Front-office news doesn't shock players

Braun praises Melvin's GM run; clubhouse keeps focus on field

Front-office news doesn't shock players

CHICAGO -- On a day that significant news broke out of the Brewers' front office, it was business as usual in the cramped visitor's clubhouse at Wrigley Field.

One prominent player hadn't heard of Doug Melvin's decision to begin easing out of general manager duties until he arrived at the ballpark and saw it on MLB Network. Others said before a 6-3 loss to the Cubs that the news came as little surprise, with Melvin being in the final year of his contract and rumors of front-office changes in store.

"I don't think it changes anything for me," said manager Craig Counsell, who grew close to Melvin during Counsell's three-year stint as a special assistant to the GM. "Maybe how you get there is different, but the vision is to build championship teams. That's not changing."

Right fielder Ryan Braun praised Melvin's tenure, pointing out that the Brewers won the fifth-most regular-season games in the National League from 2005-14. Only the Cardinals, who led the NL with 889 wins in that span, won more often than the Brewers (821) among NL Central teams. The Brewers had three more regular-season wins in that span than the San Francisco Giants, who won three World Series.

"I think we're fortunate he's going to stay on in an advisory role, but beyond that, we're not too concerned with those [front-office matters] at all," Braun said. "It's just an interesting time, as a whole, for the organization. Obviously, there's a lot of transition, both in players and now in front-office stuff as well."

Said catcher Jonathan Lucroy: "We'd heard rumblings about this coming. I know he's been doing this a long time, and the game is only getting more and more complicated in terms of analytics and things going on. I know Doug is more of an old-school guy and goes on gut feel and stuff like that a lot. I think he was ready to start doing something different, so I'm happy for him."

McCalvy on Melvin changing roles

Tuesday's opponent was poignant. The Cubs averaged 69 victories from 2010-14 but currently sit in position for the second NL Wild Card. Now the Brewers are beginning their own rebuild.

"Look, the biggest challenge is our division is better than it's ever been," Braun said. "It's the best division in baseball, and it's significantly better than it was just a few years ago. I don't think our team is much different now than where we've been in the last few years. I would argue our pitching is as good, if not better, than it's ever been.

"We have three young pitchers [Wily Peralta, Jimmy Nelson and Taylor Jungmann] who are really good, they have good stuff, and they're all making the minimum. As we all know, the most valuable commodity in baseball is pre-arbitration [pitchers] who are good. You have three guys to build a rotation around. We've never had that. That's encouraging."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.