It seemed like Craig Counsell coming to the New York Mets was inevitable. Following the hire of David Stearns, the first of the Infinity Stones had been added to Steve Cohen's glove. Stearns and Counsell felt like a near automatic pairing. They'd be the Road Warriors for the Mets. The team already added their Hawk. Then came the chance at Animal.
Counsell remains under contract with the Milwaukee Brewers for the remainder of the month. For the Brewers to allow him to get this far without a contract extension would make many believe Counsell will at least explore what other jobs are out there. This includes replacing Buck Showalter in Queens.
If Counsell stays in Milwaukee, goes somewhere else, or takes some time off, it may feel like a loss for the Mets. It isn't.
The Mets will be fine if they aren't able to hire Craig Counsell
Counsell is a good manager but also one who has come up short in the postseason. Budget restraints have limited the talent on the Brewers roster. It's always the players who deserve the brunt of the blame for not winning a championship. Counsell just happens to be the one who eats every single one of those losses.
Like with any managerial search, there is no one perfect candidate because all they do is push some of the buttons. Managers aren’t the ones wiring the team. Their philosophy is handed down from the front office. Due to this, just about any manager the Mets do hire will have the Stearns influence.
The influence of MLB managers isn’t what it used to be. Managing personalities seems to have overtaken pregame strategy. Showalter being forced to start Daniel Vogelbach as much as he was in 2023 is one of those aggravating examples. Stearns and whoever he hires as the general manager will surely have their input forced upon Counsell or anyone else.
It’s not a loss if the Mets miss out on hiring Counsell yet it’s far from victory. Any first time skippers won’t have the benefit of the doubt. More seasoned managers, such as Counsell, will come to New York with expectations that if they aren’t met will have the fans turning quickly.
Counsell would give the Mets a different flavor of manager, though. Mickey Callaway and Luis Rojas didn’t look ready for the job as rookie skippers. Showalter seemed to know what he was doing in 2022 but lost the magic touch in 2023. Did the game pass him by?
The Mets manager position is one of the best vacancies out there even if it comes with working under a huge spotlight. The relentless media isn’t prepared to give whoever they hire a free pass on anything. Counsell may be the preferred choice of many, including Stearns and yet we’ve continually seen those number one options fail. Whether it was Showalter with the Mets, Joe Girardi with the Philadelphia Phillies, and countless others.
If the Mets do end up with someone other than Counsell, look for it to be someone they can try to clone into becoming him. After all, this is a David Stearns-run team.