagged ‘ Doug Melvin ’

Melvin conducting annual club review

Brewers manager Ken Macha met for more than 90 minutes Saturday afternoon with Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash, part of Melvin’s annual review of the organization. The sit-down did not include any discussion of Macha’s future beyond 2010. 
Macha is in the second season of a two-year contract, though the club holds an option for 2011. 
“We just talked about the players,” Macha said. “We spent equal amount of time on all aspects [of the team].” 
Melvin holds similar meetings every year with members of the coaching staff, athletic training staff and scouting department. 
Last year, Melvin pre-empted speculation about Macha’s future on the final day of the regular season by announcing the manager would be back for 2010 with an option year added onto his contract. Macha has been given no promises about a similar heads-up at the end of this season. 
“That’s entirely up to them, how they want to handle it,” Macha said. 
It’s been a disappointing season for the Brewers, who once again rank near the bottom of the National League in starting pitching and entered Saturday’s game against the Cubs with a 65-75 record, in fourth place in the NL Central. The Brewers have owned a losing record every day since April 23, when they were 8-8.
“I want to win,” Macha said. “It hasn’t happened this year. We’ve got some young guys in there now and we’ll see how they do.” 
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Melvin: Dickerson will join big league club

Newly-acquired outfielder Chris Dickerson is ready to return from his Minor League rehabilitation assignment and is expected in uniform for the Brewers tonight at Miller Park. 

The 28-year-old, acquired by the Brewers on Monday in a trade that sent Jim Edmonds to the Reds, has missed a large chunk of 2010 after surgery to repair a broken hammate bone in his right hand and a clean-up procedure on his right wrist. He last played Tuesday for Cincinnati’s Triple-A affiliate. 
I asked Brewers GM Doug Melvin whether this deal was about acquiring Dickerson or accommodating Edmonds, who now gets to play for a first-place team. 
“A little bit of both,” Melvin said. “But the reason a player like Dickerson is in it, is that we’re still trying to win as many games as we can. I don’t consider us out. I consider us trying to get a good streak together. We’re still coming back with a player who can play on our Major League team, not a Class A prospect.” 
Dickerson is under club control for four more seasons after this one and will still be a low-cost, “zero to three” player in 2011. 
In parts of the past three seasons with the Reds, Dickerson is a .274 hitter with eight homers and 30 RBIs in 148 games, including 94 starts. He’s a left-handed hitter and thrower. 
“There’s a little bit of injury history to him, but he can play all three outfield positions,” Melvin said. “He’s a contact guy more than a power guy. He can run well.”
Of Edmonds, Melvin said, “I liked him. He played well for us and is a good, veteran guy. I liked his presence, too. He’s the kind of guy who follows the game real well, and I thought he was good for our club. He got some big hits for us. I believe he can still play if he gets through the injury factor.”
Both teams reviewed the players’ medical records before consummating Monday’s trade. Edmonds only earns an $850,000 base salary this season, so there’s no cash involved.
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No progress with top Draft pick

With 10 days to go before the deadline to sign 2010 First-Year Player Draft picks, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin was asked Saturday whether he could report any progress.

“No,” Melvin said, “but we’re pretty confident we can get him in.”
The Brewers picked Pasadena, Calif. right-hander Dylan Covey with the 14th overall pick in the Draft. He has a scholarship from the University of San Diego for leverage and Covey’s father, Darrell, is handling negotiations instead of an agent to preserve his son’s amateur status and has made it clear from the start that his son expects a signing bonus in excess of Major League Baseball’s recommended “slot” figure. Dylan Covey said in June that he wants at least $2 million, about $300,000 more than the recommendation.
Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid is currently in California, but Melvin was not certain whether there had been any face-to-face meetings in recent days. Darrell Covey told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the family had yet to receive a concrete offer and was “waiting it out.”
Only four of the 13 players before Covey have signed including 12th overall pick Chris Sale, a collegiate left-hander who made his Major League debut for the White Sox on Friday.
With the short-season Minor Leagues nearing their end, even if Covey does sign he will probably have to wait until 2011 to make his debut. 
“We’d like to get him out there earlier, and in most cases we have,” Melvin said. 
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Melvin counters critics of his pitching record

Brewers GM Doug Melvin has begun a vocal campaign to counter critics of his club’s record of drafting, developing and otherwise acquiring pitchers over the years, and he called a couple of the team’s regular beat reporters up to the new “war room” at Miller Park this week to air some of this thoughts. You can read his defense in a story that went live over at this afternoon.
Melvin admits mistakes but argues that they are no more glaring than those made by other teams. More importantly to him, the team has a plan in place that Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash believe will help limit those mistakes in the future. 
It was a very candid chat about the Brewers’ recent past and their future, and I hope you enjoy it. The comments section here is typically quiet but I’d like to get the discussion going on this one: What do you think of Melvin’s self defense?
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Brewers interested in pitching, but not Dontrelle

