Earlier this month, the Cubs poached a top scout from the Brewers, and now they’re losing another top member of their scouting department.
This time, it’s their VP of International Scouting and Player Personnel getting the bump to AGM with the Red Sox:
From myself and @Ken_Rosenthal: the Red Sox are hiring Brewers VP of International Scouting and Player Personnel Mike Groopman as a new Assistant General Manager. Has an analytics background from his previous stint in K.C. He's expected to officially join soon after the holiday.
— Chad Jennings (@chadjennings22) November 19, 2021
On the one hand, it’s obviously a credit to the Brewers that other orgs are looking to pluck away their top front office talent (including the Mets, who were rebuffed in their attempts to snake team president David Stearns). On the other hand, unless you’re able to continuously replenish that talent like the Rays, you can suffer from some brain drain. In hindsight, it feels like the Cubs may have suffered from it a bit in 2014 to 2017 when they were getting pillaged at the farm level with coaches and execs getting promotions in other organizations (including, at the time, the Cubs losing key personnel – Andy Haines and Derek Johnson – to become the hitting and pitching coaches in Milwaukee).
I’m not saying there’s a one-to-one relationship there with the Cubs’ developmental failings thereafter, nor am I saying the Brewers are going to suddenly struggle at the big league level over the next few years. I am saying only that when you cultivate top coaching and executive talent, you get poached. And when that happens, you have to continue to be excellent at replenishing. It’s not all that unlike how you have to replenish the baseball talent when there is roster change over the years. We’ll keep an eye on this for the Brewers over the coming years.
Meanwhile, the Brewers replenished the loss of baseball talent by bringing in a new back-up catcher:
Catcher Pedro Severino and the Milwaukee Brewers are in agreement on a one-year, $1.9 million contract, pending physical, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. Severino, 28, will join Omar Narvaez at catcher and has incentives in the deal that can earn him another $400,000.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 21, 2021
Severino replaces long-time back-up Manny Pina, who recently signed a two-year deal with the Braves, and who was a quietly significant part of their success. I still wonder how acutely the Brewers will feel that loss.
Severino’s bat has been below average overall, but pretty good for a back-up catcher (.249/.315/.397, 91 wRC+ over his last three years with Baltimore). That said, Severino has never played the kind of defense you’d expect from a back-up catcher without a plus bat. Presumably, the Brewers are banking on being able to do the same magic they did with Omar Narvaez, turning him into a stud behind the plate.