Lorenzo Cain gives a scathing opinion on the management of brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers appear to be falling apart in the 2022 season. Since the trade deadline, everything has been downhill. Why? According to the former brewer Lorenzo Cainthe management of the team turned the chemistry upside down.

In this week’s Brewers Beat newsletter on MLB.com, Adam McCalvy interviews Lorenzo Cain, who joins the Denver squad for the clubhouse fantasy football draft as the defending league champion. Cain offered some interesting quotes that don’t paint a rosy picture of what’s going on at 1 Brewers Way.

Former Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain is critical of how management has messed up team chemistry and club culture.

For at least the last month, fans and outside observers have noticed that something is wrong with this Brewers team. They don’t look or look anything like the team we saw in April and May. They also don’t look like any of the teams from previous seasons.

When asked if he missed playing baseball, that’s what Cain had to say.

“I have my days once in a while, but for the most part, not really,” he said. “I’ve been following the team from afar and I see they’re struggling a bit. I wouldn’t say I saw that coming, but I feel like when you mess with the chemistry of the team, things like this can happen.

Cain wasn’t directly asked about the team’s chemistry or how they’ve been playing lately, and came up with that on his own. He was keen to point out that the organization has messed up team chemistry in the clubhouse and meltdowns like the one we see now tend to happen when chemistry is messed up mid-season.

“Analytics doesn’t judge or measure a person’s heart or a team’s chemistry. Some guys need a certain level of comfort, and by playing together they complement each other. You walk into the locker room saying, ‘I’m comfortable today. I can talk about anything with my friends, go out and relax. When you move guys around, especially when you started out with a certain group, you slowly start to lose that. It can definitely affect the win/loss column, that’s for sure.

Does it refer directly to the Hader trade? Or his own departure? Both moves seemed to disrupt the clubhouse culture as both were respected team members who were loved by everyone in that room.

Things definitely got out of hand after Hader was traded, but Cain’s departure came sooner and may have set this group up for another meltdown once Hader was sent packing.

This next quote is quite damning and unexpected.

“I mean, it is what it is,” Cain said. “That’s one of the reasons we sort of broke up; Honestly, I feel like I never got that respect as a veteran, as a leader of this team, from some coaches and some senior executives. That’s mostly why we broke up when we did.

From the outside, Cain has always seemed like the most respected member of this clubhouse. He has a World Series ring, he’s been there a long time and the players seemed to lean on him a lot. But according to Cain, it wasn’t like that from some coaches or upper management.

Is he referring to Craig Counsell? David Stearns? Matt Arnold? Marc Attanasio? Who are the coaches and upper management who didn’t respect him as a veteran leader? He hasn’t named any names, and it’s unlikely he ever will, but it’s surprising considering how other players who have been on this team and come from across the league to rave about clubhouse culture in Milwaukee.

” It was not [about] play every day, because I know I was struggling a bit,” said Cain, who was hitting .179 with a .465 OPS through 156 plate appearances at the time he was cut. “It goes back not only to this year, but to years and years. I have felt like this for three years. I think when you’re having fun with it, when you’re supposed to be the leader of the team, the clubhouse veteran, and you don’t get the respect that you think you should have as a leader and veteran, I think that makes it harder for me to lead and for some guys to lead as well. Ultimately, it shows in a big way when you go out and play on the pitch.

According to Cain, it didn’t just start in 2022. Three years ago, he felt that this organization had toyed with clubhouse culture. Including this year, it takes us back to 2020 where things started to go wrong. Unless it also refers to 2019, which is possible, but what changes have been made?

“I definitely think the boys can turn things around, but yeah, when you’re going through tough times, you need certain guys to keep the guys going. I think that’s one of the reasons it was hard to get the funk guys out. When you get rid of certain guys, when you start playing with clubhouse chemistry, it affects everyone. It’s happening right now. I hope they can turn things around, because you can see it’s been weird. Something is wrong, that’s for sure.

I’m curious what types he is referring to. For this year, it could be his downfall and Josh Hader, which could be at the origin of this implosion. The Hader trade certainly feels that way, but it also goes back years.

Was it letting mike mustakas walking? He was a respected veteran leader in the clubhouse. Was it losing Yasmani Grandal? Wade Miley? Was it trade Jesus Aguilar during a playoff race? Daniel Vogelbach? Corey Knebel? Jeremy Jeffress? Orlando Arcia? Manny Pina?

Was it the combination of all of the above?

All of these players were important elements in the clubhouse, either with the energy and fun they brought, or with veteran leadership. They fit the culture well and were loved by their teammates and fans. All left the organization not exactly by their own choice.

The Brewers did not want to pay to keep Moustakas or Grandal. They didn’t want to bring Wade Miley back despite his low cost. They traded Jesus Aguilar for very little in return simply because he was in a crisis. Vogelbach was unsubmitted despite being a productive player and a beloved player. Knebel was traded because the Brewers wouldn’t pay him $5 million despite being a good closer when healthy. Jeffress was left unceremoniously despite all he did for the organization. Orlando Arcia was traded in the first week of the season last year after being a key member of the club for a long time. Manny Pina was a longtime leader of the club house that they let walk this past offseason.

According to Cain, there is no shortage of key veterans and key clubhouse executives who have come and gone in recent years, seemingly destroying clubhouse culture. Management felt they could simply replace these players in terms of on-field production for less, but the loss of their clubhouse presence cannot be replaced.

His quote at the end “Something is definitely wrong.” reiterates what many already knew. There is something wrong with this team and this clubhouse. We don’t just imagine it, it’s true. Whether or not you believe the rest of what Cain says, that last part is absolutely true. Something is wrong.

Lorenzo Cain isn’t usually a vocal guy, and he didn’t take the decision to criticize this organization lightly. It’s serious enough that Cain felt the need to comment and offer his side.

Could these be sour grapes from a player who was released just after reaching 10 years of service? Potentially. But Cain doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would say things like that because of sour grapes. Apparently it’s been years, it’s not just this year with his departure.

From the outside, it looked like the Brewers were always mindful of team chemistry and working to get some good guys from the clubhouse. But apparently that may not be the case.

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