This got lost in the election hysteria, but the Brewers hired Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke as their new manager. He replaces the fired Ken Macha.
Managers have little impact on wins and losses as strategists; everyone at the major league level knows the game well enough to make the right moves most of the time. A manager’s real impact is in dealing with the egos and personalities in the clubhouse, and keeping morale high in hard times. Early indications are that Roenicke will be a good hire in that regard:
He is even-keeled and can come off as the quiet type. He is never too high and never too low and will give honest assessments of his team and players.
That sounds a lot like Ken Macha, the Milwaukee Brewers manager for the last two seasons who was not brought back when the team declined to pick up his option for next year.
However, there is a distinct strength for the new Brewers manager that wasn’t always present with Macha: Roenicke is great at player relations. Macha was criticized for not always relating well to some players, particularly stars Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, and admitted to a communication gap.
Roenicke, the Los Angeles Angels bench coach for the last five years and a third-base coach during the previous six, became a favorite sounding board for some Angels, especially centerfielder Torii Hunter, who spent the last three seasons playing for Roenicke.
Time will tell how Roenicke pans out. But at this point, he looks like a smart hire.