It was news that stunned the baseball world last Monday when it was announced that the Milwaukee Brewers now former manager Craig Counsell would be taking over as the manager for the I-94 rival, the Chicago Cubs. For the first time, MLB fans got to see Counsell in a different version of pinstripes.
Craig Counsell Shocks Baseball World
With Craig Counsell becoming the 56th manager in Cubs history, he also will be the highest-paid manager in baseball history. It was a fast and swift process according to Counsell, and it was a decision that he felt was right for him.
“It’s time to be a Cub,” Counsell said on Monday. “There is momentum happening here, and it feels close. And that means there’s a really exciting future ahead of us, and now it’s my job to be a art of taking us to the next level. And that’s the plan.”
The Cubs dismissed David Ross as manager, who was a member of the 2016 World Series Championship team. But the change in direction is what Chicago needs as they head into a new transitional period with Counsell as their new skipper.
Craig Counsell’s contract with the Cubs is a five-year deal worth in the ballpark of $40 million. The Brewers had made him an offer that would’ve made him MLB’s highest-paid manager, earning $5 million per year, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.
Many Brewers fans were upset with the announcement, felt that Counsell had betrayed the fanbase that supported and loved him for the nine years he was a manager of the crew. Counsell told media that he understands the emotions are flying high, and understands it’s going to hit people hard, but it’s a job, and it’s something he wants to be good at no matter where he is.
“I understand the emotion, and I underestimated the emotion of that all, and that’s probably why it hits you so hard,” Counsell said. “As a day like this happens to me and my family, I know what my task is now and what my job is now, and I want to be good at my job.”
He did praise the Cubs for all the changes they’ve undergone since winning the World Series in 2016 including a rebuild and then being surprise contenders in the NL Central. The Cubs had 83 wins in 2023, and kept the Brewers on their toes as they made their final push for the NL Central Pennant. Counsell said that this is a good push in the right direction for Chicago.
“What you have to be careful about is that what happened last year does not indicate this year. I think teams are different. I’ve used this analogy for a long time: there’s a soup made and it can be the same players, but it’s gonna taste a little different next year when grandma makes it, you know what I mean? So it’s always a little different.
“You have to create a new dynamic every single year, no matter what’s going on. So there’ll be players that have had wonderful years last year that not so much and then vice versa. But there’s a solid core and a solid foundation. That speaks to the health I think of the organization. And that speaks to a bright future.”
Craig Counsell hopes to “provide some new thoughts and ideas about how to improve a process, a new way to think about how to manage a roster during the season.” He took this position because he wanted a new challenge, something different out of Milwaukee, where he spent 17 years as part of the organization.
It was an emotional week for Counsell, said that it was harder than he imagined it was going to be, but he is thankful for his time with the team.
“My time in Milwaukee as working for the Brewers was wonderful, and the experience has been pretty darn good, and I’m thankful for that, very thankful for that. It’s different now, I get it, I understand it, but I hope we can all looking back on it be very thankful for it.”
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