WisBusiness: Attanasio says Brewers' payroll reflects confidence in team
By Gregg Hoffmann
The Milwaukee Brewers' payroll has climbed to over $100 million for the first time in team history.
Principal owner Mark Attanasio said that reflects ownership's confidence in the team's ability to win.
"Our No. 1 goal here is to win," Attanasio said. "The term 'all in' makes me uncomfortable, but I do think it shows confidence in this team. If we didn't feel comfortable with the team we wouldn't have this payroll."
Attanasio said GM Doug Melvin and the management team have replaced star Prince Fielder with several players, who have added to the club depth. "You can't replace Prince Fielder with one player," he said.
"Virtually any team that is in a position to compete has kept a balance in their payroll. With the exception of the Tigers, the teams have under 60 percent of their payroll committed to their top five players. You have to surround your star players with very good players. It takes 25, even 30 players, over the course of a season."
The Brewers had a $27 million payroll when Attanasio's management team took over ownership. "We've tried to manage the payroll prudently," he said. "We have moved from a small market to mid-market team. We'll never be a big market, but we've progressed.
"I say we, but it's really the fans and community that have allowed it, with 3 million through the turnstiles. Our retail sales were up 40 percent last year. We have 100 sponsors now. It's been the whole community getting behind the effort."
Attanasio praised Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke as keys to the Brewers' on-the-field success. He acknowledged that he has been in negotiations with both about contract extensions.
"Doug and Ron are so thoroughly professional that they have been focused on getting the team ready for the season," Attanasio said. "We have been talking, but there is no timetable at this point."
Attanasio said the club also will be talking with pitcher Zack Greinke, who has hired Casey Close as a new agent. "There has been a sea change in dealing with agents since I have been here," he said. "Milwaukee is a great destination. It's more fun to play with the roof under good conditions before a full house.
"Agents would basically say 'we'll get back to you' when we would inquire in the early years. Now the calls are incoming to us."
Attanasio made his comments before Opening Day on Friday.
-- Hoffmann covered his 35th Brewers opener Friday. He writes for Game Day, the Brewers' magazine, publishes http://www.midwestdiamondreport.com and writes the GreenBiz feature for WisBusiness.com.
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