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.