clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Firing of Ron Roenicke reflects poorly on Brewers

Sometimes it's not what you do but the way you do it that matters.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I had my problems with Ron Roenicke. I thought he relied too heavily on veteran players or "his guys" and didn't take the (offensive) platoon advantage as often as he could/should have. Still, nothing he did made me think he deserved to be fired. In fact, I thought he was a pretty decent manager. But that's not what bothers me. What bothers me is the way in which the front office handled the firing.

The Brewers had a chance to let Ron Roenicke go in the offseason. In fact Doug Melvin and Mark Attanasio held a performance evaluation immediately following the end of the season. After that meeting they announced that Ron Roenicke would return for the 2015 season. If they were going to fire him after one month's worth of games they should have just let him go then.

Again, the Brewers had a chance to let Ron Roenicke go earlier when the team was off to the worst start in franchise history. Instead they reassured their manager and made clear to the fans that they did not blame Roenicke for the failings of the team the front office built. Literally just 10 days ago owner Mark Attanasio told reporters that he "wasn't looking at the manager...[at the time]." He was further quoted as saying "I know how bad we've played. But Ron didn't give up two grand slams." They went 5-5 since then.

I don't know that he was being false, but it's hard to imagine he and Doug Melvin were able to work with Craig Counsell (the apparent but not confirmed replacement) on a multi-year deal (the terms of which are currently unknown) in just 10 or fewer days. I have to assume the topic had at least been brought up before. So the way I see it, they kept Roenicke on the hook, knowing full well the endgame was his departure, until they could work things out with his replacement to protect themselves in case anything fell through and they found themselves without a manager at all.

If the Brewers knew they were going to fire Ron Roenicke for so long they absolutely should have done it immediately. Instead they left Roenicke in charge of the team and with the impression that turning things around (which they were) would be something that could save his job.

And as I pointed out, they were .500 in the time between Mark Attanasio said he wasn't looking for fire Roenicke and the time he fired Ron Roenicke. The rotation is finally starting to perform as expected. Veterans Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez are starting to hit. The team just won back-to-back games for the first time this year and their first series of the year. Keep in mind, if you believe a manager should be to blame for a team under-performing or struggling then you have to believe he is also responsible for them turning things around. Roenicke's reward was a pink slip. That seems to suggest their record wouldn't have an impact on the decision.

He's not the first manager they've done this to either. Everyone remembers when Mark Attanasio fired Ned Yost in the midst of their first legitimate playoff hunt in decades. I was never a big Yost fan but that seemed like an overreaction then just like this feels like an overly emotional response now.

When Craig Counsell is announced as the next manager he'll be the third in 5 years and fourth in 7 years (not counting interim manager Dale Sveum). Doesn't send an encouraging message to any future candidates for when Craig Counsell is fired in a few years.

The way in which this was handled also sends the message that Mark Attanasio and possibly also Doug Melvin can't be trusted. As I mentioned, just 10 days ago Attanasio said he wasn't going to fire Roenicke. So now they can't offer a future managerial candidate job security or trust. Good luck finding top notch managers with that track record.

I don't know what the right way to handle this situation was. Firing someone is inherently a messy proposition after all. What I do know is that telling your employee his job isn't in jeopardy and then firing him less than a fortnight later isn't it.