Dale Sveum will be back as Milwaukee’s hitting coach, according to Adam McCalvy, despite the fact that the team still doesn’t have a manager.
Sveum told 1250 WSSP that he was told that he was no longer in the running for the Pittsburgh managing post, but that the Brewers did give him a two-year extension to remain hitting coach. McCalvy has the transcript of the comments (which include a shot at Ken Macha’s managing style), but if you want to hear it for yourself, you can do so at WSSP’s site (.mp3 file).
I don’t know how much of an effect Sveum has actually had on the team’s hitters, but it’s hard to argue with the production the team has been putting up under his watch. Of course, that could just be because guys like Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun are really, really good at hitting baseballs.
Supporters of Sveum could point to him “fixing” the swings of Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks, allowing Hart to hit for more power and Weeks to keep his wrists healthy. Critics could point to him taking until September to figure out that Alcides Escobar‘s swing sucks. The fact that the players do seem to like him — at least compared to Ken Macha — is probably a good thing, though. There’s absolutely no way to prove it, but I’d be willing to bet that players are more receptive to coaching from Sveum than they were to say, Jim Skaalen or Butch Wynegar.
It is a little curious that the Brewers now have their pitching and hitting coaches in place before they even hire a manager, but McCalvy’s report does say that all four finalists for the job are on board with Sveum returning. Now, that could be interpreted two ways — one, they all are legitimately fine with Sveum returning; two, they’re considered the finalists because they’re fine with him returning. The latter would be a little concerning, but that’s dipping into “Everything Melvin Does Sucks And I Don’t Trust Him” territory.
I’ll elect to take this as a sign that the Brewers are considering a rookie manager — whether that’s Joey Cora or someone else — and just want him to focus on managing the team, rather than managing both the team and his staff. And really, if that’s the case, that’s a good thing.