When Craig Counsell decided to leave the Milwaukee Brewers in favor of the Chicago Cubs, it created a tidal wave of emotions within the fan base that, frankly, has yet to subside. After all, Counsell grew up in Milwaukee, his dad worked for the Brewers, he played for the team, and was hired as an analyst after his playing career was over.
In short, for all of Counsell’s media promotions and talk about being the kid from Milwaukee that got to live out his dream of managing his hometown team, it all turned out to be a lie. And what’s more, it left the Brewers in a position where they needed to find a replacement for the winningest manager in franchise history.
So what did they do? Knowing that Counsell’s ties to the city and the team are what made him both popular and successful in the smallest market in baseball, they decided to replace him with his own bench coach: Pat Murphy. In reality, the team could have gone after an experienced manager, but instead decided to stick with Murphy, who knows the organization, the young players within it, and frankly is the closest possible candidate to actually being Counsell himself.
The Milwaukee Brewers Named Rickie Weeks as Associate Manager
Of course, promoting Murphy to manager also meant that the team need to replace him as bench coach. When doing so, they wanted to consider the same things that they did when promoting Murphy: a coach who knows the team, the organization, and how to be successful in a small market.
However, they also needed to think about the future. Murphy is 65 years old and, while there are very recent examples of managers working well into their 70s, is not a long-term solution for the Brewers. This is not to say he isn’t a good hire; he is. However, part of being in a small market is that one is always thinking ahead, and that’s what the Brewers were doing when they decided to hire former All-Star second baseman Rickie Weeks as associate manger.
Not bench coach. Associate manager. The title itself makes Milwaukee’s intentions quite clear: when Murphy is done, the plan is for Weeks to take over as manager.
Todd Rosiak of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel shares this assumption:
“In his new role as Murphy’s right-hand man, it’s assumed Weeks will learn the ropes as a bench coach with the possibility some point down the road of replacing the soon-to-be-65 Murphy as skipper if all goes according to plan.”
According to Rosiak, the position of manager is something that Weeks may feel is a goal for himself. After his playing career ended, he went back to school and got his degree in sports management. When the Brewers hired him as an instructor back in 2022, Weeks told reporters:
“I’m pretty open-minded right now but, at the same token, I have some things in my head that I want to do. It’s not for me to even say right now but you always want to climb, you always want to get to the top.
“For me, it’s just coming in and trying to help out and assist and the biggest thing, to create relationships. It’s coming in and creating those bonds, creating a team atmosphere because that’s always going to be the best thing for everybody.”
That certainly sounds like an ideal managerial candidate, and he did indeed interview for the position before Milwaukee decided to promote Murphy.
Perhaps he interviewed well enough that the team could see him leading the organization in the not-so-distant-future.