Bold prediction made about Craig Counsell's first season with Chicago Cubs

Craig Counsell will look to top Joe Maddon's first season with the Cubs in 2015.

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The Craig Counsell show begins in earnest for the Chicago Cubs on Thursday when the team plays the Texas Rangers on Opening Day.

Backed by off-season additions of Hector Neris, Michael Busch, Shota Imanaga, and the return of Cody Bellinger; the Cubs are entering a season where the expectation is that they will win the National League Central.

While there is no doubt that those moves were needed for a Cubs' roster that missed the post-season by one game in 2023, the most important addition to the team will be Counsell.

Jed Hoyer's front office has proven with each season that they are comfortable moving the needle just enough to the point where they believe they should outperform external projections. Counsell's predecessor, David Ross, was not the right fit for a team with that expectation.

That is the likely reason why the Cubs were quick to make Counsell the richest manager in the history of Major League Baseball last November.

Craig Counsell's true value to the Chicago Cubs will be determined during the 2024 season.

Counsell is the most important person in the Cubs' clubhouse and that should be the reason why the prediction made in the New York Post should be no surprise. In his prediction for the 2024 season, MLB Insider Jon Heyman named Counsell the National League Manager of the Year.

The last time a Cubs' manager won the Manager of the Year award was Joe Maddon in 2015. Maddon managed the Cubs to the NLCS in his first season with the team. Of course, Maddon and the Cubs won the World Series the very next season.

The Cubs are paying Counsell to be the best manager in the National League and he will need to prove it during the 2024 season. If the Cubs are headed toward a deep post-season run in 2024, it will be based on Counsell and not the "good enough" roster the front office was comfortable with.

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