Baseball is about talent acquisition. After all, why would the Brewers go out and grab two outfield prospects at the trade deadline when three of their top five prospects at the time were outfielders?
Because there is always someone better. Unless you have Mike Trout, of course.
Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana slotted in to the Nos. 2 and 4 slots in the updated MLBPipeline Top 30, moving just-drafted Trent Clark to No. 3, toolsy Tyrone Taylor to No. 5 and converted catcher Clint Coulter to No. 7.
Which brings us to the Brewers’ front office.
Doug Melvin has been rumored to be moving from the role of general manager to team president. Makes sense. Melvin is 62 (he turns 63 Saturday) and a good baseball man who has earned the right to hold bigger position within the organization he has been with since 2002, some of the darkest days in Brewers history.
Melvin has made the Brewers relevant, with playoff appearances in 2008 and 2011, the latter ending in the NL Championship Series just a step away from the World Series. This season has been an aberration under Melvin’s watch, a team underperforming at disappointing levels up and down the roster.
What will owner Mark Attanasio do? While the Crew doesn’t have the financial flexibility of the Los Angeles Dodgers — a team the owner sees quite a bit considering his home base is L.A. — he should take a cue from Hollywood’s team and build a super front office.
Andrew Friedman was poached from the small-market Tampa Bay Rays and is president of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi came from the small-market Oakland A’s and is a GM for the first time and Josh Byrnes is an ex-GM who is senior vice president for baseball operations. Ex-Dodgers GM Ned Colletti is still on board as a special advisor, albeit likely only as a figurehead.
They all report to Stan Kasten, a baseball savant who has been involved at various levels of teams not only in Major League Baseball, but also the the NBA and the NHL.
So what does this mean for the Brewers? The Detroit Tigers on Tuesday cut ties with Dave Dombrowski, their president and GM since 2002 whose contract was up after the season.
Dombrowski needs to be the leader of a revamped Brewers front office, which would include Melvin and possibly his top assistant, Gord Ash.
Dombrowski, 59, had previously been GM of the Montreal Expos and Florida Marlins, using strong drafting to build farm systems that allowed the teams with tighter budgets to compete at the top level. He has worked with deeper pockets with the Tigers and their go-for-it owner, Mike Ilitch.
Attanasio, likewise, is a go-for-it owner. He has paid to keep the Brewers in contention, authorizing budget-busting moves by Melvin. (Little-known fact: The Brewers had payrolls of more than $100 million to begin 2014 and ’15, while nearing that figure in 2012.) So this is the perfect time to recraft the front office — and on the Brewers’ terms.
Attanasio should be on the phone now to get into the ear of Dombrowski, a well-respected baseball mind. His experience, Melvin’s knowledge of the Brewers’ system and the influx of new thoughts by a new GM could have the Crew on a high level for the next decade. Not very often do the stars align where you can drastically improve your club without a ton of competition (it should be noted that Dombrowski could also be a great fit in the Commissioner’s Office for any number of roles or as the czar of the Toronto Blue Jays or Boston Red Sox, who both will have their president roles open this offseason).
It’s time for a talent upgrade.