Doug Melvin’s future with the Brewers

The team’s GM is in the last year of his contract, and he might like it that way.

Hopefully, you’re Opening Day is going better than Kyle Lohse’s. The Brewers starting pitcher just left in the fourth inning with his team trailing 7-0. He’d eventually be charged with 8 earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings.

Which brings us to some of Milwaukee General Manager Doug Melvin’s pregame comments.

Not the one about how “it would be awful if we played 21 innings today.” Yes, he was well aware of the Badger State’s evening viewing plans. At least Lohse got him off of that hook.

No, Melvin mentioned how one of the team’s goals was to get 200 innings from each of its five starting pitchers. And he did so in typical Doug Melvin fashion, whereby he’ll be able to quote some obscure stat off the top of his head, and this time the stat was the 192 innings his starters pitched in 2014.

Later, when talking about Milwaukee’s chances to contend for a playoff berth, he mentioned how the 2014 Brewers had the eighth-best record against teams with records above .500. In much the same, casual manner that you’d mention you had a brat before today’s game.

I bring this up for two reasons. One, Kyle Lohse already has some ground to make up in the quest for his 200 innings. And if the Brewers are going to contend, they’ll need him to do well on some makeup tests. Surely, one of the reasons Melvin felt comfortable trading away Yovani Gallardo is because he felt Lohse was still reliable.

And two, it never ceases to amaze me, the numbers floating around in Melvin’s head, and his ability to just pluck them out and use them at a moment’s notice.

Which brings us to a few other notable pregame words.

Melvin’s operating under the final year of his contract with the Brewers, a reality that he again said today doesn’t bother him. In fact, when Attanasio was asked about Melvin’s contract status, his answer made folks think of this possibility: perhaps the reason Melvin has no extension is because Melvin’s not sure that he wants one.

“The door is open,” Attanasio said Monday. “He needs to think about how long he wants to do this, because at some point, we do need to have some sort of succession planning.”

Attanasio didn’t mention the word “retirement,” but it sure sounded like that was something Melvin was considering.

“It’s hard to know how long you want to continue to do things,” Attanasio said. “Doug has been a GM for 24 seasons. No Memorial Day, no July Fourth barbecues, no Labor Day. There’s really no downtime…

“If anyone has earned some downtime, it is Doug Melvin.”

Could this season be a precursor to Melvin’s retirement? It’s something that’s out there now. And maybe instead off press conferences, he’ll just whip out those off-the-cuff stats at parties.



Howie Magner is a former managing editor of Milwaukee Magazine who often writes about sports for the magazine.