Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell is meeting with the Cleveland Guardians to discuss their managerial vacancy, according to multiple reports.
Counsell to Cleveland?
The Guardians had received permission to interview Counsell on Friday after requesting to meet with him on Wednesday.
Counsell, who’s been the Brewers’ manager since 2015, is going to Progressive Field to meet with the Guardians, according to the Associated Press.
The manager has led the Brewers to the postseason five times in the last six years, including two NL Central pennants. His contract with Milwaukee is set to expire this week, but the Brewers are allowing him to explore other options before trying to negotiate out a deal to keep him with the crew. The New York Mets have also taken a liking to Counsell and could probably offer him far more money than what the Brewers and Guardians could provide.
Cleveland’s now former manager Terry Francona, is stepping down after being the club’s skipper since 2012. Francona, the winningest manager in club history, has decided to step down after this season.
Will Sammon, the former Brewers beat writer for The Athletic, said that the Guardians would be something similar to the small-market that Milwaukee operates in.
“People within the industry insisted that Cleveland, another small-market team that operates much like Milwaukee, could make a serious financial pitch to Counsell…The Guardians’ front-office group operates in a forward-thinking way — Similar to the Brewers before and after Stearns — and that might hold some appeal to Counsell.”
Counsell does have some connection to Cleveland in a funny way; He hit a game-tying sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series in which the Florida Marlins were able to beat Cleveland and bring home the title.
With David Stearns now operating as the President of Baseball Operations for the New York Mets, many Brewers fans thought that Counsell would follow him as they seemed to work well together when Stearns was in Milwaukee. However, the better option might be Cleveland. Counsell is used to operating in the small-market, and going to New York would probably a whole new wake-up call for the manager.
There’s no denying that Brewers fans would love to keep Counsell in Milwaukee. Under his managerial tenure, Christian Yelich won the MVP award, Corbin Burnes won the Cy Young Award, Devin Williams won Rookie of the Year, and they made it one game shy of the World Series in 2018.
Some have been frustrated, however, that the Brewers have yet to make it to a World Series under Counsell’s guidance. Many thought that he would be the manager that would help his team go all the way. But, year after year, he’s continued to show how successful he is as a manager with the Brewers improving their records each year.
The Guardians have also interviewed other candidates such as former Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt, who is considered to be one of Cleveland’s top candidates.
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