Was hiring Ken Macha the 9th worst thing Doug Melvin has ever done?

Ryan thinks so. His post is in bold. 

9) Hiring Ken Macha as manager.

One of the hardest things any general manager has to do is to hire a field manager and obviously Melvin hasn’t hit a home run with any of his three managerial hires.

I grant you that I write on a blog where our sole purpose is to nitpick managers, but I think it actually seems really easy, since the baseline for hiring a manager is “terrible”.

Still, at least Ned Yost accomplished the successful “breaking-in” of those 2000-05 draftees

He was a tactical disaster. Did you know that he had Chris Getz and his .250 OBP lead off for the Royals yesterday?  .250 OBP. 

and Ron Roenicke has a career 197-172 record.

RRR career WP% – .534

Macha – .540

The Ken Macha hire was basically a disaster from start to finish. Yes, it’s true he wasn’t given much in the way of a starting rotation to work with,

Since this is a post about Doug Melvin why don’t we take a look at said pitching personnel?

Braden Looper – 5.22 ERA

Yo – 3.73 ERA

Suppan – 5.29, but he was just one pitch away from like 3.4. Or so I’m told.

Parra – 6.36

Bush – 6.38

Villanueva – 5.34.

Ron would have best-buddied Looper into a 4.00 for sure though.

and he was tactically more in line with my thinking than either of the other two,

Hey, we agree!

but his inability to run a functional clubhouse ultimately kept him from being given the chance with a good rotation in 2011.

So…shouldn’t this mistake be “firing Ken Macha?”

What makes the hire worse was that he came to Milwaukee with a reputation for being hard to get along with,

The 2009 BP annual has this to say on the subject:

“Failures in clubhouse communication (some of them involving his once and future catcher, Jason Kendall) dogged Macha during his time in Oakland; Brewers fans will have to hope that his newfound autonomy doesn’t prompt him to unleash a flurry of bunt signs restrained during four years under Billy Beane, on an unsuspecting National League.”

I hate Jason Kendall too.

 but that didn’t seem to matter. At the end of the day, 2009 and 2010 represent tremendously blown opportunities for contention and Ken Macha was at the helm for those two debacles.

Spoken like someone who believes in pitcher wins. 

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6 thoughts on “Was hiring Ken Macha the 9th worst thing Doug Melvin has ever done?

  1. You’re entirely ignoring A) Macha thought taking an extra base was witchcraft, and B) he had plenty of opportunities to upgrade the pitching staff internally (Capuano, Villanueva, Narveson) but either waited too long or didn’t do it at all. But hey, defend the guy who thought Suppan needed extra starts.

    • Not witchcraft. Science. With more HR hitters taking the extra base is not as valuable. In 2009 Chris Capuano was not in baseball. I assume this was his extended injury absence. Chris Narveson was a journeyman who, in 2008 in AAA has a 5.43 ERA. Narveson was a full-time starter in 2010 and not a particularly good one. Honestly, none of the guys you named are difference-makers, and I suspect benching someone like Looper was out of his control anyway.

      • Taking the extra base wasn’t very valuable in, say, the 1999 run environment, but in the 2009-10 environment it held value to steal a base here or there. There were good baserunners on those teams, and they were underutilized. The offense was great, it still could have been better.

        As for the pitching, Capuano was on the 2010 team and made 15 relief appearances for some reason while Dave Bush continued to make starts. And even if Narveson was a journeyman, I can’t find justification for starting guys with a 6 ERA without considering other options.

        There was also Macha’s obsession with starting Jim Edmonds over superior players, sticking with Hoffman in a leverage role for too long, and refusing to utilize defensive shifts at all, but the overarching point here is you can find flaws in every manager, and I don’t really see the point in defending a grumpy unemployed manager that nobody liked.

      • Jim Edmonds played well in 2010. Hard to complain about his performance. Cappy started off slowly because he had arm trouble in spring and had to be shut down.

        The Brewer offense in 2009-2010 was of the high-run variety. Silly to think additional risk-taking would have improved them.

    • This is like the definition of selective memory. None of those 3 guys were viable options in 2009. Just because Villanueva has shown flashes of good pitching in 2012 and 2013 doesn’t mean he deserved a shot in 2009. And he hasn’t really shown any extended success as a starter anyway.

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