FanDuel - WFBC

September 15, 2008

Brewers Fire Ned Yost: With 12 games to go in the season, the Brewers attempt to stop their meltdown by firing the manager.

posted by TheQatarian to baseball at 10:50 PM - 12 comments

This move is surprising, but given that all Yost could do when asked about his team's woes was spout cliches, it apparently became clear to upper management that he didn't have the answer to the Brewers' problems, especially since starting CC Sabathia everyday is not an option.

It's gotta suck to be a Brewer these days; you just get done getting smoked in a 4-game series and losing your wild-card lead, and then your arch-rival comes into your home park, throws a no-hitter, and dumps over 3 cases of beer on the carpet of your clubhouse. And they've gotten over their slump just in time to play you. Joy.

posted by TheQatarian at 10:57 PM on September 15

It's an odd move, though, because with 12 games left and tied for the wild card- an absolute dead heat- you don't necessarily want to lose even one game from "uncertainty". The reality is that managers rarely have an impact on the win-loss record; I've heard it estimated by sabermetricians that the total impact is on the order of 2-4 games, for a season. The impact of axing Yost for 12 games? Non-existent. It's unlikely Yost makes any unconventional moves in the last 12 games, so axing him serves no in-game purpose; Sveum will pretty much make the exact same moves Yost would have. The manager can't make the hitters hit (the last two Sabathia starts were no-decisions even though they were quality starts); Sveum is going to make the same lineup and it'll rest in the playerss hands.

If the owners think that having Sveum take over will somehow light a fire with Milwaukee's offense, then maybe there's reason to do this, but why would they think that? If anything, it could have the opposite effect: they're in the heat of a playoff race and suddenly the manager is gone?! It's an odd move because you are almost certainly not going to gain anything with this move, this late yet could risk destabilizing your players, and at present Milwaukee can not afford to lose even one single game from discontented or confused players.

posted by hincandenza at 01:31 AM on September 16

Interesting stat, Hal. I'd heard something along those lines as well about managerial impact. Though there's a degree of subjectivity to be sure. I don't think they believe Sveum will ignite the team as much as Yost's absence will make for a more positive clubhouse. It's similar to what the Mets did dropping Willie Randolph and having Jerry Manuel take the helm (at least for this season). They think guys will just feel more comfortable with a less divisive skipper. And at least on paper, it's worked for the Mets. It seems like voodoo science but this is a desperate situation for the Brewers. Getting into the playoffs this year is critical for Milwaukee. They will probably lose Sabbathia and Sheets after the season no matter how well they do so they have to make a run now. As a Cub fan, I pray that doesn't happen.

Side note -- I agree with Qatarian. Having the Cubs come in to Milwaukee and win under those circumstances must suck for the Brewers. I would not be happy about a division rival playing in Wrigley against any team other than the Cubs. Raw deal for Astros and Brewers.

posted by bluesdog at 02:18 AM on September 16

Sveum can't wave runners home from the dugout. So that's a plus.

posted by jerseygirl at 10:04 AM on September 16

As a Brewers fan, let me say that this is sorta surprising, but not really. The timing is the "sorta" part, but if you've been paying attention it was clear that Yost's days as a manager were dwindling. Personally, I figured they'd wait until the team didn't make the playoffs to fire him.

But anyone who listened to the press conference last night heard all three involved (Mark A. as "the owner", Doug Melvin as "the management", Dale Sveum as "the deer in the headlights") talk about how it's on the players, now it's the players job to get it done, the players have to make this happen. Doug specifically mentioned Ned sticking his neck out for some of the young, slumping players and resisting pressure to bench them. My read is that a critical mass of the clubhouse got work to Mark A. that Ned wasn't wanted anymore. When you couple that with the fact that Ned Yost fans are extremely scarce among Brewers fans, plus this recent slump (which is overblown IMO), I'd wager that Mark called Doug and said, "Fire Ned, or I fire you and then I fire Ned."

It's weird timing, for sure, and to me it absolutely reeks of an irrational panic. Anyone who knows anything about Doug Melvin understands he's not that kind of guy, so there you go.

Also, the very cynical part of me sees this in terms of revenue. The fans didn't like Ned, and even though this has been a record-breaking year for attendance, part of me wonders if Mark doesn't see how much more could have been taken in if somebody more likeable were in the dugout... somebody named Robin Yount... who is now going to be bench coach...

posted by rocketman at 11:08 AM on September 16

The impact of axing Yost for 12 games? Non-existent. It's unlikely Yost makes any unconventional moves in the last 12 games, so axing him serves no in-game purpose; Sveum will pretty much make the exact same moves Yost would have.

So, looking at it in reverse, what could switching hurt? The Brewers are tanking for a second season in a row after taking a lead in the race -- whether it's something Yost is failing to do or just crappy luck, two years in a row means you'd better make a move.

Will it light a spark under the players? That remains to be seen, but the facial expressions of the Brewers I saw makes it pretty clear they got the message -- pick it up or your ass will be gone over the winter.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:14 AM on September 16

Will it light a spark under the players? That remains to be seen, but the facial expressions of the Brewers I saw makes it pretty clear they got the message -- pick it up or your ass will be gone over the winter.

Is that a Bad Thing?

posted by thatch at 01:38 PM on September 16

the facial expressions of the Brewers I saw makes it pretty clear they got the message -- pick it up or your ass will be gone over the winter.

I don't believe this for a second. Who are they going to get rid of? Sure, they'll let CC and Sheets go, because they can't afford them. I'd bet you twenty bucks and a six pack of Milwaukee's finest they pick up Cameron's option, and as far as the young talent, none of them are going anywhere, with the possible exception of Hardy and Fielder, who would be traded to prospect-rich teams. And those two wouldn't be traded because they didn't "pick it up" - they'd be traded because the team already has competent replacements in the minor leagues and can bring in a huge prospect haul for them.

Baseball is a business, and this was a business decision. Tossing players away because they didn't make the postseason this year would not be a good business decision. I'm sure the players know this.

posted by rocketman at 01:44 PM on September 16

When the hell did Al Davis buy the Brewers?

posted by The_Black_Hand at 07:26 PM on September 16

Ned Yost's legacy will consist of not being able to utilize a 25-man major league roster through a season. His handling of a pitching staff was horrendous. Game after game, replacing pitchers who were getting people out with pitcher's who couldn't. Trotting the same lineup out day after day like it was a grade-school recess roll call producing the same slumping result. Correct game-time strategies to produce runs when the power was obviously out were non-existent. Ignoring late-inning defensive replacements creating losses. The Brewers may not be able to beat the Cubs ofter enough now to get the Wild Card, but their chances are certainly better with Ned spitting his sunflower seeds out into the back yard.

posted by tee1big at 08:38 AM on September 17

I've heard that stat before, and while i admit that i don't possess an indepth knowledge of sabermetrics, i find the claim that the manager's impact on a season being only 2-4 games doubtful. Nearly every game a team gives away in the latter innings can be traced to bullpen play, which is controlled by the manager. This is only one example, but i agree with blue dog that this seems pretty subjective.

posted by brainofdtrain at 02:51 PM on September 17

Seeing as how the Brewers just clinched the NL wild card yesterday, I just wanted to chime in and say I can't possibly express how glad I am that the naysayers were wrong. I was one of the few Yost fans among the Brewers fandom, and for as many missteps as he may have made along the way, he was a part of getting us to this point. For that, I'm grateful.

posted by evixir at 12:48 PM on September 29

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