It's quite rare for a manager, especially a successful one, to enter into a lame duck contract year. Craig Counsell is in the final year of his contract and has not been in any rush to sign an extension with the Brewers.
Because of his contract status, rumors are now starting to swirl.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post, who has seemingly been driving the David-Stearns-To-Queens train for years now, has his latest update on the Mets' pursuit of what the Brewers have.
While the Mets could look to hire away David Stearns, they may reportedly look to hire Craig Counsell away from the Brewers as well.
The Brewers and the fanbase has made their peace with the inevitable departure of David Stearns from Milwaukee. The former President of Baseball Operations stepped down last year after dealing with burnout and needing a break. He still is under contract through the 2023 season and serving as an advisor. It's widely expected Stearns will leave Milwaukee for a different executive job this offseason.
Craig Counsell's contract is up at the end of the year as well. While it's unusual for a manager to be in a lame duck year, because Counsell's contract is up at the same time as Stearns, now the dots are being connected.
Heyman reports that "some suggest" that Craig Counsell could follow David Stearns wherever he's hired. Since Heyman is also reporting that Stearns is expected to go to the Mets, that means Counsell could become the manager of the Mets in 2024.
Also according to Heyman, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio is open to giving Craig Counsell whatever he prefers, whether it's a one year deal or a multi-year deal, or stepping down into a different role as well. It's all up to Counsell and what he wants.
Apparently, teams are somehow calling about Counsell with interest. The Mets aren't the only one and multiple teams somehow are after him.
Another new nugget of information is that Stearns' salary for this season was set to be $5.5MM before he stepped down from the President of Baseball Ops job. The Brewers don't make public the salaries of their executives, so this is news to all of us.
What does this report mean?
Frankly, there's nothing to be overly concerned with yet. Heyman's article is filled with a lot of "could's" and "suggests" and "if's" and "maybe's" and "might's". There's very little certainty or concreteness to the reporting on Counsell and even Stearns. There's a lot that "could" happen, sure. But Stearns and Counsell are both still under contract and nothing is happening on that front anytime soon.
David Stearns is likely out the door at the end of the year. He'll have plenty of suitors when his contract's up. As for if Counsell will follow Stearns, we'll just have to wait and see about that. As much as Stearns and Counsell get along, Counsell choosing to depart his childhood team to follow Stearns joining his childhood team (or any other) may be a difficult bridge to cross.
Time will tell, but Counsell's lame duck contract status is causing rumors to swirl and this may just be the first.