For the Chicago Cubs and their hope of winning the 2024 National League Central division, the future of Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell will have an impact on the competition the team can expect next season.
Counsell's current contract with the Brewers expires on Wednesday and he has already been courted by both the Cleveland Guardians and New York Mets. In each case, the Brewers have allowed Counsell to interview with the interested teams.
What should be made clear is that the Brewers allowing Counsell to interview with the Guardians and Mets is not for the same reasons that the San Diego Padres allowed Bob Melvin to interview and consequently be hired by the San Francisco Giants.
The Padres are in cost-cutting mode and allowing Melvin to be hired away was an easy way for the team to save $4MM. The Brewers are not in cost-saving mode and while some may question why the team would allow Counsell early access in interviewing with interested teams, it does make some sense from a negotiating standpoint.
Counsell's interview with the Guardians is today and chances are that the Brewers' manager will have an offer in hand by the end of the week from one if not both Cleveland and the Mets. From there, Counsell will likely return to the Brewers with a number and it will be on Milwaukee to determine whether or not match.
With the likelihood of Counsell offering the Brewers a chance to match any offer he receives, the ball is entirely in Milwaukee's court and that decision may be an indicator of their direction. If the Brewers fail to match an offer for Counsell, that could be a sign of the team leaning toward taking a step back in 2024. Brandon Woodruff is expected to miss most if not all of the 2024 season and there has been a sense that the Brewers may engage in a soft rebuild that includes a potential trade of Corbin Burnes or Willy Adames. But, before the Brewers make that decision, all eyes are on the future of Counsell.