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin shot down his first trade rumor of the year on Tuesday, denying that Milwaukee was one of the teams interested in left-hander Dontrelle Willis. The Tigers were reportedly close to trading him to the D-backs.
Detroit designated Willis for assignment over the weekend and the Palm Beach Post reported earlier Tuesday that the Brewers, D-backs, Marlins and Mets had all shown interest. 
“We were laughing about that on the bus,” Melvin said. “We have not contacted him. … I asked my people about [Willis]. We said we would pass. We’re left-handed now [with Chris Capuano, Chris Narveson and Randy Wolf in the starting rotation].” 
They might not have been interested in Willis, but Melvin and his staff are on the lookout for available pitching in the wake of a series of recent promotions that have mined Triple-A Nashville of much of its staff. A more likely target for the Brewers is right-hander Brian Bruney, a reliever who was released by the Nationals on May 25. 
Melvin has also reached out to fellow general managers about right-hander Claudio Vargas, who was designated for assignment by the Brewers on Saturday to clear a spot for Capuano. That move gave the Brewers 10 days to work out a trade involving Vargas. 
“We’ve contacted a number of teams,” Melvin said. “They said they would look into it but we haven’t heard back.”
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Attanasio: No staff changes on tap

Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio stood stanchly behind his general manager and field manager on Saturday, saying Doug Melvin has total job security and that Ken Macha will not be dismissed on Monday, an off-day widely speculated as an opportunity for the team to make some changes. 
Of Melvin, the GM whom Attanasio inherited when he purchased the Brewers in September 2004, Attanasio said, “Doug Melvin is very, very secure. You’re not going to see any GM changes here. Absolutely not. Doug Melvin has built up too much credibility. You’re going to have to a lot more than even a bad season for him to have any issues with his job security. To all of our fans, look, it feels great to get it off your chest, but you’re going to have to be dealing with our general manager for a long time.”
And of Macha, the embattled Brewers manager, Attanasio said, “I can tell you, unequivocally, we are not making a manager change on Monday. There will be no news on that on Monday. We could lose the next two games 15-3 and we’re not making a manager change on Monday.”
Which begged the follow-up, what about Tuesday?
“Doug needs to make those decisions, and Doug has been pretty firm in his support of Ken so I’m going to fall into line,” Attanasio said. 
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Melvin backs Macha

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin spoke up Thursday in support of field manager Ken Macha, whose job security has been called into question during a losing streak that reached nine games with Wednesday’s loss to the Pirates.
“I don’t see any reason” to dismiss Macha at this time, Melvin told the team’s flagship radio station, 620-AM WTMJ, on Thursday morning. “I see reasons to work together and try to get some wins.” 
The Brewers will try again Thursday night to snap their longest losing streak since they dropped 10 in a row late in the 2006 season. After the game the team will travel to Minnesota, where Melvin and principal owner Mark Attanasio will join the traveling party as part of a previously-planned community initiative. The Brewers are teaming with several local partners to bring Milwaukee-area fathers and their kids to Target Field for a ballgame. 
With an off-day looming Monday ahead of a homestand, some have wondered whether a shake-up was imminent. Melvin’s comments, to WTMJ’s “Wisconsin Morning News” program, could quiet that speculation. 
“Everybody wants to fire everybody, but I talk to Mark everyday and Ken every day,” Melvin said. “You go about and do your business, and all you’ve got to do is continue to work hard.” 
Melvin also addressed his own security, saying, “I feel fine.” He understands that the fans may feel differently while watching the team struggle to a 15-25 record. 
“I know we’ve got a lot of people that are disappointed because your expectations are so high,” Melvin said. “It gets to be a tough game and you don’t go out to win in nine straight games.  Everybody works extremely hard at it.  If they weren’t working extremely hard at it, it would be hard to defend them and hard to support them, but people have success in the past, and they work hard at it. 
“There are a lot of people involved, including the general manager and the owner, the manager, the coaches and those 25 players on the field.  Everybody’s got to pull together.  Everybody’s got to do their job and put this thing in the right direction.”
Brewers pitcher Randy Wolf made similar comments after he couldn’t hold a 4-3 lead on Wednesday night in an eventual 6-4 loss to the Pirates. He was asked whether he worried someone might have to take the fall for the Brewers’ poor play. 
“We’re not playing well, and it’s not one person’s fault,” Wolf said. “All of us have a place where we have to take the blame. Last time against the Phillies [on May 14], I didn’t do my job. [Wednesday], I had a 4-3 lead and I have to hold it in the seventh inning. I didn’t do that. I’ll take the blame.
“When things get out of control, you have to look in the mirror and realize that what you’re doing is not good enough. You either have to fix something, adjust something or do something better. It’s not always over night, but if you believe it, it will turn around.”
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Welcome to Kennywood!

