Brewers: Doug Melvin to step down as GM, search begins


After months of speculation, Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin confirmed Tuesday he plans to step down as the team’s primary decision maker and a search is already under way to find his replacement.

Melvin plans to remain on the job at least through the end of the season and then step into an advisory role with the organization.

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“We’re trying to do this in a way that doesn’t put any pressure on us,” owner Mark Attanasio told “Ideally, we’d like to have someone in place by the winter meetings (to be held in Nashville in the second week of December), but teams may not give us permission to talk to people until October. …

“The process needs to be exhaustive, so as a result, there is no timetable for the process.”

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As for Melvin, he said it was simply time.

“I’m 63 years old and I’ve been doing this for 20 years,” Melvin told “My gut feeling tells me it’s time to give Mark the opportunity to look over the next generation of general managers.”

Melvin was hired by the Brewers in September 2002 after spending a season in the Boston Red Sox minor league operations department.

That followed a stint from 1994-2001 as general manager of the Texas Rangers, during which time the franchise reached the postseason for the first time, winning division titles in 1996, 1998 and 1999 but never advancing beyond the Division Series.

With Milwaukee, Melvin helped the team reach the postseason in 2008 and 2011, with the 2011 team winning the franchise’s first division title since 1982 and advancing to the National League Championship Series before losing to the wild-card St. Louis Cardinals, who went on to win the World Series.

Melvin’s first trade with the Brewers was a small one, a deal in November 2002 in which the team acquired Javier Valentin and Matt Kinney from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for minor-leaguers Jerry Oakes and Matt Yeatman.

The key deal in the 2008 playoff run was a decision to roll the dice on free-agent-to-be CC Sabathia, then the reigning Cy Young Award winner in the American League.

Sabathia was amazing for Milwaukee down the stretch, going 11-2 with seven complete games and three shutouts in 17 starts, posting a 1.65 ERA and 1.003 WHIP in 130.2 innings.

But he was rocked by the Philadelphia Phillies in his lone postseason start, giving up five runs on six hits in just 3.2 innings in a Game 2 loss at Citizens Bank Park.

After the 2010 season, Melvin wheeled and dealed to get right-hander Zack Greinke, another former AL Cy Young winner, from the Kansas City Royals, trading away shortstop Alcides Escobar and prospects Lorenzo Cain, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi.

The Brewers won the NL Central in 2011 with Greinke posting a 16-6 record and Ryan Braun winning MVP honors.

But Greinke couldn’t be enticed to sign an extension and was traded to the Los Angeles Angels for three young players, Jean Segura, Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena, in July 2012.

The Greinke trade with Kansas City looks worse in retrospect with Cain and Escobar becoming All-Stars for the Royals.

The Brewers have gone 1,004-1,052 since Melvin took over, including a 48-65 mark this season in the wake of a second-half collapse in 2014.

One thing that is certain is that Craig Counsell is the Brewers manager for the foreseeable future.

Counsell was hired May 4 and the team is 41-48 since the change.

Melvin was a minor-league pitcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees’ organizations in the 1970s, advancing as far as Double-A. A right-hander born in Canada, Melvin went 8-1 as a swing man for the Yankees’ Double-A West Haven affiliate in 1978, with a 4.29 ERA and 1.458 WHIP in 107 innings.

In his minor-league career, he was 29-19 with a 3.43 ERA and 1.415 WHIP in 520 innings, pitching six seasons.

He was hired as a scout for the Yankees and took as director of scouting in September 1984, before becoming farm director for the Baltimore Orioles in November 1987. He left the O’s organization to become GM in Texas.

He replaced Dean Taylor as the Brewers’ GM and is the second-longest tenured general manager in franchise history behind Harry Dalton, who held the position from 1977-91.

Melvin’s legacy in Milwaukee is a complicated one—it is a team that probably should have won more than it did, but it was also more competitive than perhaps it should have been given its resources.

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    Attanasio has indicated he wouldn’t mind the Brewers joining the trend of teams with young general managers heavily steeped in analytics.

    “We are at the front end of a process,” Attanasio said. “We’re trying to look forward five to 10 years for the Milwaukee Brewers baseball club.”

    It is a team in transition, with Melvin making a flurry of deals at the trade deadline last month that shed Carlos Gomez, Aramis Ramirez and Gerardo Parra and brought five highly rated prospects into the system.

    Counsell, who was Melvin’s top assistant for three years, has ruled himself out as a candidate for the position, saying he loves managing.

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