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Craig Counsell Rumors
The Brewers announced late last night that they’ve relieved manager Rob Roenicke of his duties, and shortly after, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that longtime Major League infielder Craig Counsell, who has been serving as a special assistant to GM Doug Melvin, would be tabbed as the new skipper in Milwaukee. The club took home a tough-fought win tonight in Counsell’s first game at the helm.
Here are some notes arising out of the switch…
- Roenicke himself expressed surprise and disappointment at the decision, writes MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. “I told Doug I wished it would have happened a week ago,” Roenicke said, referring to the club’s back-to-back weekend victories over the division-rival Cubs. “I would have understood it better then.” Melvin said that he feels he gave Roenicke every opportunity that he could to right the ship, but ultimately making a change felt like the right thing to do.
- In a second piece from McCalvy, Roenicke says that he would like to manage again and is open to coaching roles as well. He says his one regret is that the Brewers didn’t win more games to open the season, but he knew when he took the job that this type of situation was possible. “When you go to manage, you know that’s a real good possibility,” said Roenicke. “It’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of when. You know you have a couple of years, three years, to prove that you can do the job, and if you don’t and the team’s not winning, you’re going to be fired.”
- Roenicke’s early departure is somewhat unusual, but not without precedent, as MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby writes. Only 19 managers have been fired within a season’s first 25 games, says Ringolsby, who notes that the earliest-ever hooks were made by the 1988 Orioles (Cal Ripken, Sr.) and 2002 Tigers (Phil Garner).
- Milwaukee felt comfortable giving Counsell a three-year contract due in part to his knowledge of the organization’s minor league system, McCalvy tweets. A potential “reset” at the big league level would be easier to accomplish given that familiarity, according to GM Doug Melvin.
- In an appearance on MLB Network this morning (video link), Counsell discussed the opportunity to manage his hometown team means to him. He said that attention to detail and dedication to understanding the game are the kinds of lessons he hopes to impart upon his club on a day-to-day basis. Counsell stressed that he does not foresee instituting wholesale change, but rather will focus on the “little things.”
- Counsell has been advised that he can add to the club’s coaching staff, tweets McCalvy. Understandably, given the timing, Counsell is still weighing that decision.
10:20am: The Brewers have officially announced the hiring of Counsell to a three-year contract that runs through the 2017 season. In a statement within the press release announcing the move, Melvin offered the following statement on his new manager:
“Craig has many years of Major League playing experience, and his three-plus years of learning all aspects of baseball operations helps prepare him for this managerial position. There will be challenges, but Craig has never shied away from leadership responsibilities on the field as a player or in his most recent role. I believe his on-field success as a player and his awareness for preparation should resonate in the clubhouse. Growing up in Milwaukee, it is very important for him to bring a winning culture and team success to Brewers fans.”
MAY 4, 7:26am: The Brewers view Counsell as a long-term replacement and will give him a multi-year contract, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).
MAY 3: The Brewers will hire Craig Counsell as their next manager, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The team announced the firing of Ron Roenicke Sunday night and will formally announce their new hire Monday morning.
Counsell is currently a special assistant to Brewers GM Doug Melvin. He was a finalist for the Rays managerial job this past offseason, but he withdrew his name from consideration in order to stay on with the Milwaukee front office, where he has worked with the Brewers front office since retiring as a player.
Counsell has no managerial experience, although he’s regarded well enough in the industry to have been considered not only for the Rays job, but for the Red Sox’ hitting coach position, for which he interviewed in 2012. He is far from the first manager to be hired without prior experience, as there’s been a growing trend of hiring rookie managers in recent years. Paul Molitor (Twins), Kevin Cash (Rays), Walt Weiss (Rockies), Mike Matheny (Cardinals), Bryan Price (Reds) and Brad Ausmus (Tigers) are all examples of recent hires that had no prior experience as a manager in the Majors or Minor Leagues.
