The Brewers appear to have settled on their new manager. Milwaukee is expected to promote longtime bench coach Pat Murphy, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Murphy will replace longtime manager Craig Counsell after his departure to the Cubs.
Milwaukee’s managerial search proved to be a short one, ultimately concluding just one week after Counsell officially departed for Chicago. In that time, the Brewers reportedly considered several candidates in addition to Murphy during the short process, including Blue Jays bench coach Don Mattingly, Dodgers first base coach Clayton McCullough, 14-year MLB veteran Rickie Weeks and Astros hitting coach Troy Snitker.
Their reported list of candidates also included a pair of names attached to the other managerial vacancies around the league at the time: Astros then-bench coach Joe Espada, who has since been promoted to the managerial gig in Houston, as well as Padres senior advisor Mike Shildt, who is considered a potential favorite to replace Bob Melvin in San Diego. Ultimately, the Brewers decided to go with Murphy, who many around the game had speculated could consider joining Counsell as bench coach in Chicago if not promoted in Milwaukee.
Murphy, 64, has never been formally hired for the manager’s role with a big league organization but has plenty of experience managing in baseball nonetheless. He ran the Padres for 96 games on an interim basis in 2015 after Bud Black was dismissed that June. Murphy also spent more than 20 years as a head coach in college baseball for Arizona State and Notre Dame. Now, he’ll get his first proper managerial opportunity in the major leagues, stepping into Counsell’s shoes in the Milwaukee dugout after the pair worked closely for eight seasons.
He’ll inherit a roster that figures to be in flux this offseason. Though the Brewers won 92 games and an NL Central crown in 2023 en route to their fifth playoff appearance in the past six seasons, Counsell’s departure combined with the impending free agencies of ace right-hander Corbin Burnes and shortstop Willy Adames have Milwaukee’s front office potentially contemplating major changes to the roster. Further complicating the club’s offseason plans is the status of Burnes’s fellow ace Brandon Woodruff, who underwent shoulder surgery earlier in the offseason and is expected to miss most or perhaps even all of the 2024 season, though he hopes to be back sometime next summer.
Tumultuous as the coming offseason might be, the outlook in Milwaukee isn’t entirely bleak. Outfielder Jackson Chourio is widely considered one of the top two prospects in the entire sport. The club’s farm system sports three other top 100 prospects per MLB Pipeline. Those prospects could help to supplement a core of quality players at the big league level that includes catcher William Contreras, right-hander Freddy Peralta, closer Devin Williams, and outfielders Christian Yelich and Garrett Mitchell, among others. Even if Burnes and Adames are dealt this offseason, the club has the pieces to remain competitive in a relatively weak NL Central division if they choose to supplement the roster rather than engage in a larger teardown.