thoughts on the Mariners, MLB draft, and more homelinksdraftabout me

Curious Firing

It was obvious that the Brewers were going all in with this year's team when they traded for CC Sabathia. Considering how well CC has done (and the standings), it also seems that the move is working out. All those good feelings disappeared Monday though. After being swept by the Phillies, Brewers GM Doug Melvin decided it was time to fire manager Ned Yost. Taking his place on an interim basis will be Dale Sveum, who had been the team's third base coach.

Playoff contenders have fired managers mid-season before. It is not the norm, but happens frequently enough that it does not seem overly peculiar. Look at the Mets this year. As horribly as Willie Randolph's firing was handled, they handled a mid-season firing the way a good team usually does. The general progression is:
  1. Team has high expectations, and manager is possibly already in a little hot water
  2. Team gets off to bad start.
  3. Manager fired as a result of bad start.
  4. Interim manager takes over and team miraculously gets better, usually in part because they were bound to improve anyway.
How does the Brewers' progression look? Something like this:
  1. Team has promising expectations
  2. Team gets off to solid start
  3. Team makes huge trade to hopefully catapult them to the next level
  4. Team subsequently goes from solid to good
  5. Team stumbles a little late in the season, but is still tied for the wild card lead
  6. Manager fired as a result of one bad series at an inopportune time
  7. Interim manager takes over and...?
This is an unfair firing if there ever was one. Ned Yost, as he was suddenly kicked out, was criticized by GM Doug Melvin for not being able to take the team to the next level. Excuse me, Doug? Before Yost was hired, the Brewers were annually losing 90-95 games. Under Yost, the team usually hovered around .500. That is a significant improvement. Moreover, the Brewers began a major youth movement under Yost, and the team has only begun to come of age the last couple seasons. Ned Yost never had the opportunity to take the team to the next level until the CC trade, and what do you know...the team did take a step forward. They are still in the thick of the playoff hunt. Yes, they did not look good in Philadelphia, but they are still tied for the Wild Card lead with last year's NL East champions!

There is no debating that the Brewers did not look good in their most recent series. But, the franchise has been climbing fairly steadily the past six years. Four days of evidence versus six years; you be the judge. Doug Melvin sided with the four days, and he may pay a heavy price. Thanks to the wild card tie with only 12 games to go, the team was already in a high-pressure situation. Now, on top of dealing with that, the players must also cope with the firing and get comfortable with Sveum's style, and the changes he promises to make. Does that sound like a recipe for success? It does not to me.

Luck plays a surprisingly large role in a stretch of just 12 games, and making the playoffs would bury a bunch of the unease and distress in the organization right now. With that in mind, the change could "work." I have never seen a team so bent on making the playoffs, or at least one person (Doug Melvin). If the Brewers do not make it, he should be fired. Maybe he should be fired even if they do. The CC trade was risky, but the Yost firing is ludicrous.