The Cubs pulled off a coup Monday afternoon by signing Manager Craig Counsell away from the rival Milwaukee Brewers.
The Chicago Cubs shocked the baseball world when they announced that they would be hiring Milwaukee Brewers coach Craig Counsell to be their new manager. This was quite a surprise as they seemed to be sticking with David Ross as the coach in charge for another year or two. But since the news has been confirmed, I will give some thoughts on this as a fan of the Cubs and what this could mean for the team going forward.
So, there is a clear biggest positive that can be seen with this signing. Counsell has proven himself to be a good manager with the Brewers and led them to the playoffs in five of the past six seasons. While they didn’t as get far as the NLCS or the World Series recently, Counsell in the past three years has turned the Brewers into a winning team and the number one team in the NL Central. The Cubs were second this past year and want to make another postseason push next year. They do have the pieces. Cubs have the middle infield of SS Dansby Swanson and 2B Nico Hoerner. They have OFs Seiya Suzuki, Pete Crow-Armstrong, and Ian Happ in the outfield. If they get OF Cody Bellinger back, all they need is more pitching.
With this type of depth along with opportunities in free agency, it can be another good season. But there is also a negative in Counsell: it is his playoff record. Like most teams, the Cubs want another ring. Counsell does not have a lot of deep playoff experience as a manager. That can possibly lead to the Cubs competing, but it is not satisfactory enough. Fans are surprised at the managerial move more than who the actual person is. I for one am accepting that Jed Hoyer did this to show he wants results. Which as a fan is good to see. A more experienced guy with wins and playoff experience is a good start to a new look for the team.
I do not believe that Ross is truly going away. He will probably stick around in the organization helping players in a less-demanding role. Overall, this looks like the Cubs want to make their fans happy with this. Many people were critical of Ross’s decisions late in the season, where the Cubs missed the postseason by only one game. Going to the playoffs and competing again is the goal. Ross did not do a bad job throughout his tenure, but the front office clearly thinks Counsell is worth paying up for.
In the meantime, the Brewers will need to scramble to find a new manager. Craig Counsell is the guy right now in Wrigleyville and we will see if he can be an immediate impact on this team. I look forward to seeing both the new and the old next year and hopefully this time around has a happy ending.
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