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Is Macha Next?

After all the events on what was called “Black Wednesday” at One Brewers Way, one man managed to escape with his job — manager Ken Macha.  While Bill Castro, J.J. Hardy, and Bill Hall were all shown the door yesterday, Macha will continue to manage this team.  Of course, the question is just how long he’ll be the manager.

During yesterday afternoon’s press conference, Doug Melvin sounded less than enthused about Macha’s performance at this point in the season.  When asked whether Macha should feel nervous, Melvin alluded to the fact that changing managers (again) will be considered.

Some of you will remember that Macha signed a two-year deal upon securing the job this past offseason, a contract that many found as an early sign that the Brewers’ front office wasn’t entirely confident in their new hire.  The Brewers, like most Major League teams, don’t like having their managers answering questions about job security when they’re in the last year of their contract.  As a result, they typically give an extension before the manager enters that final season — it happened with Ned Yost, and many anticipated Macha to get that extension with a reasonably successful season this year.  The only problem?  Macha hasn’t done much to warrant that extension.

We saw what happened to Castro when the entire pitching staff except Yovani Gallardo and Trevor Hoffman underperformed compared to their career numbers.  Hitting coach Dale Sveum may be on the chopping block considering how poorly most of the roster has hit this year, too.  Macha has seemed out of touch with his players at times this year, and has shown a propensity to prefer crappy veterans over promising prospects in his starting lineups — something you don’t want to see when you’re running a small-market club.  The fact that Melvin had to sit Macha down and explain to him that Alcides Escobar will be starting 4 or 5 times a week seems to indicate that the front office wasn’t pleased with how Macha handled Mat Gamel’s time on the active roster and wanted to make sure Craig Counsell wasn’t going to be the everyday shortstop with Hardy in the minors.

The only staff member who’s seemingly done their job well this year is Willie Randolph, who’s connected well with many of the team’s younger players and made the likes of Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder passable defensive players.  It’s only speculation, but to me, it seems logical and entirely possible that Willie Randolph could be this team’s manager at the start of 2010.

I’m curious to know what others think.  Should Macha be brought back?  If not, who should the Brewers target to replace him?