As the details of now former Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell's move to the rival Chicago Cubs to accept the same title have come to light, the timeline of events since just before his contract officially expired at the end of last month has gotten clearer and clearer.
Most recently, Counsell took interviews with the Cleveland Guardians and New York Mets for their open managerial positions. Then, at some point after Counsell's contract expired on October 31st, the Cubs, who didn't have an opening at manager at the time, got in the mix under the radar and made him an offer, 5 years and $40MM to be exact, that he couldn't refuse.
It seemed to be generally believed that Counsell would likely allow the Brewers to match offers from other teams once he had them in hand. And in fact, it was reported today by multiple parties that Milwaukee put an offer of $5.5MM per year on the table prior to this last weekend as a starting point.
So while most were under the impression that it would be offers from the Guardians and Mets that the Brewers would be attempting to beat, it turns out that the Cubs fell into that group as well. As it turns out, Milwaukee owner Mark Attanasio apparently never had that chance after all.
The Brewers reportedly never had a final chance to match the Cubs' offer to manager Craig Counsell.
In Attanasio's comments in the wake of Counsell's departure from Milwaukee, he never quite gave a clear answer as to whether the Brewers got a chances to up their offer to bring their manager back for 2024. That was before a teaser that came out later in the day on X (formerly Twitter).
According to a post on X from the 620 WTMJ account, Attanasio was quoted as saying that, "there was not an opportunity for a last look," in regards to the contract negotiations with Counsell.
That sure is different than how everyone seemed to think the Counsell process would shake out. So did Counsell ever plan on allowing the Brewers to beat other teams' offers or was he actually planning to leave all along? Or was the Cubs' offer just that unexpectedly good that he had no choice but to accept it?
Either way, it makes the whole thing sting even more for Brewers fans. There was always hope that the beloved hometown boy would spurn everyone else's advances and come back home. Not only did that not happen, he may have never wanted to in the first place.
It's just another weird twist in a stunning final act of the Craig Counsell saga, one that will take a long time for Brewers fans to get over and forget.