MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee general manager David Stearns didn’t have to do much thinking when it came to a new long-term deal for Brewers manager Craig Counsell.
“Both Craig and I thought this was probably an inevitability at some point,” Stearns said Wednesday after announcing a three-year extension for Counsell through the 2023 season. “It was just a matter of finding a time to work through the details.”
Hired to replace Ron Roenicke a month into the 2015 season, Counsell led the Brewers to consecutive postseason appearances for the second time in team history and first since 1981 and ’82.
Counsell already is the longest-tenured manager in the National League. Among all big league managers, he is fifth behind Oakland’s Bob Melvin, Cleveland’s Terry Francona, Houston’s AJ Hinch and Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash.
“You know this job doesn’t have much security,” Counsel said. “I think we’ve taken steps to put the franchise in a good place, and that’s going to be the job moving forward — to keep it in a good place and to keep us contenting for playoff appearances and World Series titles. That’s our mission going forward, and hopefully with some stability, that helps us do that.”
Milwaukee went 96-67 in 2018, beating the Chicago Cubs in a tiebreaker game for the NL Central title and tying the franchise record for wins. The Brewers reached Game 7 of the NL Championship Series, losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers, then lost to Washington in last year’s NL wild card game after wasting an eighth-inning lead.
The 49-year-old Counsell finished second in NL Manager of the Year voting in each of the last two seasons. He is 405-381with the Brewers.
“I get to continue to work for a franchise that means a lot to me while we get to continue doing what we’ve been doing, and try to take it to another level,” Counsell said. “It’s really that the work gets to continue — that’s what I’m excited about.”
Counsell was raised in Milwaukee and his father, John, worked in the Brewers’ community relations department and ran the team’s speakers bureau. Counsell played 16 seasons in the major leagues and won World Series rings with the Florida Marlins in 1997 and Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001. He spent his last five big league seasons with the Brewers, who hired him after the 2011 season as a special assistant to general manager Doug Melvin.