The free agency tour for Brewers manager Craig Counsell appears to be coming close to an end. Counsell has wanted to seek out what he could earn on the open market, has interviewed with the Guardians and Mets, and now is closing in on a decision, per reports.
Counsell has gone out to collect his offers from other teams and maximized his leverage to get the best possible offers. Now, it appears he won't be interviewing with the Astros or Angels for their openings and instead is going to decide between those two teams and the only franchise he's ever managed for, the Milwaukee Brewers.
All along, it's been believed that Counsell would see what the offers were elsewhere, then give the Brewers the opportunity to match the top offer and as long as the Brewers were willing to match, he'd return to Milwaukee. It appears the ball is now in the Brewers' court as owner Mark Attanasio has to decide if he'll match the top salary offer that Counsell has received.
It's not yet known what the Guardians and Mets have offered Counsell in terms of salary, but it's become clear that setting a new bar for managerial salary has been the priority for Counsell. The top offer is going to win.
Counsell is home with the Brewers. He grew up and still lives in Whitefish Bay, he played here, he grew up rooting for the Brewers, and that's something that no other city is going to provide. The only thing the Guardians, Mets, or any other team could have that could top the Brewers is the money. That's the only convincing factor they have. The Mets have a lot more money than the Guardians, but the Guardians had the previous highest paid manager in baseball, so they could be willing to pay big for Counsell, too.
The General Managers Meetings get underway on Tuesday and Counsell wants to get his new contract finalized before then, or at least before the end of them. According to the New York Post, Counsell's decision is expected within a day or two, so we'll soon learn if Counsell is back in Milwaukee or if the Brewers need to find a new manager.
Counsell's decision is holding up the managerial hiring market. All the teams with openings are waiting on what Counsell will do before they move forward with someone else. They don't want to take themselves out of the running while there's still a chance.
This process will soon all be over. As long as the Brewers are willing to match the top offer, it's believed Counsell will be back in Milwaukee in 2024.