Brewers Pass On Valentine, Hire Roenicke
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Ron Roenicke showed he can win as a fill-in manager. Now he gets a chance to do it every day.
The Milwaukee Brewers hired the Los Angeles Angels’ bench coach to be their new manager, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The person requested anonymity because the team had not yet announced the move.
The 54-year-old Roenicke has been a member of the Angels’ coaching staff for 11 seasons, including the past five as bench coach. He won each time he subbed for Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia, a perfect 7 for 7.
Roenicke replaces Ken Macha, who was let go after two disappointing seasons, a tenure that came in the wake of the team’s 2008 playoff appearance — its first since 1982. He inherits a team with pitching problems and a prince — Prince Fielder — facing an uncertain future.
The Chicago Sun-Times first reported Roenicke’s hiring.
Roenicke was seen as a long shot candidate in the Brewers’ search. Other reported candidates included Chicago White Sox bench coach Joey Cora, former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine and former Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin.
All-Star right fielder Corey Hart said Tuesday night he didn’t know anything about Roenicke, who becomes the fourth Milwaukee manager in the last two-plus years.
“I’m sure since he was the guy picked over the rest of the candidates that he’s the right guy to lead us back to the playoffs,” Hart said in a text message. “I look forward to getting to know him.”
Roenicke has never been a full-time major league manager outside of his successful games filling in for Scioscia. He was the Angels’ third base coach for his first six seasons with club and became bench coach when Joe Maddon left for Tampa Bay.
Scioscia’s staff has been fertile ground for managerial candidates, with the San Diego Padres also looking there to find Bud Black.
Roenicke began his coaching career with the Los Angeles Dodgers and went on to coach in the minor leagues, including five seasons as a manager.
He also played for six major league teams over eight seasons. He was a career .238 hitter with 17 homers and 113 RBIs in 527 games. Roenicke reached the postseason in 1984 as a member of the NL champion San Diego Padres.
He takes over a team that has struggled to find consistent pitching and must make a difficult decision on whether to trade Fielder, its burly first baseman.
Milwaukee has a young core of All-Stars, with outfielders Ryan Braun and Corey Hart and staff ace Yovani Gallardo signed to long-term contracts, and has an enthusiastic fan base for a small market.
But Fielder is heading into his final year under team control and is expected to seek a budget-busting free-agent contract.
Milwaukee made several personnel moves Tuesday, waving goodbye to reliever Trevor Hoffman.
The Brewers declined their $7.5 million mutual option on Hoffman and will pay the career saves leader a $750,000 buyout. The move was expected after the 43-year-old struggled and lost his closer’s role to rookie John Axford, who converted 24 of 27 save chances.
Hoffman went out on a high note, getting his 600th save on Sept. 7 and finishing the season with 10 to raise his total to 601. He had a 5.89 ERA this year.
Milwaukee also declined a $6.5 million option on left-hander Doug Davis and a $2.25 million option on catcher Gregg Zaun — both of whom were injured for most of the season. Davis gets a $1 million buyout and Zaun $250,000.
Zaun said via e-mail that his injury rehabilitation is going well and he intends to play next season.
Right-hander Dave Bush, left-hander Chris Capuano and infielder Craig Counsell became free agents. The Brewers claimed right-hander Justin James off waivers from Oakland and selected the contract of catcher Martin Maldonado from Triple-A Nashville.
AP Sports Writer Colin Fly contributed to this report.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.