CLEVELAND (AP) — Craig Counsell’s place in Cleveland baseball history is as World Series villain.
He could become something more appealing.
Counsell, who has led the Milwaukee Brewers to the playoffs five times in the past six seasons, is meeting with Guardians about their managerial opening, a person familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press on Monday.
The 53-year-old Counsell is at Progressive Field for his interview with the Guardians, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is not making any of its search public.
Counsell’s contract with Milwaukee is set to expire this week, but the Brewers are allowing him to look elsewhere while also hoping they can re-sign the coveted manager. The New York Mets are also reportedly interested in Counsell and have far more money to offer him than either the small-market Brewers or Guardians.
Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio has said on multiple occasions that the team wants Counsell back in 2024.
Counsell has an interesting connection to Cleveland. As a light-hitting infielder with Florida, he hit a game-tying sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series as the Marlins rallied to beat Cleveland and win a title.
Counsell also scored the winning run in the 11th inning on Edgar Rentería’s single off Cleveland’s Charles Nagy.
Counsell played 16 seasons in the majors.
Cleveland is searching for a manager for the first time since 2012 after Terry Francona, the winningest manager in club history, stepped down after this season.
The Guardians have interviewed several candidates to replace Francona. Mariners bullpen coach Stephen Vogt was in Cleveland last week for his second interview with the club and is considered one of the leading candidates.
Milwaukee went 92-70 this season and won the NL Central title before getting swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Wild Card Series.
Counsell took over as Milwaukee’s manager during the 2015 season after Ron Roenicke was fired. The Brewers had made a total of four playoff appearances before Counsell took over.
The longest-tenured manage in the National League, Counsell is 707-625 with the Brewers, giving him the club record for wins and games managed.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb