Disappointing Brewers weighing changes, but Macha appears safe
Brewers general manager
Melvin agreed by phone that it's been a disappointing year in light of raised expectations following the team's first postseason appearance in a quarter century, but he declined to make pronouncements about Macha or any of the coaching staff. In regard to Macha, Melvin said he would "meet in the next week" to discuss plans with the manager.
According to associates, Melvin much prefers not to have a lame-duck manager. However, it is thought his feelings about that issue may have been assuaged to some degree by the knowledge that managerial icons
Some Brewers players who have grown to view Macha as a tough boss may see Macha's likely return as something of a disappointment, although no players are likely to say anything disparaging publicly once the decision is announced, as there's no point in making mixed or negative comments about a returning boss. Melvin may be hopeful that Macha can forge a closer connection with the young team in his second season, though that isn't absolutely necessary as long as the team plays to expectations next season.
No announcement is expected until after Melvin meets with Macha in coming days.
The very intelligent Macha's style is seen by both Brewers players and front-office people as stern, especially in comparison to the Brewers' two managers of a year ago,
In another switch, Brewers management generally has been pleased by the erudite Macha's game management, which engendered no significant public criticism, a departure from the Yost regime. There are people who believe Macha was somewhat handicapped, as well, because a few of the key coaches were organizational choices.
That may not change, however, as two of those choices, Sveum and
Randolph, who spent time with Melvin in the Yankees organization and has remained close to him, is the logical manager-in-waiting. But one person close to Melvin suggested the fact that a strong managerial candidate operates on Macha's coaching staff wouldn't adversely affect Macha's chances to remain in his role, another hint he's coming back for a second year.
Brewers management feels the team has underachieved, but Melvin candidly conceded the pitching may just not have been good enough. They were once 31-20 and leading the league in quality starts before injuries and poor performance took their toll. "It came down to starting pitching," Melvin said. "Overall, we lacked depth. When we had to reach down ... (it wasn't there)."
Melvin's trade for
Meanwhile, the pitching problems persisted. While Macha will likely return, people familiar with the situation say Melvin is likely to replace
The loss of Maddux, who left for Texas to become one of baseball highest-paid pitching coaches (a salary that's believed to be about $600,000), was a major loss. Melvin and Maddux used to attend Marquette basketball games together, but Maddux is also close to Rangers president
Now Melvin will likely be making his third hire to replace his old friend. But to be fair, it might have taken a miracle worker to make it work this year. A year ago they got 48 starts from Sabathia and
People close to the situation say all the forthcoming calls will be made by Melvin, who was signed to an extension after the team's superb 2008 season. Last year, club owner
This time, the calls are all Melvin's.
Whatever he ultimately decides (and it appears he'll bring back Macha as a lame duck but change pitching coaches), at the very least it's a hugely positive development that a .500 season is now looked upon as a major disappointment in Milwaukee.
Astros management had a very high opinion of the team, much higher than anyone else. And that ultimately spelled the end for manager
Cooper was one game over .500 in his nearly two-year tenure for the Astros, which seems about right since they have appeared -- at least to outsiders -- to be a fairly mediocre team. Cooper ultimately didn't appear all that popular with Astros management or players, so it's probably just as well they get a new man who will undoubtedly also be expected to deliver a lot more than is humanly possible.
Upon firing Cooper, Astros GM
Cooper himself predicted the Astros would win 90 games, which seemed preposterous during a spring training in which the Astros were easily the worst team in baseball. But Cooper probably understood by then that his bosses overrated the team, and he had no choice but to play along.
Realistically, this was probably a .500 team from start to finish. So Cooper did no better or worse than should have been expected. Yet in the end, even his well-known rapport with commissioner
It's hard to blame Cubs GM
There's irony in Bradley saying there's too much "negativity" surrounding the Cubs, as negativity has surrounded Bradley throughout his career. This season he's had blowups with manager
However, it's doubtful the Cubs can enforce this suspension. Bradley's diatribe was merely Milton being Milton and did not rise to the level of a season suspension. It was nothing more than the rantings of a depressed, troubled man.
Hendry must be second-guessing himself for the gamble that's become the winter's worst signing. And that's understandable. But there's no cause for a suspension lasting through the end of the season.
• One GM said before the latest incident that the Cubs would have to pay about half the $21 million left on Milton Bradley's contract to trade him. But another guessed they'd have to pay "practically all" of it. Now, the second guess seems much more likely. The other option would be to trade Bradley for another player with an exorbitant contract, such as
• The second-most consistent player has to be
• The Twins' moving to within two games of the Tigers after Saturday probably clinched the AL MVP for
• Good for the Royals that they are spending much more money now, as evidenced by their signing of first-rounder
• The A's are another also-ran still playing hard.
• Rangers prospect
• Rangers vaunted hitting coach
• Congrats to the Yankees for being the first to enter the playoff derby with the win over the Angels on Tuesday night. They haven't hid the fact they'd choose the AL playoff series with two off days, which shows you how much (or how little, actually) they want
• A belated congrats to worthy Branch Rickey winner
• He's no twit. But find my twits here: