Nobody saw today coming. Nobody anywhere thought the Chicago Cubs would actually, really and truly, get involved in the Craig Counsell pursuit, much less cast off David Ross and hire Counsell to a record-breaking contract.
But it happened. I still can’t believe it. It happened.
I’ve been waiting for this all day, and it’s a very nice read to wind me down. How exactly did Jed Hoyer and the Cubs swoop in and hire Craig Counsell without ANYONE getting a whiff of it until the deal was already done? With so much attention being paid to Counsell? With a group of “final” teams in on him? With even his own Brewers club so shocked by the news that the owner thought Counsell was messing with him at first?
The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma has the scoop, and I think you’ll enjoy it:
As Jesse Rogers had earlier reported, the Cubs weren’t about to ask the Brewers for permission to interview Craig Counsell, since that would’ve blown up all the secrecy. So instead, they had to wait until Counsell actually hit free agency on November 1 if they wanted to talk to him. Kinda sounds like they didn’t really think that would happen … but it did, so Jed Hoyer pounced.
Fun to learn that this deal was already done yesterday, but things were kept heavily under wraps so that Hoyer could fly to Florida to deliver the news to David Ross in person. Apparently some players knew about the deal yesterday, too? How the heck did this thing not leak?!
Similarly, I’m kinda shocked no one spotted Hoyer and Counsell talking together in Chicago, wherever they met up (it wasn’t Wrigleyville). That would’ve been nuts if JoeBononos87 had tweeted that he just saw Hoyer and Counsell having a beer and a steak.
Among the revelations there, we now know that Counsell actually met with Hoyer (and barely anyone with the Cubs even knew) before Counsell talked to the Guardians and Mets in person. So the Cubs already had their foot in the door, and probably already had a sense of what it would take financially to get the deal done.
Give Sharma’s story a read if you want to know how something like this happens, why it isn’t a shot at Ross, and where things go from here.