On Monday, the Craig Counsell era officially began in Wrigleyville, as he was introduced as the 56th manager in franchise history in a press conference. As the offseason starts picking up steam, Chicago figures to be in the mix for a number of the top free agents and the trade market could be a major factor, as well.
But when you're paying a manager an amount the game has never seen before, at least on an annual basis, first impressions probably get a little more attention than they otherwise would. It was all eyes on Counsell Monday - and he didn't disappoint.
Craig Counsell is ready to win - and deliver on fans' new expectations
"You walk into Wrigley today, the first day as a Cub and it already starts to mean something. You walk into the history. You walk into the energy. You walk into a place that you already know it demands your best."- Craig Counsell
The expectation, especially with the long-needed renovation of the iconic ballpark and all its facilities, not to mention the new complex in Arizona and the redevelopment of the Wrigleyville neighborhood, frankly, should be winning - period. Yes, the team improved on its 2022 record this year, but winning 83 games and missing the postseason cannot be considered a success for a major market team like the Cubs.
Counsell understands the task at hand: win. It's that simple. Expectations have changed a great deal in the last 7 years - and he is embracing both the end goal and the challenge right out of the gates.