Stunning. Shocking. Betrayal. Craig Counsell will leave the Milwaukee Brewers and it's not just that he left, it's the team that he left for that has stunned Brewers fans and the baseball world.
Craig Counsell will be the next manager of the Chicago Cubs.
Reports were coming out on Monday that Counsell had settled on his next team. The Guardians hired Stephen Vogt. They were out. The Mets then hired Carlos Mendoza. They were out. It appeared that Counsell was going to be coming back to Milwaukee.
But then, reports surfaced that there were other teams involved and then that the job he took didn't have a current opening. That left most of the jobs in baseball as possibilities. Of all the jobs Counsell could've taken, he took the job that stung the worst: The Chicago Cubs.
Craig Counsell taking the Cubs manager job is a shocking development that will complicate how he's received in Milwaukee in the future.
It's almost impossible to believe that Counsell, who grew up a Brewers fan and grew up in Whitefish Bay and was born to be a Brewer seemingly would leave the job here for a bitter rival like Chicago. All throughout this process, Counsell was pushing to reset the bar for managerial pay and he would likely take the highest offer he received.
The highest offer came from the Cubs, it appears, and the Brewers weren't willing to match. For the Cubs, this is an incredibly smart play. Counsell is a top notch manager and has managed circles around Chicago for years. They knew that, so why not make a play for him and if they can get him, great, if not, they force the Brewers to pay even more for him.
According to Jon Heyman, Counsell will receive the biggest managerial contract in baseball history. The Brewers weren't willing to make that happen and now suffer having to watch the best manager in baseball not only leave them, but leave them for their bitter rival, who they'll have to play over and over again going into the future.
Counsell will be getting a five year contract worth more than $40MM, which will come out to $8+MM per year.
The Cubs did not ask for the Brewers permission to interview Counsell, waiting until November 1st to talk to him when they could without permission. All of this came together over the last six days.