The Chicago Cubs formally introduced Craig Counsell as their new manager with a press conference on Monday. It was the first time the media had the opportunity to ask Counsell questions about the surprising move from Milwaukee to Chicago, and Counsell spoke about why he was sold on coming to the Cubs.
“From a baseball standpoint, I think I saw quickly that the organization is just in great health, and Jed presented a very compelling vision of that,” Counsell said. “It is the right time to be a Cub. There is momentum happening here, and it feels close. And that means there's a really exciting future ahead of us. Now it's my job to be part of taking us to the next level, and that's the plan.”
Before joining the Cubs, Counsell managed the Brewers for nine years, so he had a front row seat to the numerous changes the Cubs have undergone– from underdogs, to World Series Champs, to rebuilds and back to surprise contenders. Counsell praised the new core the Cubs have built and pointed to the 83 wins in 2023 as proof that the team is close to taking the next step again.
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“What you have to be careful about is that what happened last year does not indicate this year. I think teams are different. I've used this analogy for a long time: there's a soup made and it can be the same players, but it's gonna taste a little different next year when grandma makes it, you know what I mean? So it's always a little different. You have to create a new dynamic every single year, no matter what's going on. So there'll be players that have had wonderful years last year that not so much and then vice versa. But there's a solid core and a solid foundation. That speaks to the health I think of the organization. And that speaks to a bright future.”
Of course a sizable pay bump likely played a sizable role in Counsell’s decision to head south. Multiple reports say Counsell signed a whopping five-year, $40 million contract. The $8 million average annual value is by far the most money in MLB, and reportedly more than double what he was making with the Brewers.