It is no secret that there is a perceivable disconnect between Milwaukee Brewers players and the front office. It was first made public (sort of) the day after the Brewers traded Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres. Devin Williams, among others, expressed shock at the trade and wondered what kind of message the front office was trying to send to the team. Last month, Eric Lauer brought the issue to the forefront again. He stated that the team did not believe the front office believed they were good enough to contend this year. Regardless of their struggles, that is no message a team wants to get. In a recent interview with Adam McCalvy, former Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain said that this kind of thing is nothing new in Milwaukee.
Lorenzo Cain Never Felt That He Was Given the Respect Due a Veteran by the Brewers Front Office
For years now, it has appeared as if the Milwaukee Brewers have been lacking player leadership in the clubhouse. When they have gotten players who lead and keep things loose during tough times, they are soon traded away or allowed to leave via free agency. Players like this include Orlando Arcia, Jesus Aguilar, and Mike Moustakas.
From what Lorenzo Cain had to say to McCalvy, it appears as if these kinds of players are not valued at all by the Brewers higher ups:
“I mean, it is what it is. That’s one of the reasons we kind of parted ways; I honestly feel like I never got that respect as a veteran, as a leader on this team, from certain coaches and certain upper management. That’s mostly why we parted ways when we did.
“It wasn’t [about] playing every day, because I know I was struggling a little bit,” said Cain, who was hitting .179 with a .465 OPS through 156 plate appearances at the time he was cut. “This goes back to not only this year, but years and years. It’s been three years where I’ve felt this way. I think when you mess around with that, when you’re supposed to be the leader of the team, the veteran in the clubhouse, and you don’t get that respect that you feel you should get as a leader and a veteran, I think that makes it harder for me to lead and for certain guys to also lead. Ultimately, it shows up in a big way when you go out there and play on the field.”
This is certainly a very disturbing revelation for Brewers fans. Checking in on social media, one can find dozens of posts asking for someone, anyone, in the dugout to show some kind of life, to spark the team. It sounds, though, like that kind of thing is being discouraged, whether intentionally or unintentionally, by coaches and the front office.
And Willy is the only one celebrating and doing anything. Someone do something to wake up that dugout
— The Brewers Are Good (@BrewersRaptor) September 4, 2022
To the 8th we go. Trailing by 2.
Not much fight going on in that home dugout tonight.
— Pitchers⚾️ & Pitchers🍺 (@BrewersOfMKE) August 30, 2022
The fans see the struggle of the players in the Brewers dugout. They are not having fun. It is hard to go and work in a place, even as a player on a professional sports team, where one does not feel supported or respected. If this has been going on for years, as Cain said it was, it is already known around Major League Baseball. Perhaps the reason the Brewers did not sign many free agents was not that they were too cheap. Maybe players did not want to play in that kind of environment. If this is the case, the Brewers need much, much more than a few new and improved players in order to contend. They need a serious culture change, starting at the top with Mark Attanasio.
Cain Believes the Josh Hader Trade Affected the Clubhouse
As mentioned earlier, the Josh Hader trade rocked the Brewers clubhouse. While Hader himself has struggled with the Padres, and had been struggling with the Brewers for weeks beforehand, trading away such an key figure has consequences. Cain said as much in his interview with McCalvy:
“I definitely think the boys can turn it around, but yeah, when you go through rough times, you need certain guys to keep guys going. I think that’s one of the reasons it’s been a struggle to get guys out of the funk. When you get rid of certain guys, when you start messing with the chemistry of the clubhouse, it affects everybody. It’s happening right now. Hopefully they can turn it around, because you can see it’s been weird. Something’s off, for sure.”
There will still be fans who wave this sentiment off. They believe that it’s all part of the business of baseball. The problem with that is that professional athletes are human, not robots. They have the same emotions and concerns over job security as the rest of us. Sure, they make more money than most of the population, but that does not make them any less human. What is the saying? More money, more problems?
Not matter what the viewpoint of fans, the only ones that matter are those of the players. Some players like Christian Yelich have voiced their support of David Stearns and the front office. Others have openly questioned their motives. There is a divide, and a house divided cannot stand.
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