Brewers principle owner Mark Attanasio met with the media (including Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) this afternoon prior to tonight’s game against the Padres. He discussed a pair of the major off-the-field storylines surrounding the club headed into the stretch run this year: the future of manager Craig Counsell, who entered the final year of his contract without an extension earlier this year, and rumors from earlier this month that the club could begin exploring relocation as soon as this fall.
Regarding Counsell, Attanasio provided a noteworthy update, telling reporters that he met with Counsell yesterday and the pair decided to put conversations about a potential extension off until after the 2023 campaign concludes. When further pressed on the matter, Attanasio said (per Rosiak) that “It’s up to Craig. We’d love to have him here, obviously, for a jillion reasons.”
That the Brewers would love to keep Counsell hardly registers as a surprise. The longest-tenured manager in the NL, Counsell is currently in his ninth season with Milwaukee. The 52 year old sports a 686-612 record as manager of the club, including a 552-447 record since the start of the 2018 season that saw the club come within a game of the World Series. While Counsell has never won a Manager of the Year award, he’s still widely considered to be among the very best managers in the game, with three second-place finishes to his name. As the club’s winningest manager in history, Counsell piloted the club to four consecutive playoff appearances from 2018-2021, and after a near miss in 2022 appears poised to bring the Brewers back to the postseason in 2023, as the club leads the NL Central with a 71-57 record.
As the conversation shifted toward the relocation rumors, spurred by a funding dispute regarding improvements to the club’s ballpark, Attanasio downplayed the likelihood of the Brewers leaving Milwaukee. “Look, me, Debbie, our family, we very much want to stay. That’s all I’ve considered at this point.” Attanasio told reporters. He also noted that his goal is to “keep the team [in Milwaukee] for another generation” while citing state politicians who have discussed extending the club’s lease, which currently runs through 2030, through 2050.
Even as Attanasio expressed his desire to stay in Milwaukee, however, he emphasized the club’s desire for additional funds for ballpark renovations. When asked about the A’s planned move out of Oakland to Las Vegas, he noted that while American Family Field isn’t “anything close to Oakland’s” in terms of need for improvements, “you have to look forward and plan so it doesn’t deteriorate over time… the lease runs out in 2030 and it takes years to plan. So, I think just the timetable is such that we have to have these types of discussions.”
Attanasio’s optimism that a deal will be worked out is understandable, given the end of the club’s lease in Milwaukee is still seven years away. For comparison, the A’s began pursuing relocation in earnest back in 2021, three years before their lease at the Coliseum expires at the end of the 2024 season. That gives the sides plenty of time to work out a deal before more relocation becomes a more serious threat.