With MLB free agency officially beginning Nov. 6, two division rivals wasted no time hiring new managers. The Chicago Cubs made a shocking move Monday in hiring former Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell. Around the same time, it was also announced the New York Mets would be hiring former New York Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza.
Cubs Get Counsell
In one of the more surprising manager hires in recent memory, the Cubs successfully worked out a deal with Counsell. Counsell, who had served as the Brewers manager for the past nine seasons, landed a massive five-year deal worth over $40 million to manage Chicago. The deal makes him the highest paid manager in MLB history.
Breaking: The Chicago Cubs are hiring Craig Counsell as their manager, sources tell @JeffPassan.
The news was first reported by The Athletic. pic.twitter.com/EiqEuQkZEo
— ESPN (@espn) November 6, 2023
Counsell is widely regarded as one of the best managers in the league and was one of the most pursued free-agent managers this offseason. Counsell led the Brewers to three division titles and five postseason appearances during his tenure. He is also the franchise’s leader in career wins at 707.
For weeks, he had been linked to teams such as the Mets, Brewers and Cleveland Guardians. The move to the Cubs shocked the MLB world and changed the outlook of the managerial hunt. Jesse Rogers, an ESPN MLB reporter, explained the details of the move.
Former Gator Out as Manager
Upon hiring Counsell, the Cubs informed former Gators catcher David Ross he would be relieved of his duties as manager. Ross served as the Cubs manager for four seasons and was also a member of the 2016 championship team.
Ross was abruptly fired in a move that many felt was cold blooded by the franchise. He had been a part of the organization for six seasons as both a player and coach. In Ross’ tenure as manager, the team won one division title in 2020, but entered rebuild mode the following season after losing several key players. Despite the lack of results, Ross was a very respected figure within the organization, as well as around the league.
Jed Hoyer on parting ways with David Ross. pic.twitter.com/2DAnsPWJX1
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) November 6, 2023
Mets Get Mendoza
After failing to land Counsell, the Mets quickly made the move to hire Mendoza. Mendoza operated as a Yankees coach for the past 15 seasons and is entering his first opportunity as a manager. He spent those 15 years working his way up within the Yankees organization and eventually became Yankee head coach Aaron Boone’s second in command.
The Mets are coming off of arguably the most disappointing season of any team in 2023. The team finished 12 games under .500 and failed to make the playoffs despite entering the season with World Series aspirations. With impatience growing among fans, the Mets made a move that they felt will breed success for seasons to come.