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Report: Brewers to name Pat Murphy their next manager

Two men in baseball uniforms smile at the camera with their arms around each other while standing near home plate.
Milwaukee Brewers / Facebook
Pat Murphy (right) with his son, Kai, at Spring Training in March 2023.

In October 2015, Craig Counsell was in the midst of revamping the Milwaukee Brewers coaching staff and asked one of his first coaches to join him in the dugout. Eight years later, it seems that man will take over for Counsell as the team’s manager.

As first reported by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, sources expect the Brewers to name Pat Murphy the franchise’s 20th manager, succeeding Counsell following his shocking departure to lead the Chicago Cubs.

The Brewers (and Counsell) actually had their eye on Murphy earlier in 2015 when he was managing the El Paso Chihuahuas, Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. But the West Coast team didn’t want to let him go and in fact made Murphy their interim manager later that season. He compiled a 42-54 record and was relieved of his duties an hour after the season’s end.

Murphy’s tenure with the Brewers started a few weeks later, and he continued as Counsell’s bench coach through this season. When his former player bolted for Chicago, Murphy was quickly identified as a leading candidate to replace him and in fact spoke to the team about the potential opening prior to Counsell’s departure.

After several interviews with Murphy — and considering other options like former Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly and their own former second baseman Rickie Weeks — the Brewers seemingly decided they had their man and moved quickly to fill the void.

The 65-year-old Murphy obviously knows how things work in the franchise after eight years on staff, which might indicate continuity was important to a club that has found itself in the playoffs more often than not over the past several seasons. Counsell also was frequently lauded for his ability to build chemistry in the clubhouse, another potential factor in the Brewers’ decision.

At the GM meetings in Arizona last week, general manager Matt Arnold emphatically confirmed the team’s interest in Murphy but didn’t go much further into the situation besides addressing what he wanted in the team’s next manager.

"I don't know if it's just, like, one cookie-cutter role," he said. "I think there are a lot of ways to slice the job. I want to start with the best human, is probably the way I would characterize it. I think it's hard to go wrong when you just have, to use the scouting scale, an '80' human.

"So, I think that would be our priority here, is to have the best person possible and then obviously build a staff around that person that can complement them and bring out their strengths."

For the most part, that staff is already built because Counsell and Murphy were the only coaches not under contract for next season. The former ended up 90 miles south. The latter, it seems, will move about 90 centimeters over on the bench to call the shots.