Here’s a little preview of a story set to hit tomorrow:
Who could have guessed that Ken Macha, the self-proclaimed “boring” manager of the Milwaukee Brewers with zero ejections in his season-plus with the team, was such an adrenaline junkie? The Pittsburgh native is a big fan of Kennywood, a huge amusement park in his home state that features three wooden roller coasters. 
“The Jack Rabbit, the Thunderbolt and the Racer,” Macha said. “I love that place. Love it.” 
Good thing, because his ballclub is baseball’s version of a thrill ride. Up one week, down the next, and the only difference is that those downs have not been quite as fun as those dips and dives at Kennywood. 
As of Thursday the Brewers had scored 186 runs, most in the National League and less than only the Yankees (190 runs) and Rays (189) in all of Major League Baseball. The Brewers’ 798 OPS also led the NL and trailed only the powerhouse Yankees (.805) and Red Sox (.799). 
So Milwaukee is one of the most potent offensive clubs in the league, right? Yes, but only when they are not conjuring memories of the second-tier Brewers teams of seasons past, and there have been plenty of those games so far. Consider that the 2010 Brewers have already scored at least eight runs in a game 10 times, but have scored two or fewer runs 11 times and are 1-10 in those games. That’s only the start of the extremes; they have scored at least 17 runs in three big games, but have been shut out four times. 
They have swept two series in dominating fashion, both on the road — from April 20-22 in Pittsburgh by a cumulative score of 36-1 and from May 7-9 in Arizona by a cumulative score of 26-6. But they have been swept in each of the subsequent series, both times at home — outscored 25-4 by the Cubs from April 23-25 and 27-7 by the Braves just this week. 
“It’s extremely weird,” said Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun. “I don’t think there’s any logical explanation. I wish we could say, ‘Let’s score five today and then save five for tomorrow.’ It just doesn’t work that way.” 
For more, including GM Doug Melvin’s take on this up-and-down season, see my story on Friday. In the meantime, which Brewers team do you think will shot up this weekend? 
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Melvin: Criticism of Macha is 'unfair'

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin called it “unfair” to blame the team’s sluggish start on manager Ken Macha, and said he’s just as frustrated as those clamoring for some early-season changes. 
“We’re all a little frustrated right now,” Melvin said Tuesday afternoon, when the Brewers entered their series against the Dodgers with a 10-15 record, 7 1/2 games behind first-place St. Louis in the National League Central with a little more than 15 percent of the season in the books. 
“There are at least nine teams in the Major Leagues who are underperforming,” Melvin said. “We’re not performing well, but, Ken, I haven’t seen him swing at a bad breaking ball yet. I haven’t seen him give up two or three runs in an inning. <p/>
“I evaluate myself, too, on these things. … The way we’re playing now, we’re not going to make the playoffs. You have to play better. We expect that.” 
Melvin rejoined the club in Los Angeles after a visit to Class A Brevard County and met Monday afternoon with Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio to evaluate the ballclub before dinner. Melvin downplayed the meeting, saying, “We talk on the phone just about every day.” 
The GM then chatted with Macha on Tuesday morning over coffee. 
“He watches every game,” Macha said. “[He knows] some guys in the middle of our order are not hitting right now. He knows we’ve been in position to win games but we haven’t closed them off. We talked more about individual people. … 
“I go back to last year, when things were ‘squeezing,'” Macha said, referring to the late-season speculation about his job security. “I come to the ballpark, prepare my [behind] off, try to be upbeat with these players, pat them on the back, do our best to win as many games as we can. Maybe at the end of the game Sunday [in San Diego] things fell apart, but for the most part, guys are playing hard. Maybe to the point of having their statistics suffer because they’re trying too hard. …
“[Other than one game], I haven’t gone home at all this year saying, ‘Gosh, I should have done this, or this.’ Self evaluation is maybe blind at times, but that’s the way I feel about it.”
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Melvin: Sending down Stetter was 'tough call'

In something of a surprise move, the Brewers will option left-handed relief specialist Mitch Stetter to Triple-A Nashville on Thursday so Jeff Suppan can return from the disabled list to start against the Cubs. 
Stetter was one of three left-handers in the bullpen but the others — Chris Narveson and Manny Parra — are starting pitchers who were beat out by Suppan in the race for the fifth starter’s spot. Stetter was the team’s top late-inning option against left-handed hitters, coming off a 2009 season in which he made 71 appearances and limited lefties to a .178 batting average. 
The club’s decision was complicated by the fact that so few Brewers players have Minor League options. Narveson and Parra are both out, so the Brewers would risk losing either player on waivers if they tried to send them down. Likewise, fifth outfielder Jody Gerut and backup infielder Joe Inglett are out of options.
The only relievers with options were Stetter and right-hander Carlos Villanueva. 
“There were only two choices,” said general manager Doug Melvin, who informed Stetter of the move following Wednesday’s 7-6 loss to the Cubs. “Nothing against Mitch, it’s not that he hasn’t done the job, but we feel that Carlos can give us some more innings. 
“It was a tough call. We went back and forth on it. Obviously, we’re taking a little bit of a chance.” 
The Brewers are set to wrap-up their series with the Cubs on Thursday behind Suppan, who began the year on the 15-day DL with a neck injury. Then it’s off to Washington for a three-game series. The Nationals’ most dangerous left-handed hitter is slugger Adam Dunn. 
Stetter had made two appearances this season and retired both hitters he faced.
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