Chicago Cubs hire Craig Counsell away from Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 04: Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell is seen prior to Game Two of the Wild Card Series at American Family Field on October 04, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

The Chicago Cubs have hired Craig Counsell as their new manager, ending his Milwaukee Brewers tenure after nine seasons.

MLB on FOX field reporter Ken Rosenthal reported the news on Monday.

Rosenthal posted on X (formerly Twitter) that Counsell is getting a five-year contract from the Cubs worth more than $40 million. He will be the highest-paid manager in Major League Baseball. 

The Associated Press reports there was no word on the status of Cubs manager David Ross, a favorite of President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer. Ross could move into the front office after Craig Breslow left to run the Boston Red Sox.

Cubs announce the change

Not long after the Counsel news broke, the Cubs announced the club has relieved David Ross of his managerial duties. Ross, the 55th manager in franchise history, led the club for four seasons after being named to the position, October 24, 2019, replacing Joe Maddon.

A news release from the Cubs said, "Going forward, our Major League team will be managed by Craig Counsell. We look forward to welcoming Craig at Wrigley Field early next week."

Counsell with the Crew

Brewers president of baseball operations Matt Arnold said in October he was speaking regularly with Counsell but couldn’t predict at the time how soon the NL’s longest-tenured manager would decide on whether to return next season.

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"He’s maybe one of the best people I’ve ever worked with," Arnold said at the time.

The winningest manager in Brewers history finished the regular season without a contract beyond 2023. The Whitefish Bay native declined to discuss his future after the Brewers’ season ended with a loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL Wild Card Series. Counsell led the Brewers to a 92-70 record and their second NL Central title in three years.

During Counsell's tenure, the team has posted six winning seasons and reached the playoffs five times in the last six years. The team's greatest success came in 2018, winning 96 games and reaching the NL Championship Series.

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As a player, Counsell had two stints in Milwaukee – the first in 2004 before closing his career with the Brewers from 2007-2011.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.