A day before teams across Major League Baseball have to protect players from the Rule 5 draft, the Milwaukee Brewers shielded a key member of their front office from other teams.
Matt Arnold was promoted by the Brewers to General Manager and Senior Vice President, the team announced Thursday. Arnold, 41, has been Assistant General Manager since 2015, when David Stearns was hired as GM. Stearns signed a contract extension in 2019 and added the title of President of Baseball Operations to his GM duties. With this move, Stearns loses his GM title, but remains head of baseball ops.
“We’ve operated in a partnership mentality for some time now, so I don’t see much from a day-to-day perspective-changing,” Stearns said on a conference call.
Arnold has been the No. 1 assistant since joining the Brewers from the Tampa Bay Rays. He has interviewed for a handful of GM jobs, including being a finalist for the Pittsburgh Pirates‘ opening in 2019, and the Los Angeles Angels‘ vacancy this year.
Promoting Arnold to GM requires other teams to receive permission from the Brewers to interview for a lateral position. Other teams this offseason with GM openings remaining are the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. The Brewers this week denied Stearns the opportunity to interview with the Mets.
“I am excited about the opportunity to continue to partner with the Attanasio family and our incredible leadership team of David Stearns and (manager) Craig Counsell along with our entire staff. I am eager to carry on our collective efforts as we seek to bring a championship to Milwaukee.” Arnold said in the statement announcing the move.
The setup of having a decision-maker above the GM level for player personnel is a growing trend across MLB. But Stearns said he doesn’t expect any structural changes following Arnold’s promotion.
“He has contributed to every significant decision we have made and has offered indispensable advice and support throughout his time with the Brewers,” Stearns said. “Today’s announcement formalizes how we have operated over the last few years. This move provides Matt with the deserved recognition of his tireless work. And ensures that our baseball operations leadership group remains intact.”
The Brewers have the fifth-best winning percentage (373-336, .526) since Stearns and Arnold took over after the 2015 season. They have also qualified for the playoffs in a franchise-best three consecutive seasons.
Matt Arnold has been in baseball for 20 years and was director of player personnel with the Rays before joining Milwaukee.
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