The David Stearns era is underway with the Mets in Queens. He was officially introduced just one week ago, but a lot has transpired since then. General manager Billy Eppler stepped down amid getting investigated by MLB. And even before Stearns was introduced, manager Buck Showalter was told he wouldn’t be returning in 2024. That just means Stearns wants Craig Counsell to be his manager, right?
Counsell has been the Milwaukee Brewers’ manager since 2015. Up until 2022, he manned that post with Stearns as the organization’s general manager. The former player is set to hit the managerial free-agent market and will be a hot commodity this winter. There was speculation he might sit out a year, but that no longer appears to be the case.
The Brewers were just swept out of the postseason in the Wild Card Series at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks. So, doesn’t that mean Counsell can start having conversations with teams interested in employing him?
Not so much. Milwaukee will actually get an exclusive negotiating window with its skipper because of the nature of his contract. From the New York Post:
Though the Brewers’ season ended with a loss in the wild-card round to the Diamondbacks on Wednesday, their manager’s contract does not expire until Oct. 31, sources said.
So, just like that — the Mets will have to wait a little bit longer for their shot. But if we read between the lines, it appears Stearns was well aware of this wrinkle none of us knew about before the postseason began. Here’s what the Mets’ President of Baseball Operations said about his upcoming managerial search (also from the Post):
Stearns allowed that the postseason will be a “complicating factor” for the search and warned that the hunt could take a while.
“We’re not going to rush this process,” said Stearns, the new leader of a club that has employed four managers (Showalter, Luis Rojas, Carlos Beltran and Mickey Callaway) since the 2018 season.
Perhaps with the instability in mind, Stearns wants to find a person who will work alongside him for more than just a few seasons.
It’s not like Craig Counsell is the only guy he wants. I mean — maybe it is. But, there’s nothing wrong with going through a full process to see if a better fit exists. And since he’ll have to wait for a chance to even speak to his former manager, he’s better off casting that wide net and taking his time.