The 44-year-old Counsell spent parts of 16 seasons in the Majors as a player, including with the Brewers in 2004 and from 2007 through the end of his career in 2011. He hit .255/.342/.344 while playing mostly second, third and shortstop. Counsell also played key roles in World Series wins for the 1997 Marlins and 2001 Diamondbacks, winning the NLCS MVP award in 2001.
Counsell will inherit a Brewers team that got off to a poor 7-18 start. Melvin has suggested the Brewers could begin trading veteran players in an effort to rebuild, a process Counsell evidently would then oversee.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Two-time Cy Young winner Bret Saberhagen is looking to get back into Major League Baseball as either a pitching coach or bullpen coach, reports MLBTR’s Zach Links (on Twitter). The 50-year-old Saberhagen enjoyed an excellent 16-year career with the Royals, Mets, Red Sox and Rockies, pitching to a 167-117 record with a 3.34 ERA and 1,715 strikeouts against just 471 walks in 2,562 2/3 innings. He was the MVP of the 1985 World Series as a 21-year-old — the same season in which he captured his first Cy Young.
Here are some more miscellaneous notes from around the league…
- Free agent Jason Kubel is currently coaching little league and isn’t looking to latch on with a Major League team at this time, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Kubel, who has earned $31MM in his career, returned to the Twins on a minor league deal this past season but hit .224/.313/.295 before being designated for assignment. The career .262/.330/.448 hitter belted a career-high 30 homers as recently as 2012 with the D’Backs, though he’s struggled in two seasons since.
- In a lengthy and excellent piece, Grantland’s Ben Lindbergh looks back at the longest “transaction trees” of each Major League club. Lindbergh examined each member of each team’s 40-man roster and how they came to be a part of the organization, then determined which player’s origin could be traced the furthest. For example, did you know that Mark Trumbo‘s presence on the D’Backs can be traced all the way back to the team’s signing of Greg Aquino back in 1995? How about the fact that both Brian Duensing and Lester Oliveros came to be on the Twins as an indirect result of the team’s selection of Chuck Knoblauch in the 1989 draft? Lindbergh’s piece is a thoroughly enjoyable read for transaction lovers.
- Craig Counsell has pulled himself out of the running for the Rays‘ managerial gig, reports MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. Counsell, a special assistant to Brewers GM Doug Melvin, enjoys his current front office role, he explained to McCalvy. Still, he did at least entertain the offer by taking part in a phone interview for the Rays position, McCalvy writes.
- The Red Sox will promote Raquel Ferreria from senior director of minor league operations to vice president of baseball administration, reports WEEI.com’s Alex Speier. That promotion will make Ferreria, along with Kim Ng and Yankees SVP/assistant GM Jean Afterman, the third female to ascend to a position of VP or higher, Speier writes. Boston director of player development Ben Crockett describes Ferreria as “the glue that holds the farm system together.” Ferreria will continue to oversee minor league operations (individual affiliates, transactions, contracts) and will also be responsible for the Major League (non-payroll) budget and handling immigration and work visa issues, according to Speier. GM Ben Cherington spoke glowingly of Ferreria: “The best thing I can say is in the 16 years now, I can’t remember her making a mistake. I can’t.”
Blockbuster trades motivated by one team's desire for financial flexibility (AKA a salary dump) like the Marlins-Blue Jays deal or the Red Sox-Dodger swap are nothing new in baseball history. On this date in 1947, the St. Louis Browns and the Boston Red Sox began a two-day trading frenzy involving 13 players (four Browns and nine Red Sox) and the Browns receiving $375K (worth nearly $3.1MM in today's dollars). Here's the latest news, notes, and comments from the present-day American League:
- The Yankees continue to have conversations with free agent outfielder Scott Hairston, writes the New York Post's Dan Martin. Hairston would bring a right-handed power bat to the outfield mix and could fit into a platoon, as the Yankees have already had preliminary discussions to bring back Raul Ibanez.
- The Yankees still want to trim payroll to $189MM by 2014 for luxury tax and revenue sharing refund purposes, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders if Hal Steinbrenner isn't risking a brand worth billions for the millions the team would earn by doing so.
- If the Tigers fail to re-sign Anibal Sanchez, the signing of Torii Hunter will still make the offseason a success, team president and GM Dave Dombrowski told George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press. "We'll see where other things take us," Dombrowski said. "If we end up with this major move (Hunter) being our major move of the winter, I would be very happy."
- The Indians have yet to set their 2013 budget, but it is expected to be in the neighborhood of this past season's $65MM, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes. As a result of this "fluid" situation, GM Chris Antonetti must take any intriguing proposals to ownership.
- Also in that article, Hoynes lists the five best and five worst free agent signings by the Tribe.
- The Red Sox will interview Craig Counsell and Greg Colbrunn for their hitting coach opening, reports Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Counsell, a special assistant to Brewers GM Doug Melvin, will interview tomorrow while Colbrunn, the hitting instructor for the Yankees' Single-A affiliate in Charleston, is in the process of being scheduled for another time during the week. The Red Sox have already interviewed their minor league hitting coordinator Victor Rodriguez, former Diamondbacks hitting coach Rick Schu, and Braves assistant hitting coach Scott Fletcher.
Some links pertaining to the game's largest division…
- Despite a slew of injuries, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio told reporters (including MLB.com's Adam McCalvy) he won't give up on the 2012 season. The Brew Crew will be without Chris Narveson and Mat Gamel for the remainder of the season, while Alex Gonzalez's season is in doubt after a knee injury, and Carlos Gomez was placed on the DL. Ryan Braun is also not 100 percent, as he's dealing with an ailing Achilles Tendon in his right foot.
- Longtime Brewers infielder Craig Counsell has contemplated returning in the last 24 hours, tweets McCalvy, but for the time being he isn't anticipating a comeback.
- The Cubs hope the recently-DFAed Blake DeWitt will clear waivers, as they'd like to keep him in their organization, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com (Twitter link).
- Earlier today, the Cubs released Triple-A right-hander Dan Berlind.
Infielder Craig Counsell will retire as a ballplayer and join the Brewers' front office, tweets Scott Miller of CBS Sports. The Wisconsin native is known for his quirky stance and involvement in the winning scoring plays of the 1997 and 2001 World Series.
Counsell spent most of his 16-year big league career at second base, third base, and shortstop, hitting .255/.342/.344 for the Rockies, Marlins, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Brewers. According to Baseball-Reference, he earned almost $21MM along the way.
Let's round up the latest rumors on a few members of this winter's free agent class:
- Agent Paul Kinzer told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link) that, while Aramis Ramirez has a limited market, there are at least two teams very interested in the third baseman.
- Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports (via Twitter) that Eric Chavez's agent told Yankees GM Brian Cashman his client wants to play in 2012. Presumably, since the call went to Cashman, Chavez has some interest in rejoining the Yanks.
- Plenty of teams are interested in Craig Counsell for a coaching or front office position, but Counsell hopes to play one more year, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. We heard yesterday that Counsell was listening to both playing and "non-playing" offers.
- Barry Meister, Tim Wakefield's agent, told reporters today that he and Wakefield have talked about the possibility of the knuckleballer signing with a National League team. Meister added that a lot of clubs have called, but he thinks "it would be a shame" if Wakefield didn't pitch for the Red Sox. Rob Bradford of WEEI.com has a transcript of the conversation.
- Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes isn't officially a free agent yet, but that didn't stop agent Adam Katz from talking to reporters, including Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, about his client. While there have been some questions about whether Cespedes would need to spend time in the minors, Katz said he believes the 26-year-old is ready for the bigs.
It's been a busy first day of the GM meetings, but we don't want to let anything fall through the cracks. Here's a collection of assorted links from throughout the day:
- The Reds don't intend to make Brandon Phillips available in a trade, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers confirms a rumor we'd heard about previously, telling MLB.com's Ken Gurnick that his team has interest in Hiroki Kuroda.
- The Red Sox aren't the only team meeting with David Ortiz's agent tonight. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe tweets that the Orioles will also meet with Fern Cuza, and could be interested in Ortiz as well. GM Dan Duquette noted that Cuza also represents Vladimir Guerrero, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com.
- Former Angels pitching coach Marcel Lachemann has rejoined the team as an assistant to new GM Jerry Dipoto, says Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
- Earlier this week, we heard the Angels were eyeing right-handed relief help. DiGiovanna has more details on their search, naming Octavio Dotel, Todd Coffey, and Matt Capps as some possible targets.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer will explore the possibility of bringing back Kerry Wood, says MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
- At U.S.S. Mariner, Dave Cameron explains why he doesn't think the Mariners should open their wallets to sign Prince Fielder.
- Craig Counsell is open to both playing and "non-playing" offers, tweets Tom Haudicourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Counsell isn't necessarily leaning toward retirement, but would seriously consider it for the right non-playing opportunity.
Full Story | 27 Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Baltimore Orioles | Brandon Phillips | Chicago Cubs | Cincinnati Reds | Craig Counsell | David Ortiz | Hiroki Kuroda | Kerry Wood | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Matt Capps | Octavio Dotel | Seattle Mariners | Todd Coffey | Vladimir Guerrero
Here's the latest on the Brewers, including what's happening at the GM meetings in Milwaukee:
- The Brewers are much more interested in Rafael Furcal than Aramis Ramirez, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports adds that the Brewers have strong reservations about Furcal and may stick with Yuniesky Betancourt. Still, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke admitted that he likes both Furcal and Ramirez today on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM with Jim Bowden and Casey Stern.
- Clint Barmes is another possibility for the Brewers at shortstop. MLB.com's Adam McCalvy writes that GM Doug Melvin will meet with Barmes' agent tomorrow.
- Milwaukee is considering whether funds are available for the top shortstop on the market, Jose Reyes, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.com.
- The Brewers inquired on Gaby Sanchez at season's end, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. If the first baseman becomes available, Milwaukee could make a play for him.
- Melvin says he hasn't given up on signing Prince Fielder, and will meet with Scott Boras today. However, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel thinks the GM has moved on, meaning Mat Gamel could get a chance to start the season at first base (all Twitter links).
- The Brewers will not attempt to re-sign Milwaukee native Craig Counsell, tweets Haudricourt.
- In another tweet, Haudricourt adds that outrighted players Mitch Stetter and Josh Wilson have elected free agency.
The Giants need to bolster their offense, so Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports suggests trading Tim Lincecum for multiple players is a viable option. Trading the two-time Cy Young Award winner might allow San Francisco to free up the payroll required to pursue a top free agent position player such as Prince Fielder or Jose Reyes. Here are some more notes from Morosi…
- Mike Cameron, Tim Wakefield, Edgar Renteria and Craig Counsell intend to play in 2012.
- Jon Garland might throw for teams this offseason if there’s demand, according to Morosi. The right-hander missed most of the season recovering from shoulder surgery and the Dodgers declined their 2012 option on the 32-year-old. Garland intends to continue as a starter.
- Some teams view Jamey Carroll as an everyday second baseman. I’m not surprised to hear that since Carroll has repeatedly proven his ability to get on base and many teams will be in the market for second basemen.
- Former Orioles right-hander Daniel Cabrera is pitching in the Dominican Winter League after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Agent Mike Powers told Morosi that Cabrera intends to return to MLB as a starter. The 6'7" right-hander hasn't appeared in a Major League game since 2009.
- For more thoughts on Lincecum and the Giants, check out the piece Dave Cameron wrote yesterday at FanGraphs.