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Report: Brewers Promote Bench Coach Pat Murphy to Replace Craig Counsell as Manager

Report: Brewers Promote Bench Coach Pat Murphy to Replace Craig Counsell as Manager
Adam WellsNovember 14, 2023

ATLANTA, GA  OCTOBER 11:  Milwaukee bench coach Pat Murphy (00) prior to the start of the NLDS game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Atlanta Braves on October 11th, 2021 at Truist Park in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Milwaukee Brewers have found their next manager.

Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Brewers will replace Craig Counsell with bench coach Pat Murphy.

Counsell pulled off a stunning move to the Chicago Cubs on Nov. 6. There had been rumblings throughout the 2023 season about his future in Milwaukee, but it seemed like the New York Mets would be his next job if he left the Brewers.

Instead, the Cubs fired David Ross in order to make Counsell the highest-paid manager in MLB on a five-year, $40 million deal.

The 53-year-old Counsell had been managing in Milwaukee since May 2015 when he took over after Ron Roenicke was fired 25 games into the season. He led the team to five playoff appearances and three NL Central titles in the past six seasons.

Counsell’s 707 wins are the most by a manager in Brewers history.

Given that track record of success for Counsell, Murphy is going to have a tough task ahead of them. Making the job potentially more difficult is what the roster will look like going into the 2024 season.

Trading Mark Canha, who had an $11.5 million option for 2024, to the Detroit Tigers for a prospect Blake Holub could be an indication that ownership wants to continue reducing payroll.

Christian Yelich, Freddy Peralta, Colin Rea and Aaron Ashby are the only players on the roster not in their arbitration or pre-arbitration years. Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Willy Adames are both entering their final year of arbitration before hitting free agency after next season.

Brewers general manager Matt Arnold told reporters on Oct. 10 the team would be “extremely comfortable” having Woodruff, Burnes and Adames back, but also acknowledged they can never “close the door on any conversations” specifically when asked about Burnes’ future.

It’s not unreasonable to assume that Milwaukee is getting close to rebuilding, even if a full teardown doesn’t happen this offseason.

If the Brewers were looking for a seamless transition from Counsell, it’s hard to find a better choice than Murphy. The 64-year-old spent the past eight seasons as Milwaukee’s bench coach working with Counsell.

This will be the first MLB full-time managerial job for Murphy, but he was interim skipper with the San Diego Padres for the final 96 games of the 2015 season after Bud Black was fired.

Murphy also spent five seasons as a minor league manager for three different Padres affiliates from 2011 to ’15.

Despite his lack of manager experience at the MLB level, Murphy knows the Brewers as well as any coach in the sport right now. He’s got relationships with players already on the big-league roster and has worked with their prospects during spring training.

This could be critical for a Brewers team that has a loaded farm system, led by arguably the top prospect in the sport, Jackson Chourio.

There’s a lot of help on the way for this team, with Chourio, Jeferson Quero and Jacob Misiorowski likely to make their MLB debut in 2024.

Even if the Brewers go into a rebuild phase this offseason, it shouldn’t take too long before they are back contending in the NL Central.

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