The Milwaukee Brewers are in a position that they have not found themselves in for seven years. Craig Counsell sent shockwaves through the baseball world when it was revealed that that he accepted a five-year $40 million contract to manage the Chicago Cubs. According to reports, managing the Cubs was his dream job and they offered him nearly $3 million more per year than the Brewers were.
Of course, the announcement that Counsell has joined one of the Brewers’ biggest rivals was met with a great deal of anger from the fanbase. Even owner Mark Attanasio could barely mask his disdain when he held a virtual media session on Monday.
But the game of baseball does not stop, even in the offseason, and Milwaukee has already started interviewing possible replacements. According to reports, bench coach Pat Murphy is interviewing with the club today, but he is not the only internal candidate Milwaukee is interested in.
The Milwaukee Brewers Are Interested in Former Second Baseman Rickie Weeks
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Brewers have already compiled a list of candidates they are interested in interviewing. Among these names are popular managerial candidates Don Mattingly (bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays) and Joe Espada (bench coach for the Houston Astros). However, Rosenthal also says that the team is thinking about former second baseman Rickie Weeks as a possible replacement:
Among those Brewers considering to replace Craig Counsell, according to sources briefed on club’s thinking: Bench coaches Pat Murphy (MIL), Don Mattingly (TOR) and Joe Espada (HOU); Dodgers 1B coach Clayton McCullough; Astros hitting coach Troy Snitker; former Brewers 2B Rickie…
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 7, 2023
Weeks last played in Major League Baseball for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2017. Last year, the Brewers hired him as an assistant to the player development staff.
Rickie Weeks Made an Impact on the Milwaukee Brewers as a Player
Rickie Weeks was drafted by the Brewers with the second overall pick in the 2003 MLB amateur draft. He made his Major League debut later that year.
Along with Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, JJ Hardy, and Corey Hart, Weeks helped usher in a new era of Brewers baseball that saw Milwaukee prove that it can field competitive teams with homegrown talent. Weeks was part of the team that snapped Milwaukee’s 26-year postseason draught in 2008 and made it to the NLCS in 2011.
Weeks played in Milwaukee until 2014. From 2015-2017, he played for the Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Tampa Bay Rays. His best seasons, obviously, were in Milwaukee where he had career averages of .249/.347/.424. He was voted an All-Star starter in 2011.
The Brewers added Weeks to their Wall of Honor in 2019.
Does Rickie Weeks Make Sense as a Manager for the Milwaukee Brewers?
While it is true that Weeks has no experience as a manager on any level, it is worth noting that Craig Counsell didn’t either when Milwaukee hired him as manager in 2015. Now he is the highest-paid manager in baseball.
While there is no guarantee that Weeks would be the next Counsell, the latter’s success is a reminder that a good manager does not necessarily need to have had managerial experience prior to being hired. Weeks spent over a decade in the Majors and knows from experience what it takes to help a team get to the postseason.
When Attanasio addressed the media following Counsell’s decision, he indicated that the entire coaching staff would return in 2024. Hiring Weeks as an internal candidate makes this decision more plausible as an external candidate would want to bring in his own staff.
In the end, though, Attanasio, Matt Arnold, and the Brewers have to nail this next hire. Milwaukee fans are desperate for a World Series and the team may not be in the city forever given the difficulties to find funding for the stadium repairs.
The transition from the Counsell Era should be another rebuild, rather it should be a step forward.