Remember how the Brewers had a big, organization-wide review after their devastating collapse in 2014? Remember how a lot of us thought that might spell the end of Ron Roenicke's tenure in Milwaukee, until we learned it wouldn't?
Instead, Roenicke has received more assurance that he is the team's manager moving forward as the Brewers picked up his option for 2016, reports Tom Haudricourt.
Roenicke took over as a rookie manager in 2011 and has led the Brewers to a 335-313 record in four seasons, including three winning years. He managed the team to a 96-66 record in his first year at the helm and finished second in NL Manager of the Year voting. Last year, he finished 7th for the award.
Brewers players also seem to enjoy playing for Roenicke, and blame themselves for the team's collapse, not their manager. As Carlos Gomez put it in the linked article:
"In September last year, we didn't play that bad. We had about seven bad games. How do you blame the manager when we don't do good on the field? He put the lineup and pitchers out there that are supposed to do the job that day. If we don't do it, how do you blame the manager? It's how the game goes. I'm never going to agree to blame the manager. We have to take it like a man. We felt bad when we go home but it is our fault when we don't do our job."
Of course, as with many managers, Roenicke has been a polarizing figure among fans at times. His decision in 2011 to give so much playing time to an aging Mark Kotsay (including in the NLCS against the Cardinals [in center field]) has been especially critiqued, as has has his passion for bunting.
It's also important to note that Roenicke being extended does not mean that he will actually be around to manage the team in 2016. It's more a matter of the Brewers assuring that he will be back, if they want him to be. If the Brewers struggle coming out of the gates or suffer another collapse or in any other way underperform there is seems to be a strong possibility of manager change.
Overall, this seems like a pretty easy move to make for the Brewers. If Roenicke struggles, it's not going to prevent the team from making a change. But having a sense of familiarity with a manager that the players seem to like so much is a good thing. It's also an impossible thing to judge. We can critique his buntiness or love of Mark Kotsay or whatever, but Roenicke has been a winning manager and, until the last two months of 2014, seemed to be a guy who could rally the troops. He has a longer track record of success than otherwise, so why not pick up the option?
With the Roenicke decision made, the Brewers can now turn their attention to Doug Melvin's future. Melvin -- the fifth longest-tenured GM in MLB -- has also been under contract only through 2015. The team could look to promote him and hire a younger general manager, or they could sign him to another contract extension. It seems unlikely 2015 will be Melvin's last in Milwaukee